CARPENTERSVILLE – It seems that the Cary-Grove girls basketball team fell into an all-too-familiar trap – the catch game.
The Trojans have a much-anticipated Fox Valley Conference Valley Division game against division-leading Huntley on Saturday and they seemed to overlook Wednesday’s FVC Valley matchup against Dundee-Crown, at least for the first half.
“Saturday is going to be a huge game for us,” Joslyn Nicholson said.
Nicholson jump-started the Trojans in the second half and finished with 10 points in the Trojans’ 39-18 victory against the Chargers.
“I think we were getting ahead of ourselves because we have been too focused on Saturday,” Nicholson said. “I think against teams like Dundee-Crown, people see the records and always expect us to win even though they play tough every night. And when the pressure is on like that, we tend to get ahead of ourselves. We try to do things that we shouldn’t be doing and we don’t take care of the ball. We need to hustle more from the beginning and not be lazy.”
In the first quarter, the Trojans (11-6 overall, 4-1 FVC Valley) mustered only one point in the and seemingly every shot attempt rolled off the rim or didn’t touch it at all. Including free throws, the Trojans missed their first 12 shot attempts.
The opening quarter went like this: Nicholson had three steals but couldn’t connect on the ensuing three layups. Both Olivia Jakubicek and Kaite Barker missed a combined four free throws before Nicholson connected on one for her teams’ only point.
Jereneka Baker came off the bench for the Chargers and scored six points on three successive possessions to give her team a 10-9 lead at halftime. In the locker room, Trojans’ coach Andy Donaldson knew he had some changes to make.
“Dundee-Crown did a nice job of getting back on those steals in the first half,” said Donaldson, who was taking over for head coach Rod Saffert after Saffert injured his back. “[D-C] gave us some fits; they really played us tough. They always had a couple people on our inside player and when we would get a steal, Dundee-Crown would be getting right back and they contested a lot of our shots.”
The Chargers (2-15, 0-5) came ready to play and coach Michelle Russell was pleased with the way her team defended as it forced 10 turnovers while playing a tough man-to-man with high energy.
Trojans leading scorer Olivia Jakubicek was held to 12 points by a collective effort from the Chargers.
Emilie Michalski – who scored two points – was one of the players whom Donaldson was talking about as the the 6-foot forward defended the basket well. Jakubicek constantly split defenders to get to the rim but Michalski was always there in defense.
“We played really, really well defensively,” Russell said. “They put a lot of hard work in tonight, and for us to hold Nicholson and Jakubicek to their totals and their team under 40 points, is great. The girls did a terrific job.”