CARPENTERSVILLE – For Dundee-Crown in the fourth quarter against Prairie Ridge, the most important shots were the uncontested ones.
Both teams were in the bonus at the start of the fourth quarter Tuesday, and it was the Chargers who capitalized on their free throws to defeat the visiting Wolves, 52-50, in a Fox Valley Conference Valley Division game.
The Chargers (8-3 overall, 1-0 FVC Valley) shot 10 for 14 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and used their quickness to draw nine fouls in the final quarter.
“We contested shots a bit better in second half, and we were able to get to the free-throw line,” D-C coach Lance Huber said.
The Wolves held the lead throughout the game until 6:03 remained. The Chargers’ Dylan Kissack rebounded a missed free throw from point-guard J.T. Hill-Beasley, and put it right back in to tie the score at 42.
The Chargers trailed by five points at the start of the fourth quarter but were put in the bonus on their first possession. That started a comeback that was fueled by seven trips to the foul line.
While the Wolves (4-11, 1-1) dominated the first three quarters, it was the adjustments the Chargers made that gave them the late edge.
“Coach told us during halftime to get in tune with the game,” Hill-Beasley said. “He said we have to play some defense, and we got some turnovers because of it. We knew we could stop them because we are quicker, and coach said if you can get in front them, take charges, and that’s what we did.”
Hill-Beasley scored a team-high 11 points and was a catalyst in the final quarter, scoring six points while getting to the foul line four times. He also was tasked with shutting down the Wolves’ Michael Bradshaw in the second half. Bradshaw scored a game-high 16 points behind three 3-pointers.
“It’s hard,” Hill-Beasley said of guarding Bradshaw, who brought the ball up for the Wolves and shot off screens all night. “It’s difficult because he has such a nice shot and he was on fire early, but it’s something I have to do because I’m the best defender. We just tried to bump him bringing up the ball so they couldn’t move it on us as easy.”
Tuesday’s exciting matchup featured two teams with polar opposite playing styles, and the game didn’t disappoint those in attendance.
The Wolves are a perimeter-shooting team, and they had it working early. The Wolves connected on six 3-pointers in the first half, which helped open the inside game.
The Chargers don’t take many outside shots but are arguably the most athletic team in the area, and it showed as the players hounded the ball and forced 25 Wolves turnovers.
“Their on-the-ball quickness bothered us,” Wolves coach Corky Card said. “They were able to bother our cutters as well, and they got back in the second half and they changed it from an open-court game and slowed it down. If we have to set up 5-on-5, we’re going to struggle, especially against a team like Dundee-Crown with all of the athleticism they have.”