Crystal Lake South recovers from slow start to blow out Woodstock North
If Crystal Lake South can be as efficient the rest of the new year as it was in its first game of 2023, Fox Valley Conference fans can expect some pretty entertaining and high-scoring basketball games.
The Gators committed just five turnovers -- only one in the first two-and-a-half quarters -- as they coasted to a 65-42 nonconference victory over Woodstock North on Saturday.
"During practice we were talking about turnovers, just practicing how to handle the ball better and press break," senior Zach Peltz said. "We had a good scheme against this team. We started out rough, but we came back and got it done."
The only thing South (13-4) might want to change was the way it came out.
Energized by a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Byron, North (7-9) came out confident, scoring nine of the first 11 points after back-to-back buckets by Justin Chase and forcing a Gators timeout. The lead grew to as high as 16-6 in that first quarter following a Javi Rodriguez 3-pointer.
From that point on, though, South had complete control. The Gators took their first lead at 24-23 with 5:05 left in the half and eventually scored 27 points in the second quarter to claim a 39-25 halftime lead.
The attack featured the balance that has become typical of South over the last five games or so. While Anthony Demirov had a game-high 20 points, six players scored at least five points. Peltz, who connected on four 3s, and Cooper LePage each added 14 points, while Cameron Miller had eight points, all in the critical second quarter.
"We came out slow, but we've been there before," said Miller, who had two steals in the first half. "It was a good feeling coming back from that team. We just needed to stay composed.
"Today we moved the ball well. When that's happening, we can beat anyone."
After hitting 6 of their first 11 shots, the Thunder finished just 15 of 43 from the field. Isaac Salas had 10 points, including eight in the first half.
Still, North coach Dale Jandron was pleased with what he saw against a team that should finish toward the top of the FVC.
"I tried to tell our guys to keep their heads up, and they did," Jandron said. "They stuck with them. We just weren't hitting as well as they were.
"We love playing those teams. Even though sometimes the end result is that, we love a good game. And you saw it in the first half. Our guys like to battle against these guys. We don't think we are out of any game. I think it's important, especially for conference. Get that hard-nosed mentality."