Rarely does momentum swing as thoroughly from one side to the other as it did in the second half of the Crystal Lake South boys basketball team's 67-55 victory over Jacobs at Gator Alley Wednesday night.
Jacobs (6-7, 2-1 Fox Valley Valley) played its best half of the season in the first half. The Golden Eagles bolted to a 20-4 lead after a quarter by winning the turnover battle 7-0 and shooting 8 of 12 from the field.
Crystal Lake South (12-4, 2-2) stabilized somewhat in the second quarter, but Jacobs nevertheless took a 33-19 lead to the halftime locker room, thanks to a buzzer-beating, second-chance jump shot from guard Chrishawn Orange. The junior scored 13 of his team-high 25 points in the first half.
Jacobs showed no sign of slowing at the outset of the third quarter either. The Golden Eagles ballooned their lead to 19 points (38-19) with a 5-0 run, capped by Kenton Mack's free throw with 5:34 to play in the third quarter.
"I think you'd be hard pressed to find anybody in our league who has played better this year for two quarters and two minutes," Jacobs coach Jimmy Roberts said. "But you have to finish."
Cue one of the greatest onslaughts in Crystal Lake South basketball history.
Beginning with junior Kyle Bartusch's 3-pointer with 5:30 left in the third quarter, the Gators erupted for a 33-2 run over the course of the next 8:04, thereby transforming a 19-point deficit into a 12-point lead. Senior guards Collin Wagner and Caleb Johnson each made a pair of 3-pointers during the surge, thanks to assists from senior forward Austin Rogers, who acted as point guard throughout the second half due to a favorable matchup.
"It was kind of fun, just driving in the lane and kicking it out," said Rogers, who scored 21 of his game-high 31 points in the second half to go with 6 assists and 8 rebounds. "When your role players are making shots, nothing feels better."
"Honestly, it was just Austin trusting his teammates and guys stepping up and making shots," said CL South coach Matt LePage, whose team made 15 of 27 second-half field goal attempts. "Then we got in the press and forced a lot of turnovers and the next thing you know we're up 10. It just happened so fast."
The Golden Eagles committed 10 third-quarter turnovers, many against the CL South press.
"We knew they were going to make a run and we tried to keep composed, but it really got out of control in the third quarter with a lot of turnovers," Orange said.
"We have good guys, good players," Roberts said. "They're good enough to handle that (press) and the next time they will."
The Gators took their first lead of the game, 41-40, on a putback by Rogers with 1:21 left in the third quarter. They led 43-40 heading to the final period.
Wagner shot 3 of 6 from 3-point range, 5 of 8 overall, to finish with 13 points for the Gators. Johnson, who entered the game shooting better than 50 percent from 3-point range, drained all 3 shots he took from beyond the arc and finished with 9 points.
Mack had 9 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds, and senior Ben Murray added 7 points for Jacobs.