Crystal Lake South falls into tie for FVC lead
Crystal Lake Central gave host Crystal Lake South that boxed-in feeling throughout a 41-35 victory Friday.
Senior Lucas Seegers locked down CL South leading scorer Tyler Miller and the Tigers challenged his teammates to make perimeter shots that would force them out of the box-and-one scheme.
The Gators could not make enough shots to take the heat off Miller. They shot 17 percent from 3-point range (5 of 30) and 28 percent from the field (14 of 50).
That allowed Seeger to continue to deny Miller by staying in passing lanes between the junior and the ball. Miller who averages 14 points on 11 field goal attempts, was held scoreless on 3 shots.
"We didn't think in a million years we could do that to him for an entire game, but Lucas Seegers gave it an incredible effort," CL Central coach Rich Czeslawski said.
Seegers, a 5-foot-10, 145-pound guard, relied on his quickness to close out on the perimeter.
"No threes," he said of his game plan against Miller. "I had to make sure that if he was going to score on me, he was going to drive. So I made sure I tucked over the screens tightly and didn't let him catch the ball."
The loss knocked CL South (21-7, 10-4) out of sole possession of first place. The Gators fell into a three-way tie for first with CL Central (16-11, 10-4) and Cary-Grove (18-6, 9-4) with two leagues games to play. Cary-Grove defeated Hampshire 58-51 on Friday.
The Gators led 16-15 at halftime, but the Tigers closed the third quarter on an 8-2 run and extended their lead to 33-23 early in the fourth quarter on a drive by Christian Lerum.
South did make a run. The Gators drew within 5 points of the lead when senior Matt Reall sank a 3-pointer. They pulled within 3 points seconds later when Ben Geske stole the ball and raced for a breakaway layup with 3:10 remaining.
The Gators had a chance to tie on their next possession, but Reall's 3-point attempt from the corner missed the mark with 2:20 left. Deonta Dungey scored at the other end for the Tigers to restore their 5-point lead with 90 seconds left.
"We missed a lot of open ones, practice shots," said Reall, who had to work for his team high 11 points on 4-of-21 shooting. "That's our home gym. You'd think we'd make them and we didn't. They played a heck of a game, too. It wasn't just us missing shots. They played very well."
Crystal Lake South entered the game shooting 38 percent from 3-point range.
"If you don't make shots early against a box and one, it can get in your head and I thought that hurt us," said Gators coach Matt LePage, whose team faced a box-and-one defense in a nonconference game earlier in the week. "I thought they had a great game plan of not letting (Miller) get in a rhythm. We needed other guys to step up and make shots."
Center Alex Timmerman (6-foot-9) led the Tigers with 15 points and 7 rebounds and Dungey scored 13 points off the bench. Central concludes the regular season with home games against Dundee-Crown on Tuesday and McHenry on Thursday.
Junior Damir Glamoc finished with 9 points on three 3-pointers and Geske added 8 points for CL South, which hosts McHenry on Tuesday and visits Jacobs on Thursday.