CARY – With her team trailing by one point after the first quarter, Cary-Grove’s Bailey Steinkamp took matters into her own hands. Most of the time, Huntley couldn’t keep up with the 5-foot-7 junior, who converted four of five shots in the second quarter and had a hand in plenty more.
“Everybody goes after [senior Katie Sowa], so we knew Huntley was going to come out and double and triple team her,” Trojans coach Rod Saffert said. “They were so concerned with her that Bailey had opportunities.
“She did a great job of pushing the ball on the fast break, which was good because we haven’t done that in awhile. Bailey really set the tempo for us.”
Steinkamp finished the second quarter with 11 of her game-high 15 points, also pitching in two assists and two 3-pointers over the eight minutes of dominance for the Trojans, who went on a 23-2 run against Huntley to close out the first half.
The Trojans never trailed again in a 48-37 Fox Valley Conference matchup of two teams with a combined nine FVC titles since the start of 2010.
C-G won FVC Valley titles from 2010 to 2013; Huntley won the FVC Valley from 2014 to 2016 and shared the conference championship last year with C-G, Dundee-Crown and Hampshire.
Cary-Grove outscored the Red Raiders, 19-2, in the second quarter, holding Huntley to 1-of-11 shooting while making 7 of 12 shots from the field. Huntley turned over the ball 14 times in the first half.
“Once we were able to slow down offensively and take the shots that we needed, it was a lot better in the second quarter,” Steinkamp said. “I just wanted to make sure that we limited the turnovers because that’s something we’ve been having a problem with lately.
“We were just making sure that we weren’t out of position and staying in control. We started off strong, and we’ve hit some bumps in the road, but we need to keep practicing hard and making sure that we stay consistent throughout four quarters.”
Steinkamp had a hand in eight of the Trojans’ first 11 points of the second quarter. She hauled in a defensive rebound on one end of the court midway through the quarter and quickly pushed the ball in transition, finding Sowa cutting to the basket for an easy layup and a 17-9 lead.
On her team’s next offensive possession, Steinkamp drilled one of her two 3s of the quarter to give her team a 20-9 lead. She ended the half with a corner three seconds before the buzzer for a 27-11 advantage.
C-G held Huntley (1-6, 0-3 FVC) scoreless in the quarter until freshman guard Raquel Radermacher made a jumper with 2:20 remaining.
“Cary-Grove is too good of a team for us to dig ourselves that big of a hole,” said Huntley coach Steve Raethz, whose team responded with 26 points in the second half. “To [C-G’s] credit, they tightened up their pressure defensively. I thought a really big key for us was our lack of conversion on the defensive end. They got a lot of baskets over the top on us tonight.”
The Raiders held C-G (5-4, 2-2 FVC) to 12 and nine points in the third and fourth quarter, respectively, but were unable to get any closer than 11 points.
“We honestly didn’t really run everything correctly today,” said Sowa, who is eighth all-time on the Trojans’ scoring list with 1,040 points. “We get off to slow starts, and it kind of hurts us a little. But we’re able to come back and get our intensity up. In that second quarter, we reacted a lot better.”
Radermacher scored 11 points with two 3s to lead Huntley, Anna Seng made two 3s for six points, and Kamsi Nwogu (eight rebounds, one block) also finished with six points in the defeat. Briana Bower added five points and a 3.
Abby Getka was 5 of 6 shooting for 10 points for the Trojans, Sowa had nine points and two 3s, Elsa Larry had seven points, and point guard Maddie Jannusch added five points in the victory.