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In complete control through three quarters, Dundee-Crown needed some big free throws and a clutch defensive play late to come away with a 44-40 win over McHenry on Tuesday night.
The host Chargers (14-5, 5-2 Fox Valley Valley) entered the fourth quarter leading 37-25, and they had not allowed the Warriors (9-10, 2-5) an offensive run of more than five points through the first 24 minutes.
That quickly changed though, as the Warriors opened the fourth quarter with a 13-3 surge, capped by a Greg Johnson three-pointer with 1:34 to play that cut Dundee-Crown’s lead to 40-38.
After Brandon Rodriguez split a pair of free throws for the Chargers, the Warriors clawed even closer when Korey Partenheimer converted a layup with 1:01 to play, making the score 41-40.
“We started out hot, but give McHenry credit,they clawed back in it and they showed a lot of fight and resolve,” said Dundee-Crown coach Lance Huber.
The Chargers again split a pair of free throws on their ensuing possession, this time it was Zachary Pochop at the line, and the Warriors got the ball back down two with 46.4 seconds to go.
As the Warriors worked the ball around near midcourt, Chargers guard Jack Buckley poked the ball away from Partenheimer and tied it up for a jump ball. Possession favored Dundee-Crown, and Rodriguez connected on a pair of free throws to seal the victory.
“It all happened fast,” Buckley said of the defensive play. “By the fourth quarter you start catching onto guys’ tendencies and knowing what they’re going to do during the game and I just kind of read it.”
It was a fitting way to end what was a scrappy all-around game by Buckley. While he failed to get into the scoring column and attempted just one shot, he did the little things in drawing three charges, pulling down a team-high seven rebounds and recording three steals.
“(Jack) contributes without having to score, and we need guys like that,” said Huber. “He’s just been doing a great job for us.”
Rodriguez was the high scorer for the Chargers with 18 points. He was joined in double figures by Dylan Kissack, who had 11 on three three-pointers.
Partenheimer led the Warriors with 13 points and eight rebounds, while Johnson added 11 with three three-pointers of his own.
The win made it three straight for the Chargers, who square off with rival Jacobs on Friday night. Jacobs came away with a 76-66 double-overtime win last time the two teams met.
“We’ve got the home court advantage this time and we’re taking it to them, no questions,” said Rodriguez. “We’ve just got to buckle down and guard their shooters. They caught fire at home last time so we’ll see how it goes this time.”
DUNDEE-CROWN 44, MCHENRY 40
McHenry (9-10, 2-5)
Skinner 0 0-0 0, Zalewski 1 0-1 2, Johnson 4 0-0 11, Varvil 1 2-2 4, Partenheimer 5 3-4 13, Freund 2 3-5 8, Byers 1 0-0 2, Totals 14 8-12 40.
Dundee-Crown (14-5, 5-2)
Beasley 2 1-1 5, Buckley 0 0-0 0, Kissack 4 0-0 11, Parson 1 4-6 7, Rodriguez 6 5-7 18, Conley 1 0-0 2, Pochop 0 1-2 1, Totals 14 11-6 44.
Dundee-Crown 12 9 16 7 -- 44
McHenry 12 5 8 15 -- 40
Three-point goals -- Dundee-Crown (5): Kissack 3, Parson 1, Rodriguez 1. McHenry (4): Johnson 3, Freund 1. Fouled Out -- None.