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Down five points to Johnsburg in the fourth quarter, Crystal Lake South needed a spark.
Senior Nick Geske answered the call. The 6-foot guard scored eight straight points for the Gators and helped propel Crystal Lake South to a 70-60 victory Saturday in pool play at the Jacobs Holiday Classic.
“I just stayed aggressive and took the shots that were given to me,” said Geske, who finished with a career-high 28 points while recording eight rebounds and four steals. “Once we got it rolling we kept the momentum, making shots and getting key offensive rebounds for putbacks really helped.”
Johnsburg (4-4) led 47-46 at the end of the third quarter and pushed its lead to 51-46 two minutes into the fourth. That’s when Geske got hot, knocking down a three-pointer, getting a three-point play after being fouled and then scoring on a driving layup.
Skyhawks forward Marcus Huemann pulled his team within 54-53 after a field goal with 5:09 to play but the Gators responded immediately.
Max Meitzler (15 points, six rebounds) scored on an inside shot and Geske had back-to-back field goals to put Crystal Lake South (3-5) back in control 60-53 with 3:40 remaining.
T.J. Sigmund pulled Johnsburg within five after a layup with 2:50 to play but that’s as close as the Skyhawks would get.
The Gators converted 8-of-11 free throws in the final two minutes to secure the win.
“Nick Geske played really well today and hit a lot of big buckets,” Meitzler said. “We passed the ball well and got easy buckets.”
Austin Rogers also had a great game for Crystal Lake South, scoring 21 points to go along with 11 rebounds.
Ben Dingman led the way for Johnsburg with 17 points.
“We both had our runs, they just got the best run,” Dingman said. “We weren’t executing our shots and our shot selection was bad.”
Mike Conroy (11 points) Collin Ridout (10 points) and Sigmund (eight points) also contributed in the loss for the Skyhawks, which led 17-12 after the first quarter and 28-27 at halftime.