ALGONQUIN – Crystal Lake South’s boys basketball team appears to have fixed any problems it had closing out games.
The Gators finished off Barrington in fine fashion, making almost every shot they took in the fourth quarter for a 68-59 semifinal victory in the Jacobs Holiday Classic on Friday night at the Eagles’ Nest.
South (5-6) came into the tournament on a three-game skid and will face Crystal Lake Central (11-1) at 7:30 p.m. today in the championship.
“The kids were unbelievably resilient,” Gators coach Matt LePage said. “They’d punch us a little and we’d come right back. There were some miscues at the end, but we got stops when we needed to.”
Austin Rogers scored 21 points to lead the Gators and Max Meitzler added 20, 17 in the second half when he did not miss a shot.
“My teammates were getting me the ball and I hit some shots,” said Meitzler, who made four 3-pointers. “Austin got us going in the first half and they were playing on him more, so that opened up other shots for us.”
Barrington took a 42-37 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Rogers’ two free throws put the Gators ahead for good with 4:59 remaining. South was 8 of 8 from the field and 13 of 17 from the line in the fourth quarter.
“Those games we lost we were close,” said South guard Nick Geske, who scored 17 points. “We’ve finally figured out how to close out games. This will be a lot of fun, we haven’t been in the championship game for a while.”
South lost to Elk Grove, 67-61, in the 2001 title game.
Geske hit 11 of 14 free throws for the game and Meitzler hit all five field goal attempts in the second half, as well as all four of his free throws.
“Max played a game, that’s for sure,” LePage said. “Austin was unguardable for a while there. And we had to get through playing without Nick [Geske] for a while.”
Geske picked up his fourth foul and missed about 6 minutes in the third and early fourth quarters. He scored eight after returning.
“We just have to make shots, play hard, box out and do the little things to close out games,” Geske said.
Brad Zaumseil scored 21 points to lead Barrington (9-7). Zach Hart added 16.