McHenry stops Lakes' streak at 3 in tourney semis
Three out of four isn't bad. Neither is three out of five.
Which didn't necessarily mean it was a good night for Lakes' girls basketball team.
"McHenry's a great team," coach Brian Phelan said after his Eagles lost to the host Warriors 54-42 in the championship-bracket semifinals of the Northern Illinois Holiday Classic at McHenry's West Campus on Monday.
"The scouting report was, 'Stop everybody.' "
The loss snapped a season-best three-game winning streak for Lakes (5-9), which has won three of four games in the tournament. While the Eagles stopped three of McHenry's starters from doing major damage on the offensive end, the other two starters, senior guard Aannah Interrante and senior post Liz Alsot, proved too much.
The Bradley-bound Interrante led all scorers with 22 points (three 3-pointers) on 9-of-19 shooting, while the 6-foot Alsot had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
McHenry (13-1) will play Crystal Lake Central (9-6) for the tournament championship at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Lakes also had a player notch a double-double, as 6-1 junior center Paule Ceneac had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Kylie Jozwik scored her 9 points on three 3s for the Eagles. Mia Edwards and Sara Smith each had 7 points.
"I think when we make our shots, we really get confident," Ceneac said. "That just gets the game going for all of us. When we don't make shots, everybody gets down on themselves."
The latter happened early for the Eagles. They missed their first 7 shots, dug a 15-7 hole after one quarter and trailed 25-12 at halftime, going just 5 of 27 from the floor. Interrante knocked down all three of her 3-pointers in the opening half and had 15 points.
"I thought we ran good offense early," Phelan said. "We had wide-open looks. I thought their guards played well on our guards. We struggled to get the physicality of McHenry."
Lakes has played its best basketball in December -- with an upset over Warren included -- and the Eagles showed resiliency after halftime. Down 15 points early in the third quarter, they manufactured a 14-4 run to pull within 31-26 on Ceneac's hook shot with 2:58 to go. Jozwik hit a pair of 3s.
"We made 2-3 tweaks on offense, and that opened up driving lanes," Phelan said. "Our rhythm was a little better due to our halftime adjustments."
"I think we went out there and just said, 'This isn't us. This isn't how we play. We can play with them,' " Ceneac said. "We just started making shots and playing together. We stopped being frustrated."
Lakes trailed 37-30 with less than a minute left in the third but then missed 4 free throws in a row. Izzy Gscheidle's 3-pointer in the closing seconds stretched McHenry's lead to 40-30.
The Eagles got as close as only nine points in the fourth, missing seven more free throws. For the game, they were just 6 of 21 from the line.
Lakes wraps up the tourney with a 4:30 p.m. game Tuesday against Crystal Lake South at McHenry.
"We saw the ball go through the hoop (the first three games)," Phelan said. "That's what we need to see."