The highflying Dundee-Crown boys basketball team got brought back earth at The Swamp in Crystal Lake Saturday afternoon.
The Chargers, off to their best start in five years memory, saw their 5-game winning streak snapped in a Fox Valley Conference game at Crystal Lake South, 67-60.
The nickname of the Gators' home court was an apt description for the quagmire South's pressure defense put D-C's offense in. South forced 25 turnovers including two on 10-second infractions, held the Chargers to only 5 free throws for a 7-minute stretch over the second and third quarters and kept Gabriel Bergeron, one of D-C's main scoring threats, in check.
The Chargers pulled themselves out of the funk in the fourth quarter with a 32-point scoring surge but it was not enough to overcome the Gators.
D-C (5-2, 2-1) jumped out to an 8-0 lead to start the game.
"We came out flat for sure. We've done that a couple of times, getting into a hole," said South coach Matt LePage. "But I do like the way our guys battled back."
Matthew Reall scored the first of his game-high 21 points with a 3-point shot from the left corner to put South on the board with 4:26 left in the first period. A Tyler Akin (12 points) bucket 3 minutes later put the Gators ahead 9-8.
"They came out with a lot of intensity and we didn't match that at the beginning," said Reall "After a couple of minutes, we found our groove."
The Chargers, trailing 13-10 at the start of the second quarter, pulled within 21-20 halfway through the period on 2 Jordan Hairston (18 points) free throws. D-C managed only one more point before intermission giving South a 29-22 halftime lead.
The Gators started the second half with an 11-0 run. A Brad Stec basket with 3:37 left in the quarter broke the Chargers' scoring drought. D-C managed only 4 more points in the quarter, all on free throws, and trailed 45-28 at the end of the third quarter.
"That's been their MO lately. Start off bad and put on the press and get back in the game and they did the same thing today," D-C coach Lance Huber said of the Gators. "We just didn't handle them very well."
The Chargers got their offense back on track in the final frame. D-C pulled within 5 points, 50-55, with less than two minutes to play on Jack Orndahl's putback of his own missed free throw. The senior guard scored 15 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter with 8 on charity tosses. The Chargers went to the free throw line 10 times to score 12 of their fourth-quarter points.
South (3-5, 1-1) widened the lead back to 10 with 3 of 5 points also coming from the free throw line -- 2 of them on a technical foul. A Ben Geske bucket followed to put Gators back up 60-50. Having to force fouls to get possession of the ball, D-C was unable to close the gap.