One night after a tough loss to unbeaten Rolling Meadows, Cary-Grove girls basketball coach Rod Saffert had a simple message for his team.
"I told them this can go one of two ways," Saffert said. "We could either go out and have Happy Thanksgiving at 3-2 or go the other way at 2-3."
For the Trojans, anyway, it will be a Happy Thanksgiving. Cary-Grove finished off the Lake Zurich Turkey Thriller with a 42-16 trouncing of Lakes to finish third in the tournament. Lakes fell to 2-3 and finished fourth overall.
"In the past, I used to get overly upset after losses like last night," Saffert said. "But I just told the girls that it was up to them how they wanted to see this end up and I thought they did a good job of putting last night behind them and playing the next game."
Cary-Grove had the rough loss to Meadows in the rearview mirror early in the second quarter thanks to a tough defense and an offense that ran smoothly through senior Olivia Jakubicek. She scored 9 of her game-best 17 points in the first half as Cary-Grove raced out to a 21-8 halftime lead.
"There is a reason why Olivia is such a great player, and that is because you won't find a more humble kid than her," Saffert said. "The look on her face is the same the whole game no matter what is happening out there."
Defensively, Cary-Grove shut down the Eagles' offense with a stifling 2-3 zone for which Lakes could not seem to find an answer. Cary-Grove held the Eagles without a field goal from the end of the first quarter until the 3:38 mark of third, when junior Samantha Ney broke the drought.
"We just didn't come out aggressive," said Lakes coach Pete Schneider. "We have good guards here -- players like Amanda Smith and Terese McMahon -- and yet they didn't attack the basket."
Lakes pulled close to end the first quarter on back-to-back baskets from McMahon (5 points) which brought the Eagles within 12-7. But Cary rattled off the next nine straight holding Lakes scoreless for the first sixminutes of the period to open up a 21-8 halftime advantage.
"Give Cary a lot of credit," Schneider said. "They came out and played a zone and we didn't attack the basket and when you don't do that against that kind of defense, you're dead."
The Trojans put the finishing touches on their third win of the young season with a long 3-pointer from Kylie Smith to open the third quarter. Cary-Grove built the lead to as big as 32-11 after three quarters.