WOODSTOCK – Slow starts have been the Achilles’ heel for the Crystal Lake South girls basketball team.
The Gators again found themselves facing an early deficit after scoring only four points and committing seven turnovers in the first quarter Tuesday against Woodstock North. But on South’s first possession of the second quarter, junior guard Rachel Rasmussen knocked down a jumper, her first of the game, to end a nearly four-minute scoring drought.
That was just the beginning of Rasmussen’s career night. Rasmussen scored a game- and career-high 21 points off the bench to spark the Gators to a 55-42 Fox Valley Conference crossover win against Woodstock North.
“[Rasmussen] can shoot with the best of them,” Gators coach Kyle McCaughn said. “She felt confident coming off the bench tonight and hitting those shots. Her teammates found her. That’s a credit to them, too. There were times kids had an opportunity to take a shot themselves and we made that extra pass.”
Rasmussen scored 11 of her 21 points in the second quarter, including a 3-pointer that tied the score at 22 with 10 seconds left in the half. The Gators (3-3) went on a 10-2 run during the final 3:15 of the second quarter.
“When one shot goes in, you just keep going and it helps when makes one person makes it,” Rasmussen said. “It’s kind of contagious and everybody else starts making them, too.
“The entire practice this week, that’s what we practiced (making the extra pass). All the guards, we practiced passing and relocating. We did that a lot, and it’s important.”
The inside presence of forward Sara Mickow helped open up looks on the perimeter and the 5-foot-11 junior capitalized off the misses, corralling the basketball for easy putbacks. Mickow finished with 18 points, combining with Rasmussen to score 39 of the Gators’ 55 points. In the final three quarters, South outscored Woodstock North, 51-32.
“Once we started hitting the pressure and getting the momentum, we just kept it going,” Mickow said. “We just needed to gain the momentum and keep it.”
Despite leading for most of the first half, the Thunder (3-3) never recovered after the Gators tied the score right before halftime. Their only points of the third quarter came on 3-pointers by Kaitlin Chamberlain and Emma Everly.
Another Everly 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter pulled Woodstock North within three points of South, 36-33, but the Gators’ full-court trapping press, employed most of the game, wore down the Thunder. Everly and Sami Ahr led Woodstock North with 11 points each.
“I thought we got a little tired, and we weren’t doing a good job on the weak-side glass,” Thunder coach Mike Lewis said. “They were taking shots, the same shots, but we weren’t getting the rebounds. They were getting second chances and those looks were open when they got those offensive rebounds.”