DeKALB – The DeKalb girls basketball team clawed back to within single digits of Kaneland on Tuesday night midway through the third quarter, and coach Tyler Bantz said he was thinking the Barbs might have been a break or two from getting even closer.
Instead, DeKalb didn't score over the next 8:57, the Knights scored 13 straight points, and the Barbs lost, 50-25, in a Northern Illinois Big 12 East battle.
Kaneland (17-2 , 5-1) pounced out to a 16-7 lead after one quarter and a 30-19 lead at the half over the Barbs (4-14, 1-5).
"The first half defensively wasn't spectacular in the first quarter, picked it up in the second quarter," Bantz said. "But the third quarter was great, and the fourth quarter we had to start taking some chances. The score I don't think was – at the middle or end of the third quarter it was a (nine)-point game. A couple breaks here, a couple breaks there, it's a single-digit game and we might have a chance to get back into it."
But the breaks stopped going the Barbs' way as they scored only six points in the second half. Rocky Mills made a layup with 4:42 left in the third quarter to cut the Kaneland lead to 32-23. Two minutes later, Jenni Weber hit a 3-pointer to end a four-minute scoring drought for the Knights, and the lead was never in single digits again.
Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe said his team was hampered early by foul trouble – he played nine players in the first half – and that disrupted the flow of the game early.
"We have a great group of kids and they play hard, but they're starting to understand in addition to playing hard, you have to do the small things, like calling out screens and making sure you're in good position on the weak side," Colombe said.
The Barbs shot 38.1 percent in the first half, but made only 3 of 19 shots (15.8 percent) in the second half. They finished the game shooting 27.5 percent.
Bantz said the poor shooting coupled with some execution problems hurt the offense.
"One, the shots just weren't falling, and two, they just took us out of stuff we wanted to do," Bantz said. "We didn't necessarily keep our calm. We tried to do some things we don't normally do. We had a lot of dribble-drives, and that's not something you want to do in a big crowd."
By the numbers: Weber led all scorers with 19. Mills and Sanaa Finner scored seven each to lead the Barbs. Mills had a game-high 10 rebounds, while Weber also led the Knights with nine rebounds and five steals.
Beyond the stats: Kaneland did not commit a turnover in the first quarter and finished the game with 13, while forcing the Barbs into 25 turnovers.
They said it: "We're pretty happy with the outcome," Colombe said. "They're a pretty scrappy team and we kept our composure. Third quarter wasn't really pretty. But we got into foul trouble and weathered the storm. ... I know they're struggling record-wise, but that's a team that can put some points up driving to the hoop. I thought we did a pretty good job, especially in the second half."
Up next: The Knights host Morris on Friday, while the Barbs start play in their home tournament with a 4:30 p.m. game Saturday against Rock Island, then play at 7:30 p.m. against Grant or Burlington Central.