CRYSTAL LAKE – Jacobs boys basketball coach Jimmy Roberts held a quick training seminar right before the biggest game of the season.
Before the Golden Eagles hopped on their bus that would take them to Friday’s Class 4A Crystal Lake Central Regional championship game against District 300 rival Dundee-Crown, Roberts brought an old net into the team’s meeting room to show his players the proper way to cut down the 12-ringed net.
“We take a lot of pride in how we prepare,” Roberts said. “We are always prepared for everything in every situation. When I brought the net I told them, ‘This is not a joke. We are prepared for every situation, including this.’ ”
The third-seeded Golden Eagles were certainty prepared for the game as they played stifling defense and scored just enough to hang on to a 43-33 win over the fifth-seeded Chargers to capture their first regional title since the 2007-08 season. But the Eagles’ net-cutting ceremony didn’t quite go as planned. Jacobs (18-13) won by controlling what it could – tough defense and rebounding.
The Chargers (10-18) jumped out to a quick 4-2 lead early in the first quarter before Jacobs went on a 6-0 run to grab the lead back. D-C scored just one more bucket in the quarter and trailed 8-6 at the end of the first.
But the Eagles turned up the intensity on the defensive side of the ball and allowed just three Chargers’ points in each of the next two quarters.
For one stretch, the Chargers didn’t score a basket for 10 minutes and 12 seconds which spanned half of the second quarter and most of the third.
“They played great defense,” Chargers coach Lance Huber said. “They did a good job of taking our primary scorers out of the game and it was a challenge all night long to find a way to score.”
Jacobs point guard Chrishawn Orange scored a game-high 14 points but didn’t score a point in the first half after missing all five of his shot attempts. But freshman Cameron Krutwig picked up the slack as he danced around D-C defenders in the low post and scored eight of his 12 points in the first half.
Orange got going and took over the offensive reins after the break and scored all 11 Jacobs’ points in the third, while holding the Chargers to a lone 3-pointer from Nick Munson.
“This is great,” Krutwig said. “I just wanted to come out and look for my shots and be aggressive. Some good things happen when you get the ball in the post because you can shoot or you can work it around.”
The Eagles withstood a late push from the Chargers’ Zach Pochop who scored a team-high 10 points, all of which came in the fourth quarter.
Once the final buzzer sounded, Jacobs’ players stormed the court and took pictures with their newly acquired regional championship plaque. They waited around on the court, anticipating cutting down the net, but the mechanism controlling the baskets went to work and lifted them up out of the Black and Gold clad scissors-wielding Jacobs players.
“We’ve been talking a long time about cutting down nets,” Roberts said. “We were standing around the floor and we said, ‘Alright, lets go home and cut down our own nets.”
The players dressed, got on their bus, and went directly to their home gym to cut down their own nets.
“Everyone got a piece,” Roberts said. “This is something we really wanted to do. Those are memories those kids are never going to forget.”