Waubonsie Valley fends off Cary-Grove's comeback
Cary-Grove could not help but wonder what would have happened if the hole it faced against Waubonsie Valley had not been so deep.
The Trojans rallied back from a 14-point halftime deficit to cut Waubonsie Valley's lead to two with 2:30 remaining.
The Warriors came up with efficient possessions when they needed them most to put C-G away, 46-38, in their Consolation A bracket game Monday at Jacobs' Hinkle Holiday Classic.
Waubonsie Valley (8-5) will play South Elgin (7-8) at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday for the Consolation A bracket championship.
C-G (7-6) went the last 6:00 of the second quarter without a basket to fall behind 29-15. Trojans guard John Mau sparked a third-quarter surge with six points and four rebounds.
"We tried to run our offense and get it into the middle," said Mau, who led the Trojans with 12 points. "I was just playing as physical as I can and help us get back in the game. Then we'd have a chance, but we fell short."
Waubonsie Valley forward Tyler Helbing scored a team-high 12 points and was pleased to see the Warriors close out a game strong. C-G's Zach Bauer got a steal and layup to make it 40-38 with 2:30 remaining.
"We needed to control the ball," Helbing said. "We've had a little history of getting caught up to at the end and not closing out. We really wanted to close out and when we got the opportunity we moved the ball around."
The Warriors whipped the ball around against C-G's zone defense and found Shoi Rathi for a layup with 50 seconds to go. Eric Chtilianov finished it off with four free throws in the final 25 seconds.
Chtilianov missed one free throw after his first two makes, but with no other Warriors on the lane, got his own rebound, was fouled and made two more.
"We were up two and got that stop. They were bringing pressure and we made five direct passes and it was beautiful passes to finish (with Rathi)," Warriors coach Andrew Schweitzer said. "And I loved when Eric Chtilianov missed the free throw and got his own board. That's a guy that wants to win. I'm really happy with the way we finished."
C-G had an early lead, but Waubonsie Valley forced seven turnovers in the second quarter, as the Trojans went cold, hitting 1 of 8 field goals.
"We have these runs where we do that," Trojans coach Adam McCloud said. "If we could eliminate those, we'll be fine. Reality is we have very little prep time for something you don't see a lot (ball press) and we have to do a better job of knowing where to be and when to be there."
Schweitzer likes the progress the Warriors have made with their 1-2-2 ball press defense.
"These kids are still learning this defense," Schweitzer said. "It's a 1-2-2, but it morphs based on what the offense does. They're getting good at it. They're expecting different looks teams throw at us. What I love is they're communicating about what they're seeing and we're able to give some teams some trouble."
Mau and Zach Bauer helped lead C-G back into the game in the second half, each with eight points apiece. Bauer scored a game-high 14.
C-G meets Marian Central at noon Tuesday in their Consolation A game.