CRYSTAL LAKE – A day after winning the Lake Zurich Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Tournament title, Cary-Grove wanted to make sure it didn't have a letdown against Fox Valley Conference rival Prairie Ridge.
The Trojans accomplished that goal in a big way.
Red-hot C-G (19-2, 9-0 FVC) doubled up the Wolves, 68-34 on Tuesday night, and got a 15-point, eight-rebound effort from 6-foot-9 senior big man Frank Jakubicek.
He also had a pair of blocks, and four of his baskets were dunks, including a rim-rattling, one-hand slam midway through the third quarter that brought many of the fans on the visitors' side to their feet.
"Just win every day," Jakubicek said. "That's kind of our saying every day in practice. We're working as hard as we can to make ourselves better, and make the team better."
The Wolves (3-16, 0-9) kept things close for a large part of the first quarter, but the hot hand of Trojans senior guard Beau Frericks put an end to that. Frericks made five first-half 3-pointers and scored 21 of his game-high 25 points in the first half.
"Coach [Adam McCloud] always gives me the green light to shoot 3s if it's a good look, or if I'm feeling it." Frericks said. "I was kind of in that zone early-on. That's just kind of how the flow of the game went."
By halftime, the Trojans were up by 16 and didn't look back.
The Trojans got even better as the game went on. They were 11 for 14 from the field in the third quarter, and during that stretch, seven Trojans made baskets, including Clark Cunningham (six points), Trevor Beaugureau (six points) Michael Clarke, Drew Sepeczi and Drew Szydlo.
The Trojans, who were 21-8 last season, know that their success will come with a price the rest of the season – namely, having a target on their backs. C-G has now beaten every FVC team once midway through its conference schedule.
"The core of our team from last year is a year older and a year better," McCloud said. "That's the main reason we've improved. Better version of Frank [Jakubicek]. Better version of Beau. [Clark] Cunningham played every game last year and started. [Ryan] Weaver played every game last year.
"We have a really strong senior nucleus with a lot of leadership – smart guys who don't shy from the moment. And they have big aspirations. They've not gotten complacent yet. They know teams are gunning for them every time they step on the floor."
The Wolves got a team-best 12 points off the bench from senior Ryan Fist, who was 4 of 7 from 3-point range. Prairie Ridge's starters scored only 11 points, while its bench accounted for the remaining 23.
"We've been able to stay close for parts of games against some pretty good teams," Wolves coach Ryan Smith said. "The goal now is to learn how to sustain that momentum for longer stretches.
"We were within three of Huntley the other night near halftime. We cut it to one in the third quarter against Burlington Central. And tonight, we were within a basket late in the first. So we've got plenty of things to learn from and build off of."
STAR OF THE GAME
Beau Frericks, Cary-Grove, sr., G
Frericks was feeling it early, going 5 for 9 from 3-point range in the first half en route to a game-high 25 points. His season high is 35.
0: Fouls committed by the Trojans during the first half.
AND ANOTHER THING …
Cary-Grove dished out 15 assists and had seven steals.
Cary-Grove 68, Prairie Ridge 34
Cary-Grove 19 17 26 6 – 68
Prairie Ridge 13 7 8 6 – 34
Frericks 8 4-4 25, Jakubicek 7 0-0 15, Cunningham 2 2-4 6, Beaugureau 2 2-2 6, Szydlo 2 0-0 4, Berghoff 1 2-2 4, Weaver 1 0-0 2, Clarke 1 0-0 2, Sepeczi 1 0-0 2, O'Hara 0 2-2 2, Talkington 0 0-0 0, Pedersen 0 0-0 0, Mosack 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 12-14 68.
Prairie Ridge (34)
Fist 4 0-2 12, Empaces 1 2-4 5, Loucks 2 0-0 5, Lydon 2 0-0 4, Wolf 1 0-0 2, Goudschall 1 0-0 2, Hansen 1 0-1 2, Gablenz 1 0-0 2, Baser 0 0-0 0, Barr 0 0-0 0, Dodaro 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 2-7 34.
3-point field goals: Cary-Grove 6 (Frericks 5, Jakubicek), Prairie Ridge 6 (Fist 4, Loucks, Empaces).
Total team fouls: Prairie Ridge 9, Cary-Grove 6.
Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None