MAPLE PARK – Like most of her kin, Kaneland junior forward Ally VanBogaert answers to the nickname “Bogey.”
For the first 16 minutes of Tuesday’s Northern Illinois Big 12 East girls basketball game against Rochelle, VanBogaert would have preferred to hear “mulligan” instead.
VanBogaert missed each of her first-half field goal attempts as the Knights sloughed to a tie at the break. By the time Kaneland emerged with a 44-38 victory, however, VanBogaert boasted the hot hand and the key shot – a 3-pointer midway through the final quarter that provided precious breathing room.
“My confidence inside, I knew I could do it,” VanBogaert said. “After missing all those shots, I had to pick myself back up. I had to make some.”
Kaneland (4-4, 1-1 NI Big 12 East) snapped a two-game skid by holding off a game effort from Rochelle (4-5, 1-1).
With Hubs forwards Ally Gould (13 points, 12 rebounds) and Lauren Murphy (12 points) playing effectively in the paint, the Knights worked to make even the slightest difference down low.
VanBogaert did her part with 11 rebounds, while senior center Kelly Wallner added 10 points and seven boards.
Wallner had four of her points at the free-throw line, including three in the final 21.6 seconds that iced the game.
“I was just focusing on what I do in practice,” Wallner said. “My coach [Ernie Colombe] tells me just keep your shot the same. Don’t worry about the score, worry about the free throw. So that’s what I was doing.”
The Knights grabbed their first home win in three tries behind a balanced attack that included VanBogaert (seven points), point guard Caroline Heimerdinger (seven) and shooting guard Amber Winquist-Bailey (six). This time, the Knights brought the defense to match.
Kaneland charged to a 21-point first quarter in Saturday’s matinee loss to Antioch before stumbling to score 25 points the rest of the game against the Sequoits.
That combo proved especially frustrating given Colombe’s early outlook for a team that seemed more offensive-minded than past groups. Remaining consistent is an overarching goal each season, and with a 10-day layoff facing the Knights before their opener in the Ottawa Tournament, the concern isn’t going away.
“Just go hard at practice and work every day,” VanBogaert said.
Rochelle finished 15 of 41 (37 percent) from the field and was 8 for 16 from the line. Kaneland’s 10-for-19 free-throw effort effectively was a wash and its 30 percent showing from the field trailed the Hubs, but the Knights had two 3-pointers to Rochelle’s zero.
Something had to give in a physical matchup, right?
“The difference in the game was hitting shots,” Hubs coach Tony Rowan said. “We missed a lot of good opportunities where they made a lot of good opportunities.”
Van Bogaert, who scored the first four points of the second half as part of a 7-0 run, especially likes that last part.
“I think this is good that we went through that,” she said. “It builds us up.”