Lukowski's 23 leads Cary-Grove past Hampshire
Emily Lukowski wanted to prove to herself that she could do better.
The Cary-Grove senior had one of her worst games when the Trojans lost to Jacobs on Tuesday night on a buzzer-beater, so Friday night at Hampshire, she wanted to prove that she could play better.
She left no doubt that she could.
Lukowski scored 23 points, 18 of which came in the second half, as she led the Trojans over the Whip-Purs, 53-37.
"It was one of the worst games in my life," Lukowski said of her game against Jacobs. "I just wanted to come back stronger and play how I know how I play, and I think I did."
Lukowski and C-G went to a different gear in the second half after leading 19-18 at the break. The Trojans missed some shots and free throws in the first half, but in the second half, they started attacking the basket more. C-G moved the ball around and found good looks in the basket, especially from Lukowski.
C-G (4-3, 1-1) started the third quarter on a 9-2 run and used that momentum to lead 34-26 at the end of three quarters. Hampshire made it a six-point game early in the fourth quarter but went on a 17-4 run to put the game away. The Trojans never trailed in the game.
Lukowski added seven rebounds to her 23 points. Avery Nielsen scored nine points and brought in five rebounds while Annika Nordin scored seven points and brought in 12 rebounds.
"We just needed to get the ball in the lane," C-G coach Tony Moretti said. "When we got the ball in the lane, then we were able to get our post open. That made a huge difference for us."
Avery Cartee led the way for the Whips (3-4, 0-2) with 15 points, while Kaityln Milison added nine points and 10 rebounds.
Hampshire coach Eric Samuelson was surprised with his players' effort after a strong game against Burlington Central on Wednesday night. The Whips failed to get to the basket, and the offense looked too stagnant for much of the game.
Samuelson said he was proud of the way Lia Saunders limited Lukowski in the first half and the rebounding performance from Milison, but he was disappointed with his players' lack of energy throughout the game.
"We didn't come to play, and that's really disappointing," Samuelson said. "We're really young and we acted like it tonight."
The Whips will get a quick chance to regroup when they take on Larkin on Monday, while the Trojans will play Huntley on Tuesday.
Moretti knows it will be tough uphill battle after losing the first conference game, but he believes his team is one of the best in the conference. With a performance like the one he had Friday, there might be little doubt that the Trojans can compete with anyone if they play at that level.
"I'm so proud of these kids tonight," Moretti said. "To come out and play the way that they did, after such a tough loss at the buzzer, I couldn't be prouder."