A schedule flaw for Kaneland forced the Knights to make a change and play the same Northern Illinois Big 12 East opponent for the second time in a week Tuesday in Maple Park.
Unfortunately for the Knights that opponent was DeKalb. The Barbs aren’t much fun to play once these days, let alone a second time so soon.
While Kaneland’s defense made the Barbs work, the Knights had too little firepower to keep up, going scoreless in the second quarter to fall behind 19-7 at halftime of an eventual 38-22 loss.
DeKalb (14-1, 4-0), which just beat Geneva in overtime and will play No. 13 Benet Thursday in the semifinals of the Benet/Naperville North Tournament, forced Kaneland into 22 turnovers and held the Knights to 8-of-30 shooting from the field (26.7 percent).
“They are a good team, they are beating everybody,” Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe said. “They are a team capable of making a run downstate. We were happy holding them to 38 but it’s not easy scoring against them.”
Kaneland (8-4, 2-2) got off to a good start. Sarah Grams, part of an all-senior starting lineup, opened the scoring with a 3.
The Knights led 5-2 after a second-chance basket from Ashley Prost. The Barbs didn’t take their first lead until a 3-point shot from Courtney Patrick put them up 8-5 with 2:16 left in the first quarter — and then DeKalb never trailed again.
Patrick, a senior, has been joined in the backcourt this year by her sister Brittney, a freshman. Their father Will played defensive back at Northern Illinois, and his daughters combined for 11 points, three 3-pointers, 3 steals and 7 rebounds in Tuesday’s win.
“Brittney Patrick has allowed Courtney not to have to run the point,” DeKalb coach Chris Davenport said. “Brittney is getting better. She’s a 14-year-old and we’re working with decision-making. Obviously athletically she is very gifted. I’m very pleased with both of them.”
Trailing 10-7 after the first quarter, Kaneland dug itself a big hole by missing all 6 of its second-quarter shots and turning the ball over seven times.
Not until Prost sank a baseline jumper early in the third quarter did the Knights score again in an 11-minute scoring drought.
While the Patricks applied pressure to the Knights backcourt, having 6-foot-2 Courtney Bemis and 6-1 Madelyne Johnson didn’t make things easier when Kaneland did get the ball inside.
“We don’t have a lot of size,” Colombe said. “We have to work real hard. That size does come into play because when you drive into the lane, we don’t have 6-2, 6-3 in practice to simulate that. They will change a few shots, make people pull up and not take a shot. It changes a lot of things mentally.”
Kaneland got as close as 19-12 in the second half on a free throw from Emma Bradford. The Barbs responded with their best stretch of offense on the night, making 7-of-11 shots in the third quarter to lead 35-17 going to the fourth.
Even though the Knights held DeKalb to 3 points in the fourth quarter, they were only able to score 5 themselves to not put much of a dent in the final margin.
“They are definitely a physical team,” DeKalb senior Janay Wright said. “I don’t know why we don’t score as much as we should. They are definitely a good basketball team. They are good competition.”
Senior Rachel Torres, who hit the game-winning shot Friday in overtime to beat Geneva, led DeKalb with 14 points.
“We see a lot of contrast in styles,” Davenport said. “A lot of our conference games will pack in man, pack in zone and double and triple the posts and make us beat them from the outside. Then when you play the Genevas and Benets of the world they just do what they do.”
Prost led Kaneland with 8 points and Grams chipped in 5. Grams came up with 4 of the Knights’ 8 steals. Allyson O’Herron hustled for 5 rebounds, keeping Kaneland within 26-21 of the taller Barbs on the glass.
“It was a good test for us,” Colombe said. “Overall we are pretty happy with the defense and the hustle and the effort but we have to find a way to hit shots. A big difference early on from last year to this year is we had (Kelly) Evers and she had to be guarded in the post and right now we don’t have that post presence that teams have to guard. They are helping off that spot right now and that’s kind of clogging everything up. It’s a work in progress.”
Kaneland returns to action at the Ottawa Tournament at 3 p.m. Friday against Morris.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.