Grant knocks it out of the park vs. Wauconda

Melissa Ketter's baseball toss came in handy Saturday afternoon - on a basketball court.

The Grant senior guard turned into a makeshift outfielder after collecting a defensive rebound, whipping a lengthy, right-handed pass that resembled a relay throw from a warning track in the fourth quarter of a Northern Lake County Conference girls basketball game against visiting Wauconda.

The basketball landed cleanly in the mitt-less hands of sophomore MK McNeal, who then turned and made at least three nifty, slithering moves before netting a layup to up her squad's lead to 37-29.

"I don't play baseball," a grinning Ketter said afterward.

The Ketter-McNeal connection - with 3:42 left - essentially qualified as the game-winning "home run" and drew the matinee's loudest ovation in Grant's 41-29 victory in Fox Lake. Wauconda (10-12, 5-6 in the NLCC) had pared Grant's 27-15 seemingly comfy lead to an uh-oh-ish 32-27 gap after three quarters.

But Grant (13-13, 7-4) limited the visitors to a scant 2 fourth-quarter points and tallied the game's final 6 points to avenge a loss in the teams' first meeting this winter.

"We're a fast-paced team that likes to push, push, push," said first-year Grant coach Andrea Weaver, a 2015 Grant graduate who battled as a power forward for the Bulldogs. "But we had to slow things down in the second half, play some keep-away, make good choices.

"My message to my players was, 'Trust your gut, trust your strengths.' "

Five Grant Bulldogs scored at least 5 points. Sophomore point guard Lily Capulong - blessed with poise and magnificent handles - paced the hosts with 11 points, including a trio of treys in the first half. Ketter finished with 10, followed by McNeal's 9, junior forward Nevada Holm's 6 and sophomore guard Madelyn Dunskis' 5.

"Team ball helped us win today," said McNeal, who also pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.

Ketter and Holm each snared 9 boards.

Injury-plagued Grant dressed only eight players.

"Our players," Weaver said, "are well-conditioned."

Wauconda junior post player Helen Macey suited up for only the second time since suffering a dislocated kneecap in December, when she was averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds at the time of the setback.

Macey scored 6 points and grabbed a team-high 7 boards Saturday.

Six of Wauconda sophomore Grace Parker's team-best 8 points came from the 3-point zip code in the first frame. Freshman guard Alexia Manalo struck for all 7 of her points - all 7 of Wauconda's points, too - from the 4:32 mark of the second quarter to 7:43 of the third stanza.

Wauconda senior guard Kaylan McCarthy had 6 rebounds, 1 more than Parker's total.

"We're still in a huge shooting slump," admitted Wauconda coach Jaime Dennis, who started a freshman and a pair of sophomores in a contest featuring nothing but Bulldogs. "And we're not crashing the boards. We had only 7 offensive rebounds today; you need to get more than that when you're shooting like we are. But I've been pleased with how hard we're playing.

"Grant's players," she added, "are fast and scrappy - they always are."

Grant's victory capped a busy week, during which it went 3-1. And Weaver's crew has to play again Monday, vs. Highland Park.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.