Crystal Lake South coach Matt LePage said it best.
"It was a bad situation," LePage said. "We didn't play well and Central played very well. We didn't match up with them very well. They were the better team. That is a reality."
LePage's remarks came after District 155 rival Crystal Lake Central crushed the Gators 65-43 in the championship game of the Jacobs Boys Holiday Basketball Classic in Algonquin Saturday night.
The Tigers (12-1), who lost to Huntley 55-49 in last year's title game, were determined to take home the top prize in 2012.
Making their first 6 shots, the Tigers cruised to an early 14-3 lead. With Dave Panicko scoring 5 points along with 3 points each from Kyle Fleck and Jake Van Skyoc the Tigers held an 11-point cushion with 3:11 left in the initial quarter.
The resilient Gators (5-7) fought back and got to within 4 of the Tigers at 15-11 when Austin Rogers canned a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the first quarter.
Nursing a slim 22-17 lead midway through the second quarter, Central seized control of the game by ending the half on a 15-2 run.
During the run, Van Skyoc scored 8 points, Panicko had 4 points and Brad Knoeppel buried a long 3-pointer as the Tigers held a comfortable 37-19 lead at intermission.
"We had a little ritual with last year's second place trophy," said Central coach Rich Czeslawski. "They had a bad taste in their mouth from last year. They were determined to win the championship. They came out excited to play and played very well to start the game. Our shot selection was good and our defense was solid."
The Tigers' biggest lead of the game was 24, 62-38, after a layup by Knoeppel with 2:11 left in the game.
Van Skyoc paced the Tigers with 19 points. Knoeppel scored 17 while Panicko scored 15 with 12 rebounds.
"We were really ready to play," said Panicko. "We wanted to get off to a good start and play well. It is a good feeling to win the championship after finishing second last year."
Rogers paced the Gators with 14 points while Max Meitzler scored 10 and Nick Geske 8.
"Three weeks ago nobody thought we would have finished second in this tournament," said LePage. "We beat an excellent Barrington team last night and overall played very well. We will definitely take a lot of positives from this game."