Dundee-Crown hands Crystal Lake Central its 1st FVC loss
The Dundee-Crown boys basketball team inserted itself in the thick of the Fox Valley Conference title chase Wednesday by handcuffing Crystal Lake Central in a 39-32 win in Carpentersville.
FVC leader CL Central (11-5, 5-1) had won 10 straight, thanks partly to prolific scoring outputs like 84 points and 75 points in December wins over Hampshire.
"If it wasn't for our defense, we would have never beaten them," said 6-foot-6 Dundee-Crown junior Justin Prusko, who led the Chargers with 10 points, a career high.
The Tigers made only 13 of 55 shots from the field (24 percent), 2 of 18 from 3-point range (11 percent). The bulk of their offense came from 6-foot-9, 250-pound senior Alex Timmerman, who finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
"Basketball is a funny game. Sometimes that happens to you," Crystal Lake Central coach Rich Czeslawski said. "The message in the locker room was hey, we have to get past this. We have to wipe this out. They did a nice job tonight. Tip your cap to them and let's go win the next one."
It was the fifth straight win for Dundee-Crown (13-3, 5-2), which moves into a three-way tie for second place with Huntley (10-5, 5-2) and Hampshire (10-6, 5-2), a game behind CL Central.
Dundee-Crown lost the rebounding battle 30-24 and committed 2 more turnovers than the Tigers, who also grabbed 11 offensive rebounds. Yet, D-C found a way to win in game in which each possession took on added weight.
"It wasn't a thing of beauty," D-C coach Lance Huber said. "I thought our guys really dug in. I mean, they're really good. We found a way to get some stops. Luckily, they missed some open shots and, luckily, we eventually got a rebound because they had a ton of offensive rebounds, I thought, in the first three quarters. We finally got some in the fourth and had just enough to pull it out."
D-C led 14-11 after a quarter, 22-18 at the half and 28-23 after three quarters. Central drew within 29-28 on a Ryan Mendoza free throw with 5:04 to play, but Josh Raby answered with the biggest shot of the game for the Chargers -- a 3-pointer from the corner with 4:25 left.
"I was just kind of in the rhythm," Raby said, "but our main focus was just getting back on defense after that so you can only celebrate for so long."
"I don't know if it took the wind of their sails," Huber said, "but it gave our guys a lift, that's for sure."
Following an offensive foul by Timmerman at the other end, Jack Michalski scored on an entry feed from Brad Stec to establish a 6-point lead with 2:33 left. D-C made 5 of its next 6 free throws to ice the victory, but the Chargers were most proud of their defense.
"We really emphasized getting into the gaps because they like to drive it in and kick it out," Michalski said. "We know we have some bigger guys who are maybe not as quick, but we really work on anything we can to stop any teams with guards."
Michalski and Raby each finished with 9 points for Dundee-Crown, which hosts Hampshire on Friday.