Photo: Kaneland’s Emma Bradford shows maximum effort toward the hoop during the 30-27 loss to Wheaton Academy on Monday. Photo by Ben Draper
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—The Lady Knights saw their regular season end on Thursday in Rochelle by a final of 61-52, and then with a 30-27 loss on Monday at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, Ill., saw their playoff quest come to an end.
With the 30-27 loss to Wheaton Academy in the St. Francis Regional, Kaneland’s season ended at 13-16, its best end mark since 2007. Wheaton Academy was set to face Montini Catholic on Wednesday at St. Francis High School as of press time.
But the opportunities seemed to be there for the taking. The problem was finishing those opportunities.
The Lady Knights, who also were eliminated by the Warriors four years ago, were just 10-for-50 from the field, and six-for-25 from the charity stripe.
Notwithstanding, the Lady Knights were still leading the hotly contested game in the fourth quarter, and led as late as two minutes, one second left in regulation.
“We were right there,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We’ve been shooting like 63 percent on the season for free throws, and we come in and go (six-for-25), it just seemed like the whole team was tense on their shots today. First half, I just thought it’s the jitters and we’ll get over it.”
The Lady Knights’ largest lead in the game was just four points, but took the lead late on an Evers foul shot, 26-25, with 121 ticks left to play.
Wheaton Academy then proceeded to make four consecutive free throws to take a 29-26 lead with 1:27 left. Two attempts at three-pointers went unsuccessful, but Emma Bradford eventually hit the back end of two foul shot attempts with 16.8 seconds left to cut the lead to two.
When Allyson Witt (15 points) hit the first of two shots with 13.1 ticks left to make it 30-27, KHS set the final possession in motion with a chance to tie to no avail.
In the early outset of the contest, Andie Strang’s three-pointer and an Alderman bucket gave Kaneland an early 8-4 lead before Wheaton Academy tied it at 8 before the end of the quarter. Bradford’s offensive putback with 2:49 left in the half gave KHS a 14-13 lead. However, Bradford’s shot would be the only one made out of 21 attempts from the second to third frames. Alderman’s basket with 2:30 left in the third broke the drought and brought KHS to within 17-16. A Strang foul shot tied the score before the end of the third at 19-all. The largest lead for the Lady Knights was 25-21 with 4:43 left, thanks to an Evers free throw.
Against Rochelle, KHS was paced by Kelly Evers’ 15 points and 10 from Emily Heimerdinger.
The sophomores concluded a remarkable campaign with a 48-43 win at Rochelle to finish at 25-1 and 10-0 in NIB-12 play. A balanced attack was led by Sarah Grams’ 10 points.
With the conclusion of the 2010-11 season, the best for KHS girls basketball in five years, the Kaneland program bids adieu to seniors Andie Strang, Kris Bowen, Emily Heimerdinger, Nicki Ott and Trinae Coachman.
“They were outstanding. A lot of kids wouldn’t have put the time in after winning five games a year ago. They not only put time in but they got better and made sure our younger kids did, as well,” Colombe said.