Cary-Grove edges Waubonsie Valley for 1st Hinkle crown
Cary-Grove coach Adam McCloud could finally breathe a little easier.
McCloud's Trojans staved off a valiant second-half rally by Waubonsie Valley to win the Hinkle Holiday Classic hosted by Jacobs 55-50 Saturday night in Algonquin.
It is the first time Cary-Grove has won the classic and the first time in tournament history a 1-loss team has claimed the top prize. Cary-Grove (11-4) was 4-1 overall and 2-1 in pool play losing to Rockford Jefferson.
"I am so incredibly proud of the kids and the program," said McCloud. "We played a great first half but we knew they (Waubonsie Valley) would make a run at us in the second half. We knew it would be a game of ups and downs. Our guys, like they have all season, kept their composure and got the win."
The Trojans played close to a flawless first half leading the Warriors (12-2) 35-22 after 16 minutes of play.
The Trojans, 15-of-20 from the field in the first half for 75 percent, committed only 3 turnovers.
Beau Frericks led the Trojans with 14 first-half points while Frank Jakubicek scored 7 with 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
"We came out with great intensity and focus in the first half," said McCloud. "We really moved the ball well on offense. Beau hit some big shots and Frank did a great job of posting up. We played a great half offensively and defensively."
Led by a pair of 3-pointers by Marcus Cannon, who didn't score in the first half, the Warriors sliced the Trojans' lead to 35-28 with only a minute and 30 seconds elapsed in the third.
With Caymen Woods adding 6 points, the Warriors outscored the Trojans 17-10 in the third quarter and trailed only 45-39 after three quarters.
The Warriors were finally able to tie the game at 47 on Cannon's fourth 3 of the game with 1:45 remaining.
A key basket in the lane by Jakubicek and 2 crucial free throws by Clark Cunningham propelled the Trojans to victory and the Hinkle Holiday Classic title.
Frericks, 9-of-11 from the free-throw line, led the Trojans with 21 points while Jakubicek scored 14 with a 3, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocked shots.
"One of our major goals was to win the tournament," said Jakubicek. "It is an awesome feeling and we are super excited. We scouted them and knew they would be tough."
Nikhil Khanna led the Warriors with 13 including a pair of treys and Cannon scored all his 12 points on four 3s in the second half.
"Cary-Grove shot lights out in the first half," said Waubonsie Valley coach Jason Mead. "In the first half for us, if something could go wrong it did. I like the way we handled adversity and battled back in the second half. We just ran out of gas."