Anthony Demirov is just a sophomore, but he has the scoring ability to carry his team for a crucial quarter and the confidence and resolve to knock down free throws with the game on the line.
Demirov’s two free throws with 0.8 seconds left gave Crystal Lake South a 41-39 win against Dundee-Crown on Wednesday in Carpentersville.
“My teammates were hyping me up and telling me to go hit the free throws to win the game,” Demirov said. “It gave me a lot of confidence.”
Demirov finished with a game-high 21 points. He scored all 10 of the Gators’ points in the fourth quarter.
“My teammates did a good job of creating shots for me and [Crystal Lake South coach Matt LePage told me to keep shooting,” Demirov said.
The Gators (5-0, 1-0 Fox Valley) led 19-6 early and 31-23 late in the third quarter but Dundee-Crown’s big man duo of 6-8 Kuba Senczyszyn (13 points, nine rebounds) and 6-6 Tyler DiSilvio (nine points, five rebounds) led an energetic rebounding effort the got the Chargers (1-3, 0-1) back in the game.
Kali Freeman’s steal and basket with 1:26 to play pulled Dundee-Crown within two points and two free throws from DiSilvio tied the game with 56 seconds to play.
The Chargers inbounded the ball after Demirov’s free throws but weren’t able to get a shot off.
“[Demirov] shoots a little over 90 percent [from the free-throw line] so it was the right guy in that spot,” LePage said. “Between him and [Cooper LePage] one of them had to make a play there in the closing seconds and he [Demirov] had the ball and saw a little window and took it to the basket.”
Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times
Cooper LePage, Matt’s son, is a four-year varsity player for the Gators. He’s signed with Northern Michigan. The senior finished with 11 points and five rebounds.
“We all trusted [Demirov] at the end and he came up big,” Cooper LePage said. “That’s just the start. He’s going to be a very good player.”
Junior Zach Randi contributed eight points for Dundee-Crown and Freeman finished with six points, five rebounds and three steals.
“We’ve played five close games and we have five wins,” Matt LePage said. “That’s a good thing but we are just taking it game by game. We have a lot of experience but also a lot of new guys.
“Burlington Central hasn’t lost a conference game in 27 or 28 games. So until they get beat it is their conference. That’s the way I look at it. But I think it will be a balanced conference this year and you know, a win on the road at Dundee-Crown is big for us.”
Watch the final minute of Crystal Lake South at Dundee-Crown: