Cary-Grove's confidence continues growing in win over Jacobs

Cary-Grove came up short in a tense game against Hampshire Tuesday, with the Trojans' final shot of regulation blocked by the Whip-Purs in an eventual two-point loss in overtime.

Despite the loss, C-G took away a lot of positives.

A year ago, the Trojans had trouble keeping up with the Whips, last year's Fox Valley Conference runner-up, in a pair of double-digit losses.

"We had a look at the end, and they made a great play," C-G coach Anthony Moretti said. "They made one more play than us. But what I think it did was build confidence and it showed our girls that they can play with anybody. That was the biggest thing. While we lost the game, we gained a lot of confidence."

Cary-Grove's confidence was on full display Friday as the Trojans ran away with a 50-16 win against Jacobs in their FVC game.

Eight players scored for C-G, which improved to 6-2 and 2-2 in conference play.

Junior forward Ellie Mjaanes led C-G with 13 points, senior guard Emily Larry had nine points, six rebounds, two steals and two assists, and senior guard Kayli McMorris had seven points.

Sophomore Kennedy Manning recorded eight points and three steals, and senior Katelyn Gitzke had five points off the bench and made the Trojans' only 3-pointer.

"I love where we're at right now," Moretti said. "I feel like there's a different energy this year. We were young last year, but young isn't an excuse. We've gotten better through a lot of hard work. Our motto every day is, 'Get better every day.' "

Larry helped get the Trojans rolling with tough defense and timely shots. She had two steals in the first quarter and scored the final six points of the quarter - all in the last 40 seconds. She made two free throws, a layup and added a steal and score right before the first-quarter buzzer.

The Trojans' pressure defense forced 28 turnovers, while they turned the ball over only seven times themselves.

"Our team defense has been getting better each day," Larry said. "I think we've been playing great so far. We've been very consistent, especially in practices. This year, we're hoping to win the conference, and we want to win a regional.

"Our passing has been good. We're seeing each other really well."

Moretti said Larry has been important to the Trojans' early-season success.

"When she plays within her game, she's as good as any player in the conference," Moretti said. "Tonight, she was passing the ball great, she was moving it, and she did everything the right way. As a team, that's what we needed. We started slow and we needed Emily to get us going. It all starts with defense. We were able to establish some energy on defense."

Jacobs fell to 2-6 and 1-3 in the FVC with the loss.

Sophomore guard Zara Lewis led the Eagles with four points, and juniors Sophia Acot and Amber Rasool had three points apiece.

Jacobs lost junior guard Mikayla Weel - one of team's leading scorers - to a knee injury only three minutes into the first quarter. Weel suffered a torn ACL in her first game last year and ended up missing the rest of the year.

Weel was on crutches after Friday's game.

"We'll get her checked out and see where she's at," Jacobs coach Jonathon Reibel said. "It's something that's been kind of occurring throughout the season, and we're being very watchful of her. It's been the third game in a row she's had to deal with it."

Reibel said the Eagles, who earned its first FVC win last week against McHenry, need to start playing with a more consistent effort.

"Our defensive abilities to stop the drive and rebound are there when we're confident and moving together," Reibel said. "It's just trying to put all the pieces together for four quarters. Right now, we're only doing it for one."

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