End game

By on February 28, 2014
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Photo: Sophomore Camri Conley and the Lady Knights dispatched hosted Plano on Feb. 19 regional semifinal, but fell to rival Sycamore in the final 40-20 on Friday. Photo by Ben Draper

Lady Knights finish 14-15 after Plano Regional final loss
PLANO—For the span of the second quarter on Friday night, the Lady Knights looked like they could pull off a sizable comeback and regional final win over Sycamore.

Then the bottom fell out of the court.

A 14-2 comeback spurt spanning the second and third quarter, which tied the game at 18-all, gave way to a 20-0 run by Sycamore to finish the third frame.

Kaneland was unable to recover and fell to the No. 1 seed Lady Spartans, 40-20, ending their season in the Plano Regional.

The loss came just six days after a 40-35 win on Kaneland’s Senior Night.

After the win over No. 3 Kaneland, Sycamore was ousted by Burlington Central in the Belvidere Sectional semifinal on Monday evening. BC was scheduled to play Rockford Lutheran in the sectional final.

Kaneland’s 2013-14 campaign ended at 14-15 and won five of its last seven, after two consecutive years of winning records. In a positive development for KHS girls basketball, the Lady Knights were able to get back to a regional final after a one-point loss to Plano in the Burlington Central Regional semi of a year ago.

To some measure, KHS earned a bit of hoops of revenge last Wednesday with a 43-27 win over No. 2 Plano, which finished at 14-15.

Against Sycamore, the Lady Knights were just 7-of-38 from the field the entire game, including an 0-for-22 slide to finish the game after Ally Van Bogaert’s game-tying three-pointer in the third. Van Bogaert and Morgan Weber had five points each to lead the Lady Knights. Sycamore was paced by Morgan Picolotti’s 11.

The first quarter had the Lady Knights down 9-2 after the first eight minutes, and Kaneland fell behind 16-4 with 4:28 to go in the second quarter.

A Kelly Wallner foul shot, followed by a Caroline Heimerdinger three, a Wallner basket, a Weber trifecta and an Amber Winquist-Bailey bucket off a Heimerdinger steal, closed it to 18-15 just before the half.

After the Van Bogaert three just 20 seconds into second-half play tied the score, Sycamore went 6-for-8 during third quarter play and added a foul shot to complete the 20-0 run. Marina Schaefer would end up converting the final points of the season for Kaneland on two foul shots with 2:47 to go that closed the deficit to 38-20.

“Overall, we were pretty happy with our defense. We held them to 40 points and Bailey Gilbert to five. I thought we played our butts off on defense, but we couldn’t hit a shot. One out of 22 in the second half, you’re not going to beat many people,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said.

In the semifinal against Plano, things went more swimmingly for KHS, with 13 points from Wallner and nine from Heimerdinger. Equally as key was holding 6-foot-3 center Clarisa Martinez, a 1,000-point scorer for the Lady Reapers, to just eight points. Kaneland was 13-for-49 from the field and 14-for-22 from the foul line.

“We were pretty happy, defensively,” Colombe said. “(Martinez) is a load down there, and we had a couple of cold spells on offense, and it’s tough to play against her because she alters a lot of shots.”

Leading Plano 15-11 after one, Kaneland used quick offense and backcourt play to keep Plano’s frontcourt out of rhythm. A Heimerdinger trey made it 19-14 with 3:21 left in the half. Another three by Heimerdinger and a basket by Wallner with 2:03 left in the half made it 24-14 before a late Plano basket cemented Kaneland’s halftime lead at eight.

Heimerdinger’s long-range game was enough to give the Lady Knights a boost.

“It was good in the first-half, I guess,” Heimerdinger said. “I was looking to see if I had a little bit of room, but I was mostly looking to get it inside.”

A Schaefer basket down low with 25.2 ticks left in the frame meant a 31-21 edge going into the fourth quarter. Schaefer and Bailey Crimmins were responsible for the only field goals of the fourth quarter. With 3:21 to go, Martinez fouled out, effectively ending a Plano comeback bid.

With the Sycamore loss, the Lady Knights say goodbye to six seniors: Wallner, Heimerdinger, Winquist-Bailey, Schaefer, Brittany Kemp and Katie Brinkman.

“They set a great tone for the kids coming up,” Colombe said. “Probably the thing we’re most proud of is how they acted as teammates.”