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Girls Basketball: Elana Wells scores 23, but Marengo hands Burlington first KRC loss

Marissa Knobloch scores 27 points to pace Indians 68-52

Burlington Central Rockets sophomore Elana Wells (3) drives the basket on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, at Burlington Central High School.
Burlington Central Rockets sophomore Elana Wells (3) drives the basket on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, at Burlington Central High School.

BURLINGTON – Marengo's Hannah Ritter is probably best known for her clutch hitting and smooth fielding on the softball field.

On Friday, the 5-foot-9 senior forward had an impact in Marengo's basketball game against Burlington Central in a very big way.

Ritter scored only four points but contributed nine rebounds, nine assists and eight blocks as the Indians handed Burlington Central a 68-52 loss in their Kishwaukee River Conference game.

Both Ritter and Indians coach Nick Rode were unaware of her almost triple-double.

"She tends to clean up a lot of mistakes," Rode said. "We've all told her, 'Hey Hannah, we want you to slide over and take a charge. You're not a shot blocker.' ... And she just continues to do her thing."

The win was even bigger for Marengo's KRC title chances. With the win, the Indians (18-5, 7-1) moved a half game behind the Rockets (15-7, 8-1), who were perfect in conference play going into Friday.

Indianapolis commit Marissa Knobloch, who had a game-high 27 points and hit three 3s, said the rivalry with Burlington is a nasty one. The Rockets defeated the Indians, 50-45, in their first KRC game this season.

Last year, Marengo upset the Rockets for a Class 3A regional championship.

"They don't like us, and we don't like them," said Knobloch, who plays on AAU Illinois Hoop Dreams with sophomore guard Elana Wells, who had 23 points to lead Burlington. "We always have super-competitive games against each other."

Marengo shot 53.5 percent (23 of 43) from the field and knocked down 14 of 17 free throws. Knobloch hit all 10 of hers.

Burlington finished at 35.7 percent (20 of 56) and only got to three free-throw line six times, making four.

Marengo got 13 points and three 3s from Jennifer Heinberg, nine points apiece from seniors Lauren Aubry and Hannah Faber, and six from Erin Haeflinger.

"We've been waiting for this game forever," said Ritter, who recorded six assists and three assists in the first eight minutes. "We get jacked to play them, especially in their own house. That makes the win so much better. I was just trying to get the ball and push it up. That's what we love to do. It's always more about the team. It's never about personal stats."

Marengo and Burlington exchanged leads seven times in the first quarter. In the second, the Indians opened with a 10-3 run to take a 27-19 lead. Knobloch made two 3s in a row from about 24 feet to get the Indians going.

Marengo led 37-28 at half and 51-42 after three quarters before pulling away in the fourth.

Both teams made eight 3s. Burlington's Lily Moretti (11 points) and Avery Andersen (nine points) had three apiece.

Rockets coach Mark Smith came away impressed with Marengo.

"We were out of sync defensively, but give Marengo credit," Smith said. "They picked us apart. We had a lot of breakdowns. In the first quarter, we gave up six or seven layups. We were a little excited, and tried to do a little too much offensively."

"Frankly, I thought Marengo looked like a well oiled-machine. They looked like a senior-led team, and we looked like underclassmen."

Wells had all 10 of her team's points in the fourth quarter.

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