CARY – If Cary-Grove plans to remain among the Fox Valley Conference girls basketball elite, the Trojans understand that pressure defense and offensive balance have to factor into the equation.
The Trojans got plenty of both Tuesday night, swarming Jacobs enough not only to keep the Golden Eagles from getting into any semblance of offensive rhythm, but to also get a bevy of fast-break baskets in a runaway 56-29 Valley Division victory.
C-G spread the wealth offensively, as well, as nine of 10 Trojans players scored, paced by Olivia Jakubicek’s game-high 14 points. Even when coach Rod Saffert emptied his bench early in the fourth quarter with his team’s lead pushing 30 points, C-G’s reserves didn’t miss a beat.
And that’s just how the Trojans like it.
“We’re definitely going to need everyone on our team to look to score and to be a threat,” Jakubicek said. “We’ve talked about that – everyone is part of the team, so everyone needs to score.”
Scoring wasn’t an issue for the Trojans (7-4, 3-1 Valley), who built a 16-point lead by halftime, limiting Jacobs (0-12, 0-3) to six points in each of the first two quarters. Much of C-G’s point production came on the run as the Trojans’ defensive pressure frustrated the Golden Eagles’ guards, leading first to steals and then to easy baskets on the other end of the floor.
It was a pattern that continued throughout the night before Jacobs – led by Tiffany Frighetto and Jennifer Barnec, who each scored eight points – finally found ways to score in the third quarter.
But by then, it was much too late.
“It took us a while to kind of relax and be composed and be able to handle that pressure,” Jacobs coach Joe Benoit said. “They really did a nice job of turning up the pressure on us.”
That will continue to be the Trojans’ plan of attack, especially as they get deeper into conference play. Although C-G was able to take Jacobs out of what it wanted to do Tuesday night, Saffert already has told his team that the challenges are only going to get stiffer from here on out.
That will make all of the time Saffert spends preaching defense – and the drills that accompany the message – all worth it, especially for a team with very specific league championship goals in mind.
“[Defense] is why South is good, that’s why Huntley is good – the teams that can pressure are the ones that are going to make it tough,” Saffert said. “I don’t care what you’ve got offensively, you can’t run things if you’re struggling just to get the [offense] going.
“So that’s part of what we do.”