I love hard hold gels. LAL sports gel is hard hold, so you have the right stuff. I agree with waiting until ALL of your hair is BONE DRY to scrunch. If I SOTC too soon, it loses curl and volume. It helps to diffuse a bit. You do t have to dry it all the way, but diffusing enough so that the roots dry a bit and the heat "sets" the gel is very helpful for volume.
2C/ Coarse/ Normal porosity/ SW Florida/ Salt & Pepper
Cleanse: CJ Daily Fix, JC Cleansing Cream, TJ Tea Tree Condish
Condish: JC Too Shea, CJ Curl Rehab (both as RO & LI)
Stylers: UFD CM, CJ PP, JC Spiralicious, Darcy's Cream Gel & Cocoa bean whip