When Chanel Fanter corralled a Jacobs turnover in the midcourt and attacked the hoop for Crystal Lake South, which at the time clung to a 4-point lead with 3:46 left in the middle of a furious fourth quarter Golden Eagle comeback, the sophomore was well-aware of the risk involved with two defenders in her path.
"I was just hoping (the official) wouldn't call a charge on me because I had four fouls," Fanter said. "I was just trying to go strong to the basket without creating any contact."
Fanter's hope was rewarded largely at a critical juncture for the Gators, as her driving layup turned into an old fashioned 3-point-play, which in large part allowed CL South to escape the Eagles' Nest with a 57-51 Fox Valley Conference Valley Division girls basketball win Friday night to keep them a game back in the loss column for second place behind Prairie Ridge (8-2 in FVC Valley).
South (13-10, 5-3), which had lost 3-straight coming in, led Jacobs 43-28 with 5:07 left in the third. In a 9-minute span that bridged the third and fourth quarters, the Golden Eagles (5-18, 2-7) outscored South 14-2 and trimmed the lead to 3. After a free throw put South ahead by 4, Fanter's clutch play calmed the waters for the Gators, who had lost 4 of their last 5.
"Chanel got into foul trouble, Sara (Mickow) got into foul trouble and we had to rest them," said Gators coach Kyle McCaughn, who had sat both early in the fourth. "When that happens teams like Jacobs are going to stick around and then make a run at you.
"What we did well tonight was just weather that storm really well and the kids responded to that."
Fanter finished with a game-high 19 points to go with 3 steals while Mickow scored 6 of her 7 in the first half but controlled the glass with 18 rebounds. Kianna Clark added 16 points and 10 boards and Rachel Rassmussen scored 10 points.
It appeared to be a Gator rout after Fanter scored the Gators' first 2 buckets of the third and Rasmussen hit back-to-back shots but Jacobs never quit.
"We had our times when we were in our lulls but we came out of that and pulled through," said Fanter. "They're a strong team and they never gave up."
Sophomore Teaghan Richman dug deep for Jacobs, which desperately needed a shot of energy at the end of the third quarter. She scored a team-high 11 points, knocking down 2-straight shots after Carly Sidor (9 points) put back a miss to begin the fourth. Richman's last shot along the right baseline made it 45-41 CLS with 6:15 to go and capped a 9-0 run to start the fourth. She was 5-of-9 from the field on a night where the team shot at a 34 percent clip.
"I just wanted to help my team get the momentum up," Richman said. "I felt like the energy was dying down and I wanted to take the lead with that."
"Our kids buckled down and didn't quit," said Jacobs coach Joe Benoit. "We knocked down some key shots and we did a nice job in the third quarter on the boards and we hadn't done that early. Mickow is so tough and Megan Mangieri and Maggie Grady battled her just about as well as they could have."