Cary-Grove falls just short against Loyola in 3 OTs

Updated 12/23/2021 8:44 PM

Cary-Grove figured if it was Jacobs' Hinkle Holiday Classic, it belonged in the championship bracket, regardless of who was wearing the navy and white uniforms.

"We've played really hard in this tournament," Trojans center Zach Bauer said. "The last time we were here, the program was determined to win it all. We kind of want to prove ourselves that it's a whole program thing, not just one team. It's a winning program type thing."


C-G was tantalizingly close to advancing to the championship before falling short against Loyola, 57-53, in a triple-overtime Pool II game Thursday that sends the Ramblers into the championship bracket against Larkin at 6 p.m. Monday.

The Trojans (7-5) will meet Waubonsie Valley at 3 p.m. Monday in a Consolation A semifinal.

"We've played some big games here, right?" C-G coach Adam McCloud said. "We were kind of looking for that signature win, a signature moment. I feel like even though we lost, we kind of got it. I'm proud of the guys. We proved to a lot of people at this tournament that we can play, we can compete."

C-G had the ball for the final possession of regulation and Jake Hornok's 3-point shot missed. The teams both went scoreless through the first overtime, then both scored 4 points in the second.

Loyola's Oliver Bishop hit his only basket of the game, a 3, to start the third overtime period and the Ramblers maintained the lead the rest of the way.

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Alex Engro led Loyola with 18 points, Miles Boland added 17. Bauer led all players with 20 points and Mike Clarke had 10 for the Trojans.

Loyola coach Tom Livatino was frustrated at his team's free-throw shooting (6 of 14 from the fourth quarter on), but liked what he saw on defense.

"It clearly was not free throws," Livatino said, when asked what made the difference. "We got stops down the stretch and we were able to score enough. It's a good win. We've played some really good teams and they're right there at the top.

"We have nothing but respect for the Cary-Grove team. That's a really good team. They play with tremendous toughness. I was really, really impressed. That No. 1 (Clarke) is a stud and No. 20 (Bauer) dominated us. They're a really good team."

Clarke hit a 3 for a 45-40 lead with 5:42 to go in the fourth quarter, but the Trojans did not score again until the second overtime. There, Clarke drove to the basket for a layup, but C-G could not close it out.


Clarke caught an elbow with his lower lip and was headed to the hospital, likely to get stitches, after the game.

"It was a cool experience," Clarke said. "Loyola's a really good team, we battled really well. We battled adversity throughout the game. We made plays and we didn't get the outcome we wanted, but I'm proud of the way our team battled."

Former C-G stars Frank Jakubicek (NCAA Division I Belmont) and Beau Frericks (D-II Lewis) were in the crowd to watch the Trojans. Those two led C-G to the championship in 2018 and to a runner-up finish in 2019.

"We've played really well, a four-game winning streak before today," Clarke said. "We've turned it into a winning program. We wanted to get into that championship bracket and came up a little short, but that'll put a chip on our shoulder for the second half of the season."

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