Crystal Lake South simply ran out of time.
Battling back from a 19-point second quarter deficit, the Gators fell short as Prairie Ridge held on a for a 45-44 win in Fox Valley Conference Valley Division boys basketball action at PR Wednesday night.
"I was really disappointed with the start of the game and the effort," said South coach Matt LePage. "Our ballhandling was terrible and we didn't handle the pressure. In the end we didn't shoot the ball well and our free throw shooting was terrible. It is frustrating because we have lost so many close games. The effort was there and we didn't give up."
PR (5-12, 1-4) delighted the home crowd early with a hot shooting display.
Making 7-of-10 from the field, the Wolves cruised to a 18-6 lead after one quarter. PR continued its torrid shooting to start the second quarter, making its first 3 shots including a 3-pointer from Steven Ticknor to take a 25-6 lead with 5:11 left in the first half.
Ticknor's 3-pointer was the Wolves' last points of the half as the Gators started to mount a comeback.
South, which made only 2 of its first 10 shots, ended the first half on a 13-0 run.
With Max Meitzler scoring 5 points and Austin Rogers 3, Crystal Lake South cut the PR deficit to 6, 25-19, at intermission.
The Gators continued to methodically whittle away at the Wolves' lead in the third quarter before taking their first advantage of the game 32-29 on a 3-pointer by reserve Steve Thomas with 4:15 left in the quarter.
PR responded with a 4-0 run to take the lead good at 33-32 on a layup by Jack Berg with 2:22 left in the quarter.
The Gators didn't quit and tied the game at 41 on 2 free throws by Eric Schiller with 1:45 remaining.
But the Wolves iced the game on 2 free throws by Michael Bradshaw and a layup by Kody Peterson.
A long 3-pointer at the buzzer by Alex Bartusch was too little too late as the Gators fell 1 point short.
"We got off to a great start and our defense was very effective," said Prairie Ridge coach Corky Card. "Give South credit. They made a great comeback. We made just enough plays at the end."
Ticknor led the Wolves with 12 points while Meitzler was the lone Gator in double digits, also with 12 points.