Jacobs edges Dundee-Crown in D300 rivalry game

Free throws have been an issue for Jacobs of late. So, for the last three practices, the Golden Eagles' coaches have begun using a drill where players shoot free throws at the end of practice.

"The goal," Jacob coach Jimmy Roberts explained, "is to make 8-of-11."

That extra practice paid huge dividends Monday night. The Eagles hit 11-of-12 free throws in the fourth quarter and staved off a Dundee-Crown rally in the second half in Jacobs' 48-45 Fox Valley Conference boys basketball victory in the Eagles' Nest.

Jacobs (5-3, 4-3) took a 21-11 halftime lead sparked by Nick McCoy's eight second-quarter points, which included a pair of 3-pointers as part of a 7-0 run. McCoy finished with 11 points.

But D-C (3-4, 3-4) stepped up its defensive pressure and opened the third quarter with a 14-4 run, keyed by Terrell Powell, who scored all 10 of his points in the period.

"It was execution and effort. In the first half, we didn't seem to have it, but in the second half we did,'' said Chargers coach Lance Huber, whose team lost its fourth in a row. "Our problem during this streak is that we can't seem to put 32 minutes of that kind of effort together."

Despite D-C's furious comeback, Jacobs was able to hang on thanks to its ability to handle the pressure and make the key free throws.

"Our defense has been solid, but during that (third quarter) we seemed a little dead and it let them back in the game," said Jacobs senior guard Zach Leahy, who led all scorers with 19 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. "And when it counted, we knocked down the free throws."

The biggest lead for either team in the final period was four. Jacobs led, 41-37, after Leahy's steal and layup with 4:51 to play. Leahy connected on another layup with 1:10 left to give the hosts a bit of breathing room at 45-40 before D-C's Jason Huber hit a long 3-pointer with 56 seconds remaining.

The Chargers clawed within 46-45 with 9 seconds to play on a layup by Kennon Cook (13 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks). Jacobs' James Hayes (11 points) hit 2 free throws with 5.9 seconds left before Huber's last-second 3-point attempt fell short.

"We're undermanned, but our kids play hard," said Roberts, whose team won its third straight. "We just had our 16th practice of the season, which in a normal year means we're heading to a Thanksgiving tournament. But we've just started playing better and we are slowly getting better."

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