Photo: Lexee Guerra battles for possession during Kaneland’s 43-36 win on Friday evening in Sycamore. Photo by John DiDonna
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Call it Rivalry Week.
The Lady Knights unit from Kaneland took to the court against familiar opponents in a new Northern Illinois Big XII setting, and split their two contests.
On Friday, KHS traveled to Sycamore and came away with a 43-36 win over the Spartans, while visiting DeKalb on Tuesday and falling 45-36.
With a 6-6 record and a 1-2 slate in NIB-12 action, the Lady Knights have already eclipsed their win total from the 2009-10 campaign in just 12 games.
Against their Spartan Trail foes, Kaneland was paced by post player Kelly Evers’ 10 points and Tesa Alderman’s nine points. KHS pulled down 32 boards, helped out by nine each from Evers and Nicki Ott. KHS was 15-for-57 from the field and 11-for-18 from the foul line.
Ashley Berlinski led Sycamore with 16 points.
A 9-8 lead at the end of the first frame grew to a 21-16 lead at the break before Sycamore closed within 31-28 after three.
With the score at 40-34, Andie Strang made three of four foul shots to ice matters.
The sophomores handled Sycamore in a 49-18 affair.
Against the Lady Barbs, Kaneland was 11-for-30 from the field and 12-for-20 from the charity stripe. Alderman was leading scorer with nine points, and also added four steals.
It was anything but smooth sailing for the Lady Knights, trailing from wire to wire and falling behind 17-5 at the end of the first eight minutes to a Lady Barbs outfit that has won 10 of its first 11.
DeKalb missed its first 10 shots and missed three foul shots, but continued its aggressive and physical play. Lexee Guerra layed a bucket in, followed shortly by an Alderman three to cut it to 17-10 with 5:25 left. DeKalb went on a 5-0 run to lead 24-10 at the break.
Things started picking up for the Lady Knights, as an Ott jumper from the top of the key, a basket by Evers and two free throws by Guerra closed Kaneland to within 29-22 before a Taylor White three-point attempt from beyond the half-court line went in at the buzzer, putting DHS up by 10.
“That didn’t help, that’s kind of how the game was going, but what can you do about that shot,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said.
The Lady Knights managed to cut it to 37-28 on an Emma Bradford basket with 4:38 to to, but the margin shrunk no further.
“We can’t struggle like that on offense in the first half. The other big thing (in the first half) was with three and a half minutes left we had them at six fouls, and we needed to get to the free throw line and stop the clock and we never got the seventh foul,” Colombe said.
The sophomore crew improved to 7-0 with a 40-23 win.
Kaneland’s next challenge is a NIB-12 crossover with the visiting Dixon Duchesses on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m.