The head boys basketball coaches from Dundee-Crown and Rockford East separately called their teams "their own worst enemy" in the aftermath of a mistake-strewn 46-41 victory for the E-Rabs at the 39th Annual Elgin Holiday Tournament Friday afternoon.
Rockford East (4-7) tried to hand the game to the Chargers by committing 14 first-half turnovers -- including 5 in 5 possessions at one point -- but Dundee-Crown (3-8) refused such generosity by making only 8 of 27 first-half shots (30 percent) and losing the rebounding battle 16-10. The Chargers nevertheless took a 19-15 lead to the halftime locker room.
The teams reversed roles in the third quarter. Dundee-Crown, which had committed just 5 first-half turnovers against man-to-man defense, coughed the ball up 8 times in the third quarter alone against a 1-3-1 zone.
"I wish I could explain it," D-C coach Lance Huber said. "I mean, we can't throw the ball to the right-colored jersey."
Warts aside, the game's outcome was not decided until the final minute. Dundee-Crown senior guard Cordero Parson scored an inside bucket with 37 seconds left, and the Chargers immediately forced a turnover with their full-court press. D-C senior Malik Dunner recovered a loose ball under the basket and banked it home with 29.4 seconds to play to draw the Chargers within 43-41.
Rockford East's final turnover -- its 22nd of the game -- gave D-C a shot to tie or win it with a 3-pointer. Junior Kiwaun Seals drove the lane, but his contested attempt rolled off the rim and was rebounded by 6-foot-5 Rockford East senior Tony Evans, Jr. He was quickly fouled and sank both free throws at the other end to give the E-Rabs a 45-41 lead with 15.4 seconds left.
Evans subsequently blocked an inside shot by Malik Dunner at the other end to seal the win. It was his fifth block of the game to go with his game high 19 points and 5 rebounds.
"I was just trying to win, trying to not let my team down," Evans said. "It's always good to get the W."
Evans almost single-handedly changed the complexion of the game in the third quarter when he scored on 4 straight possessions against the vertically challenged Chargers, transforming a 21-17 deficit into a 25-21 lead.
"He's the heart and soul of our team," said East coach Roy Sackmaster. "Honestly, he's about the only guy right now who has completely bought in to what we're trying to do. We're battling some demons as far as mental and emotional maturity with this team."
Evans' personal tear in the low post hurt Dundee-Crown, but he wasn't the only reason for the setback. Shooting 14 of 53 from the floor (26.4 percent) didn't help.
"It would be great to have the guys be three inches taller, but that's not what cost us the game," Huber said. "We turned the ball over to the other team and we had some shots I thought were pretty good looks that we didn't make. When that happens, you're not going to be too successful."
Seals scored 10 points and Nick Munson added 8 points for Dundee-Crown, which plays for seventh place against Walther Christian on Saturday at 1:45 p.m. Batavia defeated Walther Christian 56-37 on Friday afternoon.
Junior guard Brandon Chester scored 6 of his 10 points in the fourth quarter for Rockford East, which plays Batavia for fifth place at 5 p.m.