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Crystal Lake Central’s Brad Knoeppel and Corban Murphy took turns sparking the Tigers when they needed it most Friday night against Lakes in the semifinals of the Jacobs Holiday Classic.
Knoeppel’s ten points in the third quarter and Murphy’s ten points in the fourth quarter helped propel Crystal Lake Central to a 66-58 victory.
“I just found my shot,” Knoeppel said. “After I made my first shot, I got more focused and I was fortunate to keep hitting shots.”
Knoeppel’s hot shooting rubbed off on Murphy in the fourth.
“Brad started knocking down a few shots and the fourth quarter came, we started gelling and I made some shots,” Murphy said. “It just kind of took off from there.”
At halftime the two teams were tied at 31. Lakes (12-4) scored back-to-back baskets to start the third but the Tigers (11-1) responded with a 11-0 run.
Murphy (21 points) started the rally with a layup, Jacob Vanscoyoc (13 points) then knocked down a three, Knoeppel (13 points) followed with back-to-back buckets and Vanscoyoc added a field goal to give the Tigers a 42-35 advantage.
Crystal Lake Central led 51-47 heading into the fourth but the Eagles would tie things up at 53 with 5:01 remaining in the fourth after a field goal by Direll Clark (14 points).
That’s when Murphy got hot, hitting two shots in a row to give the Tigers the lead for good.
Jake Kohler pulled Lakes within 57-55 with 3:09 to play but a three-pointer by Knoeppel and a layup by Murphy pushed Crystal Lake Central’s advantage to 62-55 with 1:56 remaining.
Andrew Spencer (15 points) answered with a trey for the Eagles with 1:38 left but Murphy iced the win converting four free throws in the final 28.4 seconds.
“I really thought we played hard,” Spencer said. “We just missed a couple shots down the stretch that we could have used. They made their shots and made big time plays.”
Lakes faces Barrington tomorrow at 6 p.m. in the third-place game.
Meanwhile, Crystal Lake Central prepares for a showdown with neighborhood rival Crystal Lake South in the title game at 7:30.
“It’s a crosstown rivalry and it’s going to be a good battle all the way through,” Murphy said. “There should be a lot of people there. I’m excited.”