CARPENTERSVILLE — Gavin Markgraff hadn’t hit a 3-pointer all night and McHenry hadn’t led all game. Trailing Dundee-Crown by five with just under two minutes to go, the Warriors needed a spark.
Markgraff proved to be that spark.
The 6-foot-4 senior swished in a 3 from the left wing, well beyond the arc, cutting the lead to two. D-C’s Gabe Bergeron missed a 3-pointer at the other end and the Warriors corralled the rebound. Back on offense, they found Markgraff again for a 3, this time at the top of the key.
The back-to-back 3-pointers erased D-C’s five-point lead in a span of 50 seconds. McHenry’s Gio Calabrese went 4 for 4 from the free throw line in the final minute and McHenry held on for a 48-45 Fox Valley Conference victory Wednesday.
“Those two made up for all the ones I’d missed,” said Markgraff, who led all scorers with 15 points. “I was short on every one before that. My teammates kept telling me to get my legs into it, follow through and thankfully those last two I got those in.”
McHenry (10-4, 5-1 FVC) trailed by as much as 11 late in the third quarter. Coach Chris Madson said both Markgraff's 3s came on set plays that were recently added to the Warriors’ repertoire.
“We actually just practiced them yesterday and the day before,” Madson said. “The goal was to not show them right away throughout the season. You’ve got to have some stuff in your bag midway through the year.”
The new wrinkles paid off. They turned what had overall been a solid performance from the Chargers (7-8, 3-3 FVC) into a letdown.
After Calabrese nailed the free throws, D-C had one last look trailing by three, but guard Jack Orndahl’s 3-point attempt was off the mark.
“Our guys played a great game,” Chargers coach Lance Huber said. “They did a lot of things really, really well. McHenry just had a couple more bullets in the gun tonight."
D-C’s 6-foot-8 big man Bergeron had a monster game, scoring 12 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. Jordan Hairston led the Chargers with 13 points.
McHenry didn’t have an answer for Bergeron, especially early in the game. The senior had 10 rebounds by halftime.
“Gabe keeps it high,” Madson said. “All those rebounds he gets, he puts it right back up. Our biggest thing was trying to limit what shots he did get, making him shoot away from the hoop and not letting him get second chances.”
Some untimely Chargers turnovers in the fourth quarter led to McHenry baskets and D-C couldn’t find a score when it desperately needed one. McHenry won the fourth quarter 20-6.
Behind Markgraff’s 15 points, Calabrese scored 14 points and Maki Mohr contributed seven points and seven rebounds.
“Down by 11, we never had a doubt,” Markgraff said. “We knew coming in this was a tough team. It took all mental toughness. I really don’t think we realized that until the second half. When we picked up our intensity on defense, got out, got stops and ran, it was awesome.”
STAR OF THE GAME
Gavin Markgraff, McHenry, Sr., G
Markgraff scored two 3-point shots in the span of 50 seconds to turn a five-point deficit into a one-point McHenry lead. Markgraff finished with 15 points.
63: McHenry led for a grand total of 63 seconds Wednesday night after Markgraff’s two big shots and teammate Gio Calabrese made all four of his free throws.
AND ANOTHER THING …
McHenry has seen a few big post players like D-C’s Gabe Bergeron in recent weeks. They faced Conant’s 6-9 Ryan Davis over the holidays and Crystal Lake Central’s 6-9 Alex Timmerman on Saturday.
McHenry 48, Dundee-Crown 45
McHenry 11 6 11 20 — 48
Dundee-Crown 16 8 13 8 — 45
McHENRY (48): Mohr 2 2-3 7, Markgraff 5 3-4 15, Breisch 1 0-0 2, March 3 0-2 6, Evans 1 2-2 4, Calabrese 4 4-5 14. Totals: 16 11-16 48.
3-point goals: 5 (Markgraff 2, Calabrese 2, Mohr 1).
DUNDEE-CROWN (45): Butler 2 0-0 4, Orndahl 2 1-3 5, Hairston 6 1-2 13, Stec 3 0-0 6, Bergeron 4 4-4 12, Hatcher 1 0-0 3, Michalski 1 0-0 2, Parreno 0 0-0 0, Krueger 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 6-9 45.
3-point goals: 1 (Hatcher 1).