A coach could cobble together a pretty good lineup from the injured players unavailable for Saturday's matchup between Cary-Grove and Crystal Lake Central at the Jacobs boys basketball Holiday Classic.
The Trojans were missing 6-foot-2 senior forward Ryan Arquette, out for at least three more weeks with a broken bone in his foot, 6-2 junior forward Dean Lee (broken thumb) and 6-6 junior center Alex Crowley.
Cary-Grove didn't get any sympathy from the Tigers, who took the floor without 6-7 junior Kyle Fleck and 6-6 junior David Panicko due to ankle injuries.
"That's a lot of size sitting on the sideline in boots," CL Central coach Rich Czeslawski noted.
CL Central still had enough talent, particularly at the guard position, to distance itself from the Trojans in a 63-49 victory. The loss was the sixth straight for Cary-Grove (1-8).
CL Central (8-0) knocked off the Trojans for the second time in two weeks by converting turnovers into points. Cary-Grove committed 9 turnovers in the second quarter, which helped the Tigers expand their lead from 11-8 after eight minutes to 35-22 at halftime.
"We made an adjustment by clearing the floor and going flat, but the damage was done because of 9 turnovers in the second quarter," Cary-Grove coach Ralph Schuetzle said. "But our kids fought to the end. They made it respectable."
Cary-Grove senior Jake Bianchi scored 6 of his team-high 17 points in the third quarter to keep the Trojans within 54-37, but the diverse Tigers had too many weapons. Chase Cane drilled three 3-pointers en route to a 22-point performance, junior Corban Murphy had 16 points, junior Brad Knoeppel added 10 and senior forward Nick Decoster contributed 9.
"(Guard) Nick Marchetti and I wanted to use our quickness to see if we could cause turnovers, and that's what happened," Knoeppel said. "I still feel we haven't played to our full potential yet. We'll keep improving as the season goes on."
So will the Trojans, if their coach has anything to say about it.
"We just have to get healthy and make some adjustments over Christmas," Schuetzle said. "We're competitive, but we have to find a way to play close games and then we have to find a way to win games."