Field goals were at a premium Tuesday night in an early season showdown between once-beaten teams Kaneland and DeKalb.
The latter failed to make a shot from the floor in the fourth quarter — attempting only 2 in the process — but the Barbs captured the Northern Illinois Big XII East girls basketball game 42-33 behind its defense.
Kelly Evers’ off-handed lay-in was the Knights’ only third-quarter field goal, and Kaneland (7-2, 2-1) fell a game behind the Barbs (9-1, 3-0) for league supremacy after managing only 4 connections from the floor in the fourth quarter.
“Their guards were putting a lot of pressure on us,” said Kaneland junior forward Emma Bradford, who hit two 3-pointers in scoring 10 points for the Knights. “It was difficult to get the ball into the post.”
After Evers’ inside score midway through the third quarter, DeKalb closed out the quarter by scoring the last 7 points for a 33-23 lead heading into the fourth period.
With only two reserves at his disposal the entire game, DeKalb coach Ben Bates went to a stall game to begin the final quarter.
“We had some kids who played at a high level for three quarters,” Bates said. “Dressing only seven players makes it difficult. We were trying to draw their bigs out (of the lane).”
Bradford drained a baseline-right 3-pointer to bring Kaneland within 33-26 to start the fourth, and DeKalb missed the front end on bonus free throws on back-to-back possessions to give the Knights further hopes of a comeback.
But in a scenario that became all-too prevalent in the last eight minutes, Kaneland failed to capitalize on the Barbs’ mistakes.
On three critical possessions in crunch time, Kaneland promptly returned the ball to DeKalb after forcing the Barbs to cough it up.
Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe said a combination of anxiety, coupled with poor choices throughout the second half, were the Knights’ downfall.
“We’ve got to tighten up our shot selection,” Colombe said. “We’re not satisfied offensively.”
Prost scored the final 7 points for Kaneland before fouling out in the waning seconds; the junior drained a 3-pointer from the head of the key with 25 seconds to play for the last of her team-high 11 points, but the Barbs’ 9 made free throws in the quarter enabled them to ice the game.
On a night when the teams combined for 24 field goals, DeKalb junior guard Rachel Torres converted more than a fifth of them to lead both teams with 13 points.
Emily Bemis’ 11 points augmented Torres’ game-high total as the Barbs had a 14-point plurality for the game at the free-throw line.
Other than the double-digit games from Prost and Bradford, none of the other nine players who saw action scored more than four for Kaneland.
“We did it the DeKalb way,” Bates said of the Barbs’ stinginess on defense.
“They’re a very good defensive team,” Colombe said of the new league leaders.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.