Getting in their shots

By on February 20, 2014

Late-season run brings Lady Knights mark to 13-14
KANELAND—Four out of five isn’t bad.

In fact, it might be coming at the right time for Kaneland girls basketball.

After a five-game losing skid that lasted from Jan. 11-31, the Lady Knights began righting their victory ship two weeks ago with a win at Morris. After two more conference wins, the Lady Knights’ final regular season week featured a 52-39 loss to visiting DeKalb last Thursday, and a regular season finale win over Sycamore on Senior Night, 40-35.

The uptick in play means the Lady Knights final regular season tally sits at 13-14 (5-5 Northern Illinois Big XII).

The homestretch set up the IHSA Class 3A Plano Regional grouping, which was set to feature Kaneland facing Plano on Wednesday, with results unavailable for press.

With the postseason still remaining, the Lady Knights finished the regular campaign with a losing record for the first time since the 2010-11 slate, which ended 13-16, with the last loss coming at the hands of Wheaton Academy in the playoffs.

Kaneland had executed consecutive winning seasons, most notably a sectional final appearance in 2011-12.

In the double-digit loss to DeKalb, Kaneland was led by Kelly Wallner’s 12 points. KHS was 11-of-35 from the field, and 15-of-22 from the foul line on the evening.

DeKalb stormed out to a 16-5 lead and kept a 23-12 lead going into the locker room. Kaneland was able to close to 37-30 by the end of the third before the Lady Barbs added to their lead with a 15-9 fourth frame.

In the five-point win over the Lady Spartans on Valentine’s Day, which secured a regular season split between the two schools, Kaneland was paced by Caroline Heimerdinger’s 14 points. The total included a six-for-six stretch on free throws in the final two minutes. Wallner had seven points to go along with her 13 rebounds.

KHS was 11-of-33 from the field and 15-of-20 from the foul line.

The Lady Knights led 10-6 after the first eight minutes and 17-13 at the half. Sycamore inched closer and trailed just 26-24 before KHS held firm.

The postseason journey for third seed Kaneland held a familiar obstacle in the Plano Regional setting in the form of the host Lady Reapers, the No. 2 seed.

A year ago in the Burlington Central Regional semi, Kaneland was a missed three-pointer away from pulling off a stellar fourth-quarter comeback from 15 points down in a 52-51 loss.

Last year’s Plano crew finished at 22-7, compared to 14-14 in 2013-14.

The winner was set to face either No. 1 Sycamore, No. 4 Rochelle or No. 5 Sandwich in the regional final on Friday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m.