Just like an old car trying to start during this frigid cold winter, it took the better part of a quarter for Dundee-Crown to get purring.
But after a 3-point first quarter and going the first 10:14 of the game without a field goal, the fifth-seeded Chargers scored 58 points in the last three quarters in posting a 61-52 win over fourth-seeded Crystal Lake South in first round action of the Class 4A Crystal Lake Central boys basketball regional Monday night.
The Chargers play top-seeded Cary-Grove in the first semifinal game Tuesday at 6 p.m.
"We don't have a lot of kids who have playoff experience and it showed early in the game," said Dundee-Crown coach Lance Huber. "We played well the last three quarters. We had a few brain cramps late in the game which caused the game to go longer. But it is just nice to get a win in the playoffs under our belt."
With its first field goal of the game coming on a Nick Munson 12-footer in the lane with 5:46 left in the second quarter to tie the score at 6, the Chargers got a big boost of energy off the bench from Juwan Stewart.
Scoring 9 points, Stewart keyed a 12-2 run by the Chargers and gave D-C an 18-8 lead with 1:36 left in the first half.
Leading 20-11 at halftime, the Chargers' biggest lead of the game was 16, 37-21, after a Zach Pochop layup with 48 seconds left in the third quarter.
The resilient Gators (15-13) didn't give up.
With a valiant push in the fourth quarter, South sliced the Charger deficit to 47-40 on a layup by Matt Schingel with 3:36 left but couldn't get any closer.
D-C calmly deposited 9-of-10 free throws in the final 1:40 to advance. Cordero Parson made 4-of-4 from the line, Sam Buckley 3-of-4 and Kiwaun Seals made both his attempts.
Munson led the Chargers with 15 points including 3 3-pointers in the second half.
"We were a senior dominated team last year and not a lot of us have postseason experience," said Munson. "Once we got the jitters out of the way we were fine."
Munson was followed by Seals with 13 points and Cordero Parson tallied 11.
The Gators got a 12 point effort from Chris Mahoney and 11 from Caleb Johnson.
"We got dealt a tough hand when Austin (Rogers) went down," said South coach Matt LePage. "This group of seniors never quit."