2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 11/19/2013 10:59 PM

Cary-Grove has its way with Hampshire

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By Steve Nichols

Cary-Grove girls basketball coach Rod Saffert couldn't remember the last time his team scored 65 points in a game.

More importantly, he couldn't remember the last time nine of his players found their way into the scoring column in a single game.

That is the kind of effort Saffert wants, and if he receives those contributions throughout the season as was the case Tuesday night in C-G's 65-30 thumping of Hampshire in the season opener in Cary, the Trojans again will be stiff competition for anybody inside or outside the Fox Valley Conference.

Katie Barker led all scorers with 21 points in FVC crossover action, while Candace Cunningham added 12 off the bench and two other Trojans had at least 7 points.

Cary-Grove's starters combined for 34 points while the bench was as productive, pouring in 31 as the team almost made more shots than Hampshire attempted (27 to 29). C-G raced out to an early 17-4 first quarter lead and never looked back, which spoiled the debut of Whip-Purs' head coach Mike Featherly.

"Since we're playing all 13 kids, we're bringing in five at a time throughout the game this year. They all can do things," said Saffert. "Each one of them put up 2, 4 (points) and your main scorers put up what they put up. It's tough to play and tough to defend."

So was Barker. After missing 4 of her first 5 shots the junior, who tore her right meniscus during the first practice of last season, hit 7 of her next 8 shots, including three 3-pointers in that span that stretched into the third quarter. Barker finished 8-for-15 from the field with 4 rebounds and 3 steals.

Saffert said Barker's game has changed phenomenally from last year to this year and Barker attributed her work from over the summer and her AAU team.

"This summer I put a lot of work in and was in the gym almost all day from 9:30 in the morning to 4 (in the afternoon), " said Barker. "I took a lot of shots this summer to get better."

Her teammates took a lot as well, as C-G chucked 53 and hit on a 50.9 percent clip. But the Trojans' calling card remains to be defense as their press helped account for most of the Whip-Purs' 30 turnovers. Twenty were steals alone, led by Cunningham's 6, and Cary-Grove outrebounded the Whips 28-14. Hampshire had just 15 shot attempts in the first half.

The Whips put together better quarters in the second half as Sara Finn led the way with 8 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists and 6-foot 2 sophomore Emma Benoit added 7 points, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks. There's no panic to Featherly, but there is much to work on.

"It's the first game, first game as a head coach, there's a learning curve," said Featherly, whose team never led. "I didn't know what to expect and Cary-Grove did a nice job. I was a little curious how we would measure up against a program like Cary-Grove and we've got some work to do."

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