A sizzling start by Crystal Lake South senior Austin Rogers inadvertently sparked Zion-Benton in Saturday's first-round boys basketball game of Jacobs' Hinkle Holiday Classic in Algonquin.
Rogers scored the Gators' first 11 points to give them a 3-point lead after three minutes. The tall, talented and deep Zee-Bees didn't waste much time showing they got the message.
It took Z-B eight minutes to open a 15-point as Division I recruits Admiral Schofield and Milik Yarbrough led the way to a 79-65 victory despite a game-high 27 points from Rogers.
"We just had to wake up and start playing our game," the 6-foot-6 Yarbrough said after scoring 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field and 4-for-6 from 3-point range. "They came out with intensity and we had to work our offense and keep running like we normally do."
Z-B (8-1), which suffered its only loss in overtime to Evanston, got 20 points and 3 3-pointers from Schofield. The 6-foot-5 junior opened the game with a one-hand slam off 1 of Yarbrough's 4 assists.
Six-7 senior Jerome Davis came off the bench to score 6 of his 15 points in a 22-4 tear that gave the Zee-Bees a 30-15 lead 4:48 before halftime. The Gators (8-1) trailed by double figures the rest of the way.
"They're a very good team and they've got some high-flyers," said Rogers, who was 11-for-19 from the field and had 9 rebounds and 4 assists. "Pretty much everything they put up was going in. Give credit to them. They played well."
Maurice Young had 7 assists as Z-B shot 50 percent from the field (30-for-60) and 7-for-15 on 3s.
"They were at another level for awhile on us ... and they're shot-making was remarkable," said CL South coach Matt LePage.
"I was very pleased with what we did offensively," said Z-B coach Don Kloth. "Crystal Lake South is a very good team with a lot of weapons and we had to play well to beat them."
Rogers did his best to keep the Gators in it with 26 points through three quarters.
"That might have been the best game he's played at South," LePage said. "It was a controlled 27 points and he made an array of moves against a quality defense. It was awesome."
Senior Collin Wagner scored all 16 of his points with 4 3s in the final 7:28 for the Gators.
"This is going to help us in the long run," Rogers said. "We saw a lot of talent and they played really well. Now we know what a good team plays like and it's a good wake-up call for us."