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Wolves pull away in 2nd quarter

CARPENTERSVILLE – Dundee-Crown wishes it could have a do-over after a costly and disappointing performance during the second quarter against Prairie Ridge.

The Chargers girls basketball team, searching for its first win of the season, carried a two-point lead into the second despite nine turnovers through the game’s first eight minutes. But then nothing seemed to work. The Wolves outscored D-C 17-2 and held the Chargers scoreless until Lauren Lococo’s basket off an inbound play with 25 seconds left until half.

The 13-point halftime deficit was too much for the inexperienced Chargers squad to overcome in a 41-30 Fox Valley Conference Valley Division loss to Prairie Ridge. The Wolves ran all over the Chargers in the second, capitalizing off the turnovers, though D-C outscored Prairie Ridge in each of the other three quarters. Lococo led D-C with nine points as its starters accounted for all 30 points.

“Every game that second quarter has been our downfall,” Chargers coach Michelle Russell said. “We get leads in the first quarter. The second quarter we get a lead and we kind of get lackadaisical a little bit. We’ve got to come out in the second quarter with a little more vengeance. That’s been the season for us.”

Prairie Ridge (7-3, 1-2 FVC Valley) mixed up its defenses and also used a full-court press during its successful run in the second. That helped force 18 first-half turnovers by the Chargers (0-9, 0-2), however they settled down in the second half and turned over the ball only seven times.

“We rotated between the 1-3-1 and the 2-2-1 and played two different kinds: an aggressive press and then played more of a passive press and did some different things,” Wolves coach Rob Baker said. “And we made some shots. ... We started making shots and that’s what’s key.”

Coming off two tough home losses against Cary-Grove and Huntley, Prairie Ridge’s ability to knock down outside shots early was exactly the spark the offense needed. Junior guard Sarah LeBeau (nine points) made two of her three 3-pointers in the second while senior forward Marissa Gerstbrein’s 3-pointer with 44 second remaining in the quarter – her first of two in the game – extended the Wolves’ lead to 15 points, 25-10.

“They were stuffing the middle so we could set screens and come out on the outside,” said Gerstbrein, who finished with a game-high 12 points. “We just have to build our confidence. [Monday at practice] we worked a lot on our shooting because we weren’t making a lot of our shots.”

Because the Wolves’ outside shots were falling, the Chargers had to respect their perimeter game, which helped open the lane for Prairie Ridge’s forwards. Kelsey Bear (six points) and Kailey Aldridge (eight points) took advantage. Each scored within two minutes of the second quarter to give the Wolves their first lead of the game.

“It’s important that we win so we get our enthusiasm up so as the next few games come we’re running on a win instead of two tough losses,” Aldridge said.

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