CARPENTERSVILLE – The McHenry girls basketball team had an opportunity to come out after halftime against Palatine with a strong opening few minutes of the third quarter and erase a manageable eight-point deficit.
So when the Warriors started the third by allowing Palatine to score four baskets within the first 1:30 of the quarter, McHenry coach Scott Morris promptly called a timeout with his team trailing by 16. But at that point, the Warriors’ slow start was enough to cost them a chance at a comeback. Palatine’s efficient shooting helped them pull away from McHenry in a 47-32 win Tuesday at the Dundee-Crown Thanksgiving Tournament.
“We just didn’t come out ready to play in that third quarter,” Morris said. “We talked about getting back in transition and locating their men and locate the ball right away and we never did that.”
Failing to get back on defense and properly rotating when the defense was in place was a constant weakness for McHenry against Palatine. Ultimately the Warriors’ struggle to adjust defensively contributed to the Indians scoring 17 points in the third quarter.
“It’s just the little things that are killing us right now, and that’s not growing pains,” Morris said. “That’s just not understanding what we’re trying to do out there.”
McHenry tied the game at 12 in the second quarter after two layups by sophomore forward McKayla Sneddker. But the Warriors’ failure to score in the final five minutes of the quarter gave the momentum back to Palatine. Consecutive 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions midway through the second put Palatine back in control helping the Pirates take a 20-12 lead into halftime.
“We talked about trying to slow their point guard, and we control the tempo of the game,” Palatine coach Mark Johnson said. “That’s one of our things, we want to control the tempo. I felt like their point guard was getting over half court too soon so we just tried to slow her down and I think it paid off.”
The Warriors certainly had their chances to take the lead in the second instead of finding themselves in an eight-point hole at the half. McHenry missed putbacks in the paint and open looks as they efficiently moved the ball against Palatine’s defense.
Six first-half turnovers didn’t the Warriors, either.
Palatine (3-2) struggled to stop Sneddker when the Warriors were able to get her the ball inside.
Sneddker finished with 11 points and accounted for seven of McHenry’s 12 points in the first half. Abby Ross added six points off the bench for McHenry.
“They added more ball pressure and tried doubling down on me, which made it harder for the guards to get the ball into me,” Sneddker said of Palatine’s second-half adjustments. “ ... I was open a lot, but what are you going to do? It was hard getting it in to me.”