Improving Prairie Ridge tops Cary-Grove
Prairie Ridge, which had shot well in the first half and made five 3-pointers, cooled off in the third quarter, allowing Cary-Grove to creep closer.
The Wolves stuck with their tough man-to-man defense and solved their shooting woes in the best way possible, with a couple more 3s.
James Muse nailed a 3 with 1:54 remaining in the third quarter, then Cade Collins hit one from the left corner with 20 seconds to go, pushing the lead from seven back to 13.
That provided enough cushion for Prairie Ridge to hold off C-G, 46-39, in their Fox Valley Conference boys basketball game Tuesday night.
The Trojans made a run in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to five points three times, but could not get closer.
"At the beginning of the third we settled for some jumpers and we weren't really working for great shots," Wolves coach Ryan Smith said. "We talked about running through our actions until we got a layup. We talked about running through our actions until we got a drive into the lane. We were a little more patient and wound up with two open 3s."
Muse led Prairie Ridge (10-8, 4-5 FVC) with 13 points and 10 rebounds, Collins added 10 points with a pair of 3s.
"Those were just in the rhythm of our offense," Muse said. "They came out in man in the second half and we were able to get in our sets, drive and kick and get open 3s.
"We've been in this position before and sometimes teams have taken the lead on us. We all huddled up and had to make the right decisions. We still had to score, there was 3 minutes left. That was our mindset."
C-G (8-11, 3-5) hit 24.1% (7 of 29) for the first three quarters, but warmed up in the fourth. However, every time the Trojans cut it to five, Prairie Ridge had an answer.
Zach Bauer got a layup to make it 40-35, but Collins came back with a tip-in. C-G's John Mau scored inside, but Mason Loucks hit a pair of free throws for the Wolves.
"We've put together a good little three-game stretch," Smith said. "We talked about our energy on the floor, our energy on the bench and getting back to having fun again. We put two good games together against Jacobs on Friday, kept the momentum rolling yesterday at Elk Grove and to get one back on our home floor today.
"There's still some areas where we can clean up, but the difference was we were able to maintain that lead through a couple of mistakes and find ways to grind things out. Our energy on and off the floor, everybody was more engaged today."
Prairie Ridge, which has won seven of its last nine, played strong defense the whole game.
"We've played good defense all year," Collins said. "We played good help-side and it's hard for teams to drive and get open shots. I feel like we're everywhere. We kept moving the ball (at the end) and we made sure we played good defense to stop their run."
Prairie Ridge jumped out with a 16-7 first quarter and never trailed in the game. Bauer led C-G with 13 points and Mike Clarke added 10.
"I'm disappointed with giving up nine points off of offensive rebounds in the first half," Trojans coach Adam McCloud said "They got three offensive rebounds that they ended up getting 3s off of.
"We had good looks, we had good shots. We missed a couple easy ones. If we get some of those and take away their offensive rebounds I feel like we're even or ahead. But when they get nine extra points and we don't score inside, now you're talking 10 at halftime."