BURLINGTON – Most teams would like the luxury of a bye into the regional semifinals rather than have to play three games en route to a regional title.
But after Kaneland’s game against Rochelle on Thursday was canceled and having not played a game in a week, the Knights didn’t seem to mind getting back on the court for Tuesday’s Class 3A Burlington Central Regional quarterfinal.
Buoyed by six 3-pointers from senior guard Allyson O’Herron, Kaneland jumped out to an early lead and dominated Sandwich, 50-14. The Knights advance to play No. 2 seed Plano in the regional semifinals today at 7:30 p.m. No. 1 Burlington Central will host No. 5 Hampshire, which defeated Sycamore, 51-43, in Tuesday’s other quarterfinal, at 6 p.m.
“It was nice to have a game to kind of get back in the swing of things because we hadn’t played in a while,” O’Herron said.
While Kaneland struggled offensively in the early going, the Knights’ defense was unrelenting. They held Sandwich to only two made field goals in the first half as the Indians shot a mere 2-for-14 from the field. O’Herron provided the spark for Kaneland, knocking down three three-pointers in the first half, including one off a nice feed from Brooke Harner to put Kaneland up, 15-2.
“We’ve played pretty solid defensively all year, even in games we’ve lost,” Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe said. “We try to stay disciplined with our offense and create havoc with our defense.”
It was more of the same in the third quarter as O’Herron opened the second-half scoring with a three and Ashley Prost made back-to-back baskets to put the Knights up by 24. O’Herron would cap her night with consecutive threes early in the fourth quarter before Colombe benched his starters for the last six minutes of the game.
“Any time a team’s in the zone, I know I’m going to get some open looks and when I feel it I feel it,” O’Herron said. “Any shooter is going to say that.”
O’Herron finished with 20 points to lead the Knights. Caroline Heimerdinger had 10 points off the bench.
Although Kaneland hasn’t faced Plano this season, Colombe said the Knights have scouted them six or seven times.
“We know they’re talented, they have some good athletes,” Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe said. “We’ll have to play well [today].”
Kaneland 50, Sandwich 14
Hampshire 51, Sycamore 43
Burlington Central vs. Hampshire, 6 p.m.
Kaneland vs. Plano, 7:30 p.m.
Friday’s championship game
Today’s winners, 7:30 p.m.