Jacobs stuns Crystal Lake Central
Hard work really does pay off.
"They've worked really hard and they were ripe for this one," said Jacobs boys basketball coach Jimmy Roberts after watching his team explode out of the gate and open up three separate 17-point leads on Fox Valley Conference leader Crystal Lake Central, then survive a furious 26-point fourth-quarter onslaught by the Tigers to earn a strong 64-57 win Tuesday night in Algonquin.
The victory, which avenges a 58-35 drubbing seven weeks ago in Crystal Lake, improved Jacobs' record to 9-11 overall and 3-6 in the FVC. Crystal Lake Central slips to 12-6, 6-2 in the league.
Jacobs senior sharpshooter Matt McCoy was open early and often, and it showed. The 6-foot sniper drained 6 of 11 3-pointers and 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch when they mattered, en route to a game-high 25 points, while backcourt mate Jaden Henderson added 20 for the Eagles.
"It felt great to get the win," said McCoy. "Our first game against them was pretty tough, but tonight we really attacked their zone much better. The guys were able to find me when I was open and I was able to knock them down."
Crystal Lake Central got 22 points and 11 rebounds from 6-9, 250-pound senior pivotman Alex Timmerman, and Ryan Mendoza added 10 off the bench.
"We fought hard tonight and our defense kept us in the game, especially in the second half," mused Tigers coach Rich Czeslawski. "But they got some really key offensive rebounds and were able to kick them out for threes almost every time, it seemed. That just killed us."
Jacobs came out in the first quarter with a ferocious intensity, scoring the first 10 points of the game on 3-pointers by McCoy and Jalen Ramsey followed by a pair of layups by Henderson. On the first, the 6-4 senior guard worked himself wide open on the low block, then stole the ball and took it the length of the court to prompt Czeslawski to call for a timeout.
That seemed to settle the Tigers, and buckets by Timmerman and Mendoza trimmed the lead to 10-4 but Jacobs, which shot a blistering 8 of 11 from the floor in the first quarter, opened up a 21-10 lead after one.
After another steal and coast-to-coast scoring sprint followed by a 3 from Henderson and a pair of free throws by Andrew Balkcom, Jacobs found itself with the first of its three 17-point advantages, 28-11. But Timmerman began to make his rather significant presence felt inside, scoring 6 points in a 10-3 run to close the quarter and pull Crystal Lake Central within 10 at 31-21.
The Tigers' offensive output was short-lived, however. After the intermission they missed their first five shots of the third quarter and made just 4 of 12 from the floor in the period to trail 42-31 after three.
McCoy and Henderson each knocked down a trey to open the final period -- and another 17-point gap -- before Crystal Lake Central finally began to heat up. An 11-0 run capped by a power move inside by Timmerman got the Tigers' deficit to just 6, 48-42, and it looked like the Golden Eagles might watch another big lead evaporate. But at the halfway point of the period, Keshaun Lyons found himself alone in the corner and calmly drained a 3-pointer to right the ship at 51-42, at least temporarily.
The Tigers, however, were not going to leave Algonquin without a fight. Down 10 with 1:25 to play, Christian Lerum dropped in a pair of free throws, followed by a layup by Evan Cassell and a Timmerman putback of a wild miss by Will Welder, and suddenly Crystal Lake Central found itself down just 4 points, 59-55, with 42 seconds left.
But that's when the Tigers needed to foul, and they picked the wrong guy -- McCoy made 5 of 6 from the line down the stretch to seal the win.