All signs seemed to point to a dead end for Dundee-Crown to its Fox Valley Conference boys basketball crossover road trip to Johnsburg on Friday night.
Johnsburg was on a shooting tear that resulted in 31 points in less than 10 minutes. And D-C had less than six minutes to try to overcome an 11-point deficit.
But one sign the Chargers ignored was to stop playing. They ratcheted up the intensity to go on a 15-point run and scored 19 of the final 21 points in a 55-49 victory.
"We stuck together and played tough defense," said D-C junior reserve guard Cordero Parson, who scored 9 of his 13 points in the final 6:52 to help fuel the comeback.
"Our experience helped out a little bit, but mainly it was our attitude," said D-C senior Dylan Kissack after scoring 14 points and hitting four 3-pointers. "We just kept trucking, kept a positive attitude and knew we could make a run at the end."
The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Parson was right in the middle of it after Brandon Rodriguez, who scored all 9 of his points in the second half, tied it at 47-47 on a free throw at 2:22. Parson got a steal off the inbound pass and as he was sprawled out on the floor, he made a perfect pass to a driving J.T. Beasley (14 points, 10 rebounds) for a layup that put the Chargers ahead to stay 11 seconds later.
"We started getting some stops on the defensive end, got a couple of easy baskets and got a little momentum going our way," said D-C coach Lance Huber. "When our guys get going, our guys feed off that."
Everything was going right for Johnsburg (4-3) as it used a 13-for-17 shooting stretch to take a 47-36 lead with 6:26 to play. Collin Ridout (16 points) and Ben Dingman (10 points) each hit a pair of 3s, Marcus Huemann scored 7 of his 12 points and its extended 2-3 zone helped force D-C to commit 18 turnovers.
"We had a lot of costly turnovers and they were doing whatever they wanted to on offense," Kissack said. "The zone caused some turnovers and that led to easy baskets at the other end."
But Rodriguez's layup off a loose ball at 5:47 turned out to be the beginning of the end for Johnsburg as it missed 5 shots and committed 6 of its 17 turnovers in D-C's decisive run. Parson and Kissack also hit 3s and Rodriguez's steal and layup made it 51-47 with 1:10 left.
"We got caught up in the moment and lost our composure," said Johnsburg coach Mike Toussaint. "We controlled the tempo and got on a hot streak there in the third quarter. They turned it up and we just didn't match it."
Huemann's rebound basket got Johnsburg within 51-49 with 25 seconds left. Parson sandwiched a pair of free throws around a timeout in a 1-and-1 situation with 13.8 seconds to play.
"Dylan pulled the 'Hoosiers' line and said, 'Coach, what defense are we going to be in after Cordero makes the free throw,'" Huber said with a laugh.
"It helped," Parson said of Kissack's confidence boost.
But it's a situation Parson hopes the Chargers can avoid in the future.
"We should play throughout the game with full intensity and all-out," Parson said.