MAPLE PARK – Kaneland and DeKalb concluded their girls basketball season series within a week as a compromise between schedule flaws.
After Tuesday’s 38-22 loss to the Barbs, Knights coach Ernie Colombe didn’t dwell much on the lack of extension. Well, at least not the one on paper.
“They’re a team capable of making a run downstate,” Colombe said, “so we were happy holding them to 38 [points], but it’s not easy to score against them. We don’t have a lot of size to begin with, and I hate to put it out there, but it does kind of come into play. Because when you drive the lane it’s hard. We don’t have that 6-2, 6-2 to simulate in practice.”
Seven days removed from a 31-17 victory against their Northern Illinois Big 12 East rivals, the Barbs again out-defended the defensive-minded Knights.
DeKalb (14-1, 4-0 NI Big 12 East) exhausted its playbook, mixing full-court pressure with man-to-man and zone sets in the half-court.
Kaneland (8-4, 2-2) shot 8 for 30 (27 percent) and was held scoreless in the second quarter.
“We’re progressing on ‘D,’ we can tell,” Barbs senior forward Janay Wright said. “And we’re just trying to put this game out of the way so we can go on.”
Wright called the Knights “good competition” a handful of times after the game, noting they played physically and routinely kept the Barbs below their scoring average.
Kaneland’s defensive game is peskiness and depth. Its tallest starter is 5-9 senior forward Ashley Prost, who led the team with eight points.
“We see a lot of contrasts in styles, because a lot of our conference teams run pack-in man-to-mans or pack-in zones,” DeKalb coach Chris Davenport said. “Kaneland extended a little bit more than some of the other ones we’ve seen and they’re forcing us to shoot the basketball from the outside.”
Barbs centers Madelyne Johnson and Courtney Bemis, who both stand at least 6-1, helped clog the paint defensively while also moving the ball effectively around the perimeter.
DeKalb never trailed after Courtney Patrick’s 3 from the left wing provided an 8-5 advantage with 2:20 remaining in the first quarter. Kaneland shot just 15 percent in the first half.
A Marina Schaefer layup attempt in the final 30 seconds before halftime rimmed out before the Barbs essentially sealed the game with a Patrick score from the baseline. DeKalb led, 19-7, at the break after shooting 8 for 22 from the field and matching the Knights with 13 rebounds.
The Barbs’ Rachel Torres tallied nine of her game-high 14 points after halftime, and joined Brittney Patrick with two treys in the game. While the Knights often double-teamed DeKalb down low, the Barbs accommodated more often than not, shooting 5 for 12 from long range.
Kaneland trimmed the DeKalb lead to 19-12 when Emma Bradford split a pair of free throws with 6:06 left in the third quarter. Brittney Patrick (six points) responded with a three about 30 seconds later, and the Barbs’ advantage remained at double digits after that.
Sarah Grams was Kaneland’s second-leading scorer with five points.
“It was a good test for us,” Colombe said. “Overall, we’re pretty happy with the defense and we’re happy with the hustle and the effort. But we’ve got to find a way to hit shots.”