Photo: Sarah Grams looks for someone to pass to in the third period of Kaneland’s Class 3A sectional title game against Belvidere North on Feb. 23 at Sycamore High School. Photo by John DiDonna
by Mike Slodki
SYCAMORE—Emotions on the faces of the Lady Knights as they came out of the game, one-by-one, told the story. It would prove to be a sad ending.
However, the Lady Knights basketball squad can be proud of the memories they forged in the most prolific season for the program since 2005-06, which came to an end on Thursday with a 43-31 loss to the Belvidere North Blue Thunder.
The Sycamore Sectional final concluded the season at 20-10, while Belvidere North’s season finally concluded at 23-10 with a 53-46 loss to Vernon Hills High School during Monday’s Elgin High School Super-Sectional.
Kaneland was buoyed by Ashley Prost and Kelly Evers, each with 11 points. Center Katie Dovenuehle had 12 points for the winners.
KHS was also nicked by a 5-for-12 night at the foul line, compared to 14-for-20 for BN.
“Belvidere North’s a good team,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “Defensively, we did some good things, but we had to start fouling at the end. I thought free throws hurt us tonight.”
Kaneland and the Blue Thunder were deadlocked at 7-7 after one frame. With a basket by Evers and a steal from Alli Liss leading to a lay-in by Allyson O’Herron, the Lady Knights were up 11-7 with 7:21 remaining in the second quarter.
However, BN’s offense and board attack showed dividends, and KHS found itself on the wrong end of an 8-0 run.
Down 18-12, Prost’s bucket with 28.4 remaining brought the halftime score to 18-14.
In the third, KHS enjoyed foul shots from Prost and a putback from Evers to tie the game at 22-22 with 2:59 to go, but that would be the last time Kaneland would sniff a lead.
Belvidere North went on a 9-0 run that went into the fourth quarter. The Blue Thunder were able to get to the foul line with frequency as the seconds ticked away. Sarah Grams and Prost found the net to close within 36-31 with 1:39 remaining, but the Blue Thunder hit seven-of-eight foul shots to close it out.
“Free throws sometimes deflate you, they hit a bunch at the end and their kids stepped up and that’s why they’re moving on,” Colombe said.
With a team that loses just two seniors, Kelly Evers and Liz Barnette, Kaneland has laid a winning foundation.
“The girls gave us everything they had all year. They enjoyed the atmosphere of the playoffs and got a lot of support from the school. They got a taste for it,” Colombe said.