It has been a long arduous 2012-2013 season for first-year Jacobs girls basketball coach Joe Benoit.
But on Tuesday night Benoit and the Golden Eagles could crack a smile.
Led by 18 points from Payton Berg, Jacobs knocked off District 300 rival Dundee-Crown 43-35 in Fox Valley Conference Valley Division action in Algonquin, giving the Golden Eagles a sweep of the regular-season series, which is also their only wins of the season.
"We won with our defense tonight," said Benoit. "Our defensive pressure was excellent. Our half-court trap was effective. We didn't give them many easy shots and we created offense from our defense. The girls really believed in themselves tonight. We want to change the losing culture.
"Give Crown credit. They didn't back down and kept coming at us."
Holding a tenuous 27-23 lead after 3 quarters, Jacobs was able to grab control of the game during the final 8 minutes.
Scoring the first 7 points of the fourth quarter including 5 by Berg along with 2 free throws from Lauren Van Vlierbergen, the Golden Eagles (2-16, 2-4) turned a 4-point lead into an 11-point advantage at 34-23 with 4:55 left in the game. The Chargers' first points of the quarter came on a driving layup from Emily Michalski with 4:11 remaining to make the score 34-25.
The closest D-C (2-14, 0-6) got was 38-32 on a long 3-pointer by freshman Frankie Cavallaro with 2:22 remaining.
Jacobs iced the game by making 5-of-6 from the free throw line in the final 1:25. Berg, who had 5 assists to go along with her 18 points, connected on 2-of-2 from the line while Van Vlierbergen converted 3-of-4 as the Golden Eagles posted the 8-point victory.
"It was a great win," said Berg. "We really came together as a team tonight and have worked hard all season. It was a hard-fought win. Crown never gave up."
Van Vlierbergen backed Berg with 10 points while Victoria Tamburrino scored 8.
D-C, which committed 23 turnovers, was led by Jillian Weichmann with 8 points. Michalski scored 7 and Melissa Barker came off the bench to nail a pair of 3-pointers for 6 points.
"We had too many turnovers and they outrebounded us and got all the loose balls," said D-C coach Michelle Russell. "We had a lot of great looks. We just couldn't make enough shots."