Dundee-Crown's 2nd-half rally sinks Prairie Ridge
Defense sparked the Dundee-Crown boys basketball team in a 56-39 Fox Valley Conference comeback win at Prairie Ridge on Wednesday.
Coming off a 17-point road loss at Huntley in Saturday's FVC opener, the Chargers seemed resigned to a similar fate against inexperienced Prairie Ridge (0-7, 0-2), now coached by Ryan Smith, a Larkin graduate.
The Wolves surged to a 33-24 lead with 4:18 left in the third quarter when junior Ryan Fist drilled his third 3-pointer of the game.
That was when Dundee-Crown (5-1, 1-1) snapped to attention.
Senior Jack Michalski fired up his teammates with a two-handed dunk and coach Lance Huber switched to a 1-3-1 full-court trap that took the Wolves out of rhythm offensively.
Not only did D-C outscore PR 35-6 over the final 12 minutes, the Chargers did not allow a field goal in the fourth quarter.
"We just switched it up on defense to catch them off guard and we stepped up," said 6-foot-6 junior forward Brad Stec, who led D-C with 15 points and 12 rebounds. "We just turned it up a notch. We were hustling on every play. We got the 50/50 balls, we were going to the basket hard, getting fouled and going to the free-throw line."
D-C closed the third quarter on a 14-5 run, highlighted by a 4-point trip on which Josh Raby scored two baskets separated by a free-throw attempt.
The Chargers tied the Wolves at 38-38 on a banked-in 3-pointer by Damarion Butler that beat the third-quarter buzzer.
"I just knew that our team needed a spark heading into the fourth quarter," Butler said. "I took it upon myself to try to help my team and, luckily, I guess, it went in. I wasn't expecting it to go in."
The fourth quarter was all Dundee-Crown, which made its push with the athletic grouping of Jordan Hairston, Kennon Cook, Trayvon Hatcher, Butler and Michalski on the floor. The defense forced 6 Prairie Ridge turnovers and held the Wolves -- who had already made eight 3-pointers -- to 0-for-7 shooting from the field, 0 for 3 from 3-point distance.
"We do have some good athletes," Huber said. "Basically, we let them play tonight and they played. We just got going and it snowballed."
Hatcher gave the Chargers the lead for good with a 3-pointer from the left wing 10 seconds into the fourth quarter. Hairston, a senior wing, then scored 6 straight points, including a pair of buckets in traffic, as the Chargers took command.
"They're long and they're athletic and down the stretch that showed," Smith said of D-C. "I thought we did a great job through the first three quarters of trying to keep them off the glass and trying to control the tempo. Our biggest thing has been showing up and executing for 32 minutes. We showed up for 24 of 32 minutes."
Fist led Prairie Ridge with 16 points and senior guard Michael Patterson sank four 3-pointers to finish with 12 points.
Hairston scored 14 points and Michalski added 12 points and 4 rebounds for Dundee-Crown.