This was sillier than Grayslake North’s socks.
With her Crystal Lake South basketball teammates locked up in a tight battle against their undefeated opponent in the championship game of the Northern Illinois Holiday Classic, Chanel Fanter took over with an ice-water-in-her-veins fourth quarter.
Mind you, she’s a freshman, who only just recently stepped into the starting lineup.
Fanter scored 7 of her season- and team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter, allowing Crystal Lake South to rally from a 3-point deficit after three to pull out a 39-36 win over Grayslake North at McHenry.
“The ball found me and my teammates found me open,” Fanter said with a modest shrug.
“She’s outstanding. Earlier today, too, she looked great,” said Grayslake North coach Nate Flannery, who watched Fanter and her teammates beat Lakes 51-29 in a winners-bracket semifinal. “She doesn’t play like a freshman. She plays with confidence, she catches and puts it on the floor, and she’ll shoot.”
Crystal Lake South finished 5-0 in the tournament, improving to 12-4 with its second win of the day, while handing defending tournament champ Grayslake North (4-1 tourney) its first loss after a school-record 13 wins to open the season.
“I give (Crystal Lake South) a ton of credit,” Flannery said. “They took us out of what we generally do well. We’re usually a team that feeds it into the post a lot and gets a lot of kick-out 3s. Their pressure got us playing a little bit faster than we wanted to, and then it led into what we were doing in the half court offensively.”
In the holiday spirit, each Grayslake North player wore colorful socks. Included was senior Shyanne Ludwick, who sported a red pair with white fur, Santa-suit style.
And the Knights were socking it to their opponent early, as the shooting of Kendall Detweiler (game-high 16 points, four 3-pointers) had them up 15-9 after one quarter, 21-19 at halftime and 26-23 after three.
“I don’t think we can wear (the socks) anymore, though, because we hadn’t lost before,” Flannery said with a laugh. “They got to go now.”
Grayslake North led 30-27 after Brittney Thibeaux (12 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals) scored in the low post with 5:04 left in the fourth. But Crystal Lake South’s Carly Nolan finished a layup in transition, and then it was time for the unflappable frosh.
Fanter stuck a right-way jumper to give the Gators a 31-30 lead. The 5-foot-9 guard then hit a shot from near the baseline.
“My teammates found me open and I just hit the shots,” Fanter said. “It was just great to knock those down because this was a big win for us. We all really wanted this championship.”
And Fanter wasn’t done after her two clutch jumpers.
When she penetrated the lane and fed Sara Mickow (12 points, 13 rebounds) for a layup, the Gators led 35-30 with 2:25 left.
A Detweiler 3 and a Thibeaux layup got Grayslake North even, but Fanter hit 1 of 2 free throws with 1:24 remaining and then sank 2 foul shots with 20 seconds to go.
“She stepped in, I’d say, seven games ago as a starter, and she’s playing really well for us,” said Crystal Lake South coach Kyle McCaughn, whose team also got 8 points, including a 3 to open the fourth, from Rachel Rasmussen.
Fanter wasn’t even to blame for fouling Grayslake North’s Emily Dugan beyond the arc with 2.7 seconds left and the Gators protecting their 3-point lead. Dugan threw up a shot and drew contact from Fanter, putting her at the line with a chance to tie the game with three made free throws.
Dugan missed the first and made the second. She then purposely missed the third, but Mickow grabbed the rebound and was fouled, securing the tournament title for the Gators.
“The reality of it is, that’s on me,” McCaughn said of Fanter’s foul. “Knowing they weren’t in the bonus, I was calling ‘red’ to try to force (Grayslake North) to run time and get the ball out of bounds. (The foul) just happened at the wrong time. The girl (Dugan) was smart to put up a shot as we were yelling ‘red.’ She knew it was probably coming.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.