Desperation seemed to be the inspiration for Jacobs in its search for its first victory Saturday night.
The Golden Eagles were staring at a possible 0-5 start to the season when they came out for the second half of their Fox Valley Conference Valley Division boys basketball game with a 7-point deficit at Cary-Grove. But they came out with a different mentality for the final 16 minutes.
They took control on the boards, confidently got rolling offensively and as retiring head coach Jim Hinkle put it, went strictly "mano-a-mano" defensively. And scoring the final 9 points of a wild fourth quarter sent Jacobs (1-4, 1-1) to a much-needed 55-48 victory.
"Everyone got on it and really took up the challenge," Hinkle said after Jacobs overcame a 12-point second-quarter deficit.
"We just wanted to come out and attack," said 6-foot-4 senior Lake Ojo, who had 9 of his 10 rebounds and 9 of his 11 points in the second half. "We usually come out slow but we came out attacking and crashed the boards. We wanted to win tonight."
Jacobs' 21-7 second-half rebounding led to a 29-18 overall advantage. Its 13-for-23 shooting from the field after the break led to 51.2 percent (21-for-41) for the game.
But the Eagles' only turnover of the fourth quarter on a deflected inbound pass led to sophomore Jason Gregiore (17 points) finding Matt Motzel for a layup to put C-G (5-2, 0-1) up 48-46 with 2:26 left.
"It didn't bother us," Ojo said after Jacobs used a 10-point run for a 41-38 lead but saw it erased by the Trojans. "We knew we'd come out with the 'W.' We stayed aggressive, kept attacking and played good defense."
Will Schwerdtmann, who missed 7 of his first 8 shots before tying it at 46-46 with a tough lane drive, hit a 3 on the left side with 2:06 left to put Jacobs up 49-48.
"They stepped up and made some key 3s," said Cary coach Ralph Schuetzle. "That step-back 3 by (Schwerdtmann) was a tough shot."
Cary missed a pair of free throws at 1:29 to finish 9-for-20. Ojo then scored off a missed drive by Chrishawn Orange with 40 seconds left and reserve Blake Micel (8 points, 4 rebounds) sealed the victory with 4-for-4 free-throw shooting in the final 16.5 seconds.
"They hurt us on the glass with their length and athleticism," Schuetzle said. "Give them credit. They earned the win, they came back and hit tough shots and we kind of fizzled offensively."
Cary sizzled early with Gregiore hitting a pair of baseline jumpers and Tyler Szydlo hitting two of his three 3s in a 10-0 run for a 26-14 lead. Jacobs' senior Nick Ledinsky also had a hot hand with 16 points on 8-for-10 shooting even though Hinkle yanked his starting five for a three-minute stretch in the first quarter.
"They started off on fire and we needed a wake-up call early in the game," Ledinsky said. "We played well after that."
Senior guard Patrick Nerja also played some valuable minutes off the bench and scored 5 points.
"I didn't think our defense was terrible in the first half but I thought our defense in the second half stepped up," Hinkle said. "It was a real gutsy comeback."