Rockets knock out CL South
Crystal Lake South finally had started finding the right chemistry on the floor late in the boys basketball season, winning seven of its final eight regular-season games. Then, down by 14 in the second half against Marmion in the regional opener Monday, the Gators rallied for an overtime win.After the emotional win Monday, South ran out of steam in Tuesday’s Class 3A Burlington Central Regional semifinal. Burlington Central ran away with a 64-41 victory, advancing to Friday’s regional final against the winner of Wednesday’s game between St. Francis and Sycamore.“I told our seniors I thought they re-steered us in the middle of the season and led us to a good finish,” South coach Matt LePage said. “The win last night, the way we came back from 14 down in the second half to advance to tonight, they just never quit.”Playing on its home court, Burlington Central (23-9) jumped out to a 13-5 lead after the first quarter. Zac Schmidt knocked down three 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the second quarter to spearhead a Rockets run. They led, 36-19, at halftime.South (17-14) had few answers on the offensive end.“They’re a really good team,” Burlington Central coach Brett Porto said. “We just played really good defense tonight. We were able to guard.”South had lost two regular-season contests against Burlington Central, by five and six points. Senior guard Tyler Miller said the game plan coming into Tuesday was to keep the Rockets’ Jake Lenschow and Josh Hudgens out of the paint.Schmidt’s 3-point barrage in the second quarter threw a wrench into that plan.“Tonight we got behind against a really good team that was rolling,” LePage said. “It was difficult to chip away and come back. I thought our effort was there. Credit to Burlington, I thought their execution was really good.”For Burlington Central, Gavin Sarvis scored a team-high 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Lenschow scored 13 points, and Schmidt finished with 12. Hudgens also ended in double figures with 10 points.“We knew how hard they compete and how they get after it,” Porto said of South. “This was a team that we thought we might see in a regional title, it just so happened that it ended up being the first round. We played really well tonight.”The Rockets have won back-to-back Class 3A regional championships, and with Tuesday’s win, they’ve won nine of their last 10 games. They are rolling at the right time.South played without junior forward Casey Haskin, who was hit in the face during Monday’s game against Marmion. Haskin had to have stitches inside his mouth.Haskin represented a big body that the Gators could have used inside.“He’s going to get you boards; he’s going to play defense,” Miller said. “That kid’s just a monster everywhere. It’s tough because usually he takes a charge a game.”LePage pointed out that the Gators achieved their second-half comeback Monday even without Haskin in the lineup.Miller led the Gators with eight rebounds and contributed five points in the final game of his career. Damir Glamoc, another senior, led South offensively with 12 points, while junior Brock Jewson added eight points.