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Crystal Lake Central was amped to play arch-rival Crystal Lake South in the championship game of the Jacobs Holiday Classic on Saturday night.
It showed in the first-half shooting stats as the Tigers connected on 16-of-25 shots to build an 18-point halftime lead en route to a 65-43 win.
“We were playing our rival so there’s a lot of adrenaline going in the beginning of the game and we just kept making shots,” said Jacob Vanscoyoc, who finished with a game-high 20 points. “We were just on and everyone crashed the boards.”
Crystal Lake Central (12-1) scored on its first five trips down the floor, building an 11-2 lead. The Tigers were up 14-3 when South (5-7) answered with an 8-0 run.
Central led 15-11 heading into the second quarter and was up 22-17 when it made its decisive run, scoring 13 straight points. By halftime, the Tigers led 37-19.
“We were hitting all of our shots early in the game,” said 6-foot-6 senior center David Panicko, who had 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds. “I think it’s definitely because they’re a rival. We played them earlier this season [a Central win] but I don’t think we got to take it to them like we really wanted.”
The Gators were able to whittle the lead down to 48-36 after a field goal by Austin Rogers (14 points) with 1:40 to play in the third quarter.
The Tigers closed the third quarter with five straight points for a 53-36 lead and went on to outscore South 12-7 in the final quarter.
“It was just them making shots and we weren’t making shots,” Rogers said. “We weren’t getting open and we weren’t moving the ball and they were making every shot they put up.”
Max Meitzler added 10 points for the Gators while Brad Knoeppel scored 17 for Central.
The Tigers ability to dominate in the paint made a big difference as Panicko and Vanscoyoc were working well together down low.
“We’ve been working on a lot of post stuff in practice and we just put it to use in the game,” Panicko said. “That really helped us out there.”