CARY – McHenry senior Ava Interrante scored on a putback to begin the second quarter, giving her team the lead over Cary-Grove for good and starting a furious run by the Warriors.
McHenry scored the first 12 points of the second quarter, and Interrante had a hand in the Warriors' last six field goals of the first half, making two 3-pointers, scoring on a fast-break layup and passing out three assists.
Interrante, an NCAA Division I Valparaiso commit, finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists as the Warriors beat Cary-Grove, 54-26, on Tuesday in their Fox Valley Conference game.
The Warriors did not score their first points until a 3 by junior guard Ashley Wachter with 2:55 to go in the first quarter. McHenry ended the first half with seven 3s. Interrante had three of them and finished with four.
"Ava played like a college basketball player today," McHenry coach Rob Niemic said. "At times, she's so fun to watch. You don't have to say anything to her. When you just let her play a little bit, she does things not many people can do. You saw some of those passes she threaded today."
The Warriors (16-3, 4-2 FVC) were playing their first game since a 61-49 loss to Burlington Central in the championship game of Boylan's Reindeer Games on Dec. 30.
"Once we started moving around on defense and getting our hands on balls, that allowed us to really play off each other," Interrante said. "I think that's when we play best. When we play off each other and play unselfish.
"I was just looking to help. I wanted to get the score up and help my team win. Inside-out 3s, Katie [Beyer] did a really good job of finding me."
Beyer, a 6-foot-1 forward, finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Wachter tossed in 11 points, including three 3s. Beyer, Marissa Hanley and Mariah Honea each knocked down a 3 for McHenry.
C-G (7-8, 0-6) only scored nine points in second half.
Paige Hoscheit finished with six points on two 3s to lead the Trojans. Lauren Passaglia had five points and five rebounds, and Emily Lukowski and Lauren Hamblen both scored four points.
McHenry finished with more 3s (10) than Cary-Grove made field goals (eight). The Warriors outscored the Trojans, 25-5, in the second quarter to take a 35-16 lead into the second half.
"We started off slow, but we knew if we just stuck to our game, we'd eventually get there," Wachter said. "We really put the pedal to the metal in the second, and we played really well.
"We always play better when we share the ball. When we're playing more connected and up-tempo, I feel like that's our best game."
Niemic, too, was proud of his players for playing unselfish basketball.
"I thought we shared it really well today," Niemic said. "There was a lot of pointing going on today. We talk about it all the time, pointing at your teammate if they make a good pass. That's just as important as the finish."
STAR OF THE GAME
Ava Interrante, McHenry, sr., G
Interrante scored a game-high 18 points with nine rebounds and five assists.
25: McHenry outscored Cary-Grove, 25-5, in the second quarter
AND ANOTHER THING ...
The game was scoreless until McHenry's Ashley Wachter hit a 3-pointer with 2:55 left in the first quarter.
McHenry 54, Cary-Grove 26
Interrante 6 2-2 18, Beyer 5 4-5 17, Wachter 4 0-0 11, Gasmann 1 0-0 2, Hanley 1 0-0 3, Honea 1 0-0 3. Totals: 19 6-7 54.
Passaglia 2 1-1 5, Hoscheit 2 0-0 6, Lukowski 1 2-2 4, Larry 1 0-0 2, Cruz 1 0-0 2, Nordin 1 0-0 3, Hamblen 0 4-4 4. Totals: 8 7-7 26.
McHenry 10 2517 2 – 54
Cary-Grove 11 5 4 6 – 26
3-point goals: McHenry 10 (Interrante 4, Wachter 3, Beyer, Honea, Hanley), Cary-Grove 3 (Hoscheit 2, Nordin). Total fouls: McHenry 15, Cary-Grove 12.