CARPENTERSVILLE — Sara Mickow and Carly Nolan are fresh off a fourth-place state volleyball run and, as a result have spent just two days with the Crystal Lake South girls basketball team.
But even as the coaching staff is slowly working the starters into their normal in-season minutes, the Gators (2-0) are off to a strong start to the season after a 51-31 win over Streamwood Wednesday at the Dundee-Crown basketball tournament.
"You really can't start any better than this," coach Kyle McCaughn said.
On Wednesday, Mickow delivered 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds, effectively controlling the low-post in limited minutes. Nolan scored four on 2 of 5 shooting while playing stellar defense.
McCaughn noted that Mickow, a three-year starter, benefitted from being in the program in years past and has basically been able to pick up where she left off.
"She's quite a presence on the court," McCaughn said, "but we're getting [Carly and Sara] back slow. We don't want to kill them early. We know we're going to need them down the stretch and as we get reps with them we'll grow as a team."
Though the Gators are still working in two of their starters, the team didn't miss a beat defensively. Less than four minutes had ticked off in Wednesday's game against Streamwood when the Gators shifted into a full court press.
The aggressive Gators pressured the Sabres into two backcourt violations to go along with four turnovers with the press on and South took advantage
"We got some easy baskets and we scored easy out of [the press] so from that aspect our offense was triggered by our defense when we can get into that press," McCaughn said. "Sometimes we throw it on early because we feel like we want to take them out of their rhythm."
Added Mickow: "I think that, being so successful in volleyball, me and Carly now know what it feels like to have such a successful season and we want that to carry over to the basketball season as well."
Palatine 59, Jacobs 43: At Carpentersville, Jacobs' strong second half couldn't undo a tough first half that featured offensive and defensive struggles.
The Golden Eagles started Wednesday's game against Palatine ice cold after shooting just 4 of 24 in the first half. The slow start have Palatine a 19-point lead at halftime and the deficit proved to be too much for the Golden Eagles (1-1) to overcome in a 59-43 loss to their Mid Suburban League opponent in the first game of the Dundee-Crown basketball tournament.
"We talked to the kids at the half about bouncing back strong and coming out and playing better defense," Jacobs coach Joe Benoit said. "The first half [Palatine] pretty much shredded us."
Palatine shot 14 of 28 from the field in the first half but a rededicated Jacobs defense showed up in the second half and forced turnovers and allowed Palatine nothing easy. Jacobs outscored its opponent 27-24 in the second half. The difference in play was bolstered by strong performances from Glenita Williams — who scored six of her seven points in the second half — and Tiffany Frighetto who added two 3-pointers in the half.
"I'm really pleased with our girls' effort in the second half," Benoit said. "We didn't come out and start the way we wanted to and that's something that we need to practice and adjust."
St. Viator 60, Dundee-Crown 37: At Carpentersville, the new hand-checking rule this season aims for a cleaner game with less contact but it might take awhile for some teams to adjust to the new style of play.
Dundee-Crown sent St. Viator to the line 16 times in the first half and the Lions capitalized by scoring 13 points off the trips to the line. Meanwhile, the Chargers (0-2) scored just 13 points in the first half in a 60-37 loss.
The game didn't have much rhythm to it with all the fouls, 36 in total, which dampened the Chargers attempt at a comeback.
"I think every team is trying to get used to it," Chargers coach Sarah MIller said of the new hand-checking rules. "But the bottom line is we're trying to play hands off anyways and our girls didn't do a good job of that tonight.
"We dug ourselves into a hole and we weren't able to battle back."
St. Viator found itself in foul trouble as well but the Chargers couldn't take advantage as they shot just 10 of 23 from the line. Senior Emily Michalski played well in the low-post and had 13 points, 10 of which came in the second half.
Huntley 52, South Elgin 46: At Huntley, a six-point third quarter left Huntley looking at a, 35-31, deficit heading into the final eight minutes against South Elgin.
The Red Raiders, playing on their home court, responded by going 12 of 16 from the free-throw line and scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to get a first round win.
Sam Andrews went 6-8 from the line and scored 12 points and Kayla Barreto knocked down three 3-pointers and finished with 12 to lead the Red Raiders (2-0). Also for Huntley, Bethany Zornow and Ali Andrews both scored nine points.
Hononegah 57, McHenry 33: At Huntley, McHenry could not compete with a 15-for-27 shooting day from the behind the arc for Hononegah, as the Warriors lost for the second time in two nights.
Sawyer Lay led all scorers for the Warriors (0-2) with 11 points including three three-pointers. Carly Mattson went 5-5 from the line and finished with 10 points for McHenry. McKayla Snedeker added four points.
The Warriors attempted to change things defensively throughout the game, but the Indians didn't let up. Hononegah finished with two players contributing four three-pointers in the win.