Talk about a momentum changer.
In a blink of an eye -- actually 3 minutes, 38 seconds -- Crystal Lake South turned a 2-point deficit into a 14-point lead.
A 16-0 run in the third quarter propelled the Gators to a 77-65 win over Crystal Lake Central in Fox Valley Conference crossover action at South Saturday night. The game was part of the sister schools' Night of Hoops.
The Gators remain undefeated on the season at 6-0.
"We played one good quarter and three not very good quarters," said South coach Matt LePage. "We played kind of stupid in the first half but we were able to overcome our nerves in the third quarter, We got the game at an up-tempo pace and got some easy shots off turnovers. Give Central credit. They kept up with the tempo. Central played an outstanding game and played extremely hard,"
After a 15-footer by Jason Price, the visiting Tigers held a 41-39 lead with 6:22 left in the third.
Austin Rogers led the pivotal run for the Gators with 9 points, which included 5-of-5 from the free-throw line. Steve Thomas canned a 3-pointer, and Collin Wagner and Caleb Johnson connected on layups as the Gators held a comfortable 55-41 advantage with 2:54 remaining in the quarter.
Central battled back and got back to within 59-53 at the end of the third quarter as Kyle Fritz nailed a long 3-pointer to beat the buzzer.
But the Tigers couldn't get any closer.
The Gators, who made 25-of-41 from the free throw line, closed out Central in the final 1:25 by connecting on 7-of-9 from the charity stripe.
Rogers made 5-of-7 from the line while Tyler Baker connected on both his attempts as the Gators cruised to a 12-point win.
Rogers, who connected on 12-of-17 from the line. led all scorers with 32 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 7 assists,
"Coach wanted us to come out with more defensive energy in the third quarter and our defense was much better," said Rogers. "Our defense and pressure got us easy baskets. Give Central credit. They pushed us to the limit."
Chris Mahoney backed Rogers with 12 points.
Cavanaugh Murphy paced the Tigers with 22 points while Ian Koch scored 13 while Price and Fritz tallied 10 each.