Most nights teams play good enough to win and they don't need that thing called luck.
On a rare night, teams aren't up to par and practically beg to be luckier than good.
Tuesday night was Dundee-Crown's night to be lucky, something Chargers' head coach Lance Huber definitely agreed with after his team's thrilling 52-50 Fox Valley Conference Valley Division win over Prairie Ridge to open division play in Carpentersville.
Prairie Ridge (4-11, 1-1) dictated play for 3 quarters with leads of 11 in the first half, 9 in the third and 5 in the fourth on a suffocating press, a solid 2-3 zone and an up-tempo pace that had the Chargers all out of sorts with 22 turnovers, a 45 percent clip from the field and key players like Brandon Rodriguez in foul trouble.
But D-C picked up its own defense midway through the third, forcing 15 PR turnovers while making 14 of its 20 second half free throws to stave off a pesky Wolves squad that led for the first 26 minutes.
JT Beasley led the Chargers with 11 points and 6 steals while Dylan Kissack, who had a key offensive rebound that tied the game with 6 minutes to play and then a 3-point dagger with 2:05 remaining, chipped in 10 points and 4 rebounds.
Dundee-Crown (10-3, 1-0) took its first lead on Beasley's runner on its next offensive possession after Kissack's rebound and never looked back.
"I thought Prairie Ridge thoroughly outplayed us most of the game," said Huber, who added a 9-day layoff had no effect on his team. "We were able to get some turnovers and get to the free throw line in the second half but they controlled the whole game. They did what they wanted to do and we were I guess, we were lucky. They dominated the game."
That's until D-C forced 9 PR turnovers in the fourth and 3 in the last 4 minutes of the third, when it went on a 16-5 run that bridged the quarters. The run was fueled by Rodriguez, whose back-to-back steals cut the lead to 6. He finished with 4 steals whereas the team totaled 13.
D-C also drew a few charges but found its way to the free throw line thanks to the bonus early in the fourth where it knocked down 10 of its 14 free throws. Of those 4 misses, Kissack put one back to tie it at 42 and Prairie Ridge head coach Corky Card called a timeout thereafter. On the ensuing possession, the Wolves were called for an offensive foul and Beasley canned a runner for D-C's first lead.
"We were just playing defense, we can stop them, we're quicker so that's all (the coaches) were telling us, get in front of them, take charges," Beasley said. "For the last 10 minutes, we played D."
Michael Bradshaw nailed a 3 to make it a 1-point D-C lead, but then Kissack stuck a dagger in with his 3 from the left wing with 2:05 to go.
"I thought I had enough room and I thought we needed a boost," Kissack said. "I was kind of trailing so they kicked it out to me and I thought I had enough room and I just took it."
But maybe if Kissack had not made a very bold point to Huber at halftime that changed the way D-C defended in the second half, Prairie Ridge runs away with it.
"I suggested to coach that we shouldn't press them anymore because we were trying to get into the press and they were already going down court, so they got a lot of easy layups off that," Kissack said. "We just had a guy bump the point guard up, as he was dribbling up the floor and we just tried to get back on D as fast as we could so they couldn't fast break on us."
Said Huber: "He made a good coaching point at halftime, just made a tweak in our defense, it was a pretty smart move by him."
PR was led by Bradshaw's game-high 16 points
'They did a good job getting back in the game. I told our kids all we want is a chance at the end, I thought we had one, they made some plays and I certainly thought it was a game we lost, they made enough plays to win it," Card said. " You've got to get to the free throw line. And you've got to look to score. Our kids did a nice job of moving the ball but they weren't looking to score. That'll be our next progression."