CARY – Cary-Grove senior Katie Sowa has been a part of the past four Trojans girls basketball season openers. Monday's convincing 47-22 victory against Lakes in the first game of the Lake Zurich Thanksgiving Tournament was the best yet.
"This was the probably strongest first game we've had since I was here as a freshman," said Sowa, who scored a game-high 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting, also hitting the team's only 3-pointer.
"The whole team was in it. Everybody had their time to score."
Unlike in last year's tournament opener – a 49-35 win for Lakes – the Trojans played under control and handled the Eagles' defensive pressure much more effectively. C-G had 14 turnovers Monday (only six in the first half), while Lakes (0-1) committed 16 turnovers.
"We gave up 22 second-chance points last year on 19 turnovers," C-G coach Rod Saffert said. "That was our first goal. Just take care of the basketball. We got a little sloppy at the end, but it was good.
"I've been preaching that it can't just be about one kid. We've got a lot of kids that can play."
Senior Abby Getka, who also has been on varsity all four seasons, scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Maddie Jannusch added seven points with six rebounds, sinking 5 of 6 free throws, and Ally Raupp had six points off the bench. Raupp made all three of her field goal attempts.
"We played well as a team, and we were all talking," Getka said. "Our whole team has been vibing so far in practices, and that's really important. The first game is usually a mess, but we seemed to have it together. In the past, we've had one scorer in double figures and everyone else has been down. This year we have a lot more people willing to take the ball and score."
Six players scored in the second quarter for the Trojans, who built a 24-9 lead at halftime.
C-G scored the last nine points of the second quarter, sparked by a 3 from Sowa. Maddie Gorz, who led the Trojans with three assists, and Raupp came off the bench and knocked down back-to-back 10-footers on the baseline. Bailey Steinkamp (five points) later grabbed a defensive rebound and raced end to end for a layup to put the Trojans up by 15 points.
"It was really nice to see other people get in the game and contribute for us right away," said Sowa, who will play next year at NCAA Division-II University of Indianapolis. "We haven't really changed much from last year. We're just worried about one game at a time, and we'll be good."
Saffert said he thought the Trojans' defense set the tone Monday. C-G held the Eagles to single points in all four quarters. Center Paule Ceneac led Lakes with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Brittany Washington added six points. No other Lakes player had more than three points.
The Trojans shot 42.9 percent (18 of 42) from the field, and Lakes made 8 of 48 (16.7 percent).
So far, Saffert is encouraged by his team's all-around play.
"There were a lot of kids who did a lot of of cool things today," Saffert said. "The goal right now is to go 1-0 every day we're at this tournament and just see where we're at before we get started in conference."
STAR OF THE GAME
Katie Sowa, Cary-Grove, sr., F
The 6-foot forward led all players with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including the Trojans’ only 3-pointer, and grabbed eight rebounds in the season-opening win.
16.7: Shooting percentage for Lakes
AND ANOTHER THING …
The Trojans held Lakes to three points in the second quarter on 1-of-11 shooting. Lakes went 8:35 without a point between the second and third quarters.
Cary-Grove 47, Lakes 22
Lakes 6 3 7 6 – 22
Cary-Grove 11 13 11 12 – 47
Smith 1 0-0 3, Edwards 1 0-0 2, Jozwik 0 1-2 1, Washington 2 1-2 6, Ceneac 4 2-4 10. Totals: 8 4-8 22.
Sowa 6 2-2 15, Getka 4 2-2 10, Steinkamp 2 1-2 5, Jannusch 1 5-6 7, Larry 1 0-0 2, Gorz 1 0-0 2, Raupp 3 0-0 6. Totals: 18 10-12 47.
3-point goals: Lakes 2 (Smith, Washington), Cary-Grove 1 (Sowa). Total fouls: Lakes 10, Cary-Grove 9.