CARY – As inefficient as Cary-Grove’s offense was in the first half against Prairie Ridge, it did provide something positive.
The Trojans, trailing by 10 at halftime, made adjustments of what had not worked, and guard Jason Gregoire took over from there.
Gregoire, who was 1 for 5 with two points in the first half, did not miss a field-goal attempt after the break. Gregoire’s 23 second-half points led C-G to a 47-38 Fox Valley Conference Valley Division victory Friday night at Elroy Fitzgerald Gymnasium.
Gregoire hit a 3-pointer 30 seconds into the third quarter, his first of five 3s in the second half. He hit four 3s and had a dunk for 14 third-quarter points.
“After I hit the first 3, it was kind of open season,” said Gregoire, a 6-foot-3 junior. “That really got my confidence up and it just raised our energy.
“We played a great second half as a team. We knew we could break [Prairie Ridge’s] zone, but we just needed to knock down the shots. I happened to be the guy who was knocking down the shots in the second half.”
Gregoire finished 8 of 12 from the field with a game-high 25 points. He and guard Tyler Szydlo (13 points) had all but nine of the total for C-G (12-9 overall, 5-3 FVC Valley).
“I’ve seen [Gregoire] enough times in practice, when he’s going to get on a roll,” Szydlo said. “He carried us in the third quarter.”
Trojans coach Ralph Schuetzle moved Szydlo inside in C-G’s four-out, one-in offense for the second half and got Gregoire to the left wing, one of his favorite spots to shoot. C-G made 5 of 19 field goals in the first half and was 10 of 12 in the second.
“We didn’t know where to put [Gregoire], he wasn’t getting many looks in the first half,” Schuetzle said. “Tyler’s so versatile, he can play the 5 or the 1. We have to give credit for Tyler’s ability to go inside and Jason got in the zone and he was kind of like ‘I’m taking this game over.’ [Gregoire] was outstanding.”
Prairie Ridge (12-10, 3-5) tied the score at 34-34 on Steven Ticknor’s 3 with 3:35 remaining, but Gregoire hit his last 3 with 3:05 to go and C-G led the rest of the way.
Wolves guard Michael Bradshaw hit five 3s and kept Prairie Ridge ahead through the third quarter with eight points. He finished with a team-high 19. The Wolves got eight from Bradshaw and six points from Jack Berg while building a 23-13 halftime lead.
“[Cary-Grove] just picked up their pressure a little bit and only gave us one shot [in the second half],” Prairie Ridge coach Corky Card said. “You have to find a way to scrap and get some other buckets when they’re playing good defense. If you don’t shoot the ball better than that, you better have 10 offensive rebounds.”
The Wolves hit 5 of 17 shots in the second half and were outrebounded, 12-6, by the Trojans.
“We went back to our [man-to-man] press to make them play a little faster,” Schuetzle said. “[Michael] Krich got a big steal and [Nick] Franz got a tip when they were trying to come back. Those were big turnovers.”