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Article updated: 2/15/2012 11:40 PM
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Balanced Kaneland stifles IMSA
 

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Balanced Kaneland stifles IMSA
  • Laura Stoecker/lstoecker@dailyherald.com IMSA's Jeannine Schulz (cq) attempts a block on Kaneland's Sarah Grams in the fourth quarter of regional game on Wednesday, February 15.

    Laura Stoecker/lstoecker@dailyherald.com IMSA's Jeannine Schulz (cq) attempts a block on Kaneland's Sarah Grams in the fourth quarter of regional game on Wednesday, February 15.

  •  IMSA's Lindsey Conley is swarmed by Kaneland's Marina Schaefer, left, and Ashley Castellanos in the third quarter of regional game on Wednesday, February 15.

    Purchase Photo | IMSA's Lindsey Conley is swarmed by Kaneland's Marina Schaefer, left, and Ashley Castellanos in the third quarter of regional game on Wednesday, February 15. Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  •  IMSA's Michaela Edgers blocks a shot by Kaneland's Emma Bradford in the second quarter of regional game on Wednesday, February 15.

    Purchase Photo | IMSA's Michaela Edgers blocks a shot by Kaneland's Emma Bradford in the second quarter of regional game on Wednesday, February 15. Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 

Among the songs played at halftime of the first Class 3A Yorkville regional Wednesday night was "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye."

The White Sox might wait until the game is over to play the song when they win, but there was no such need to wait with No. 1 seed Kaneland on the court.

Story Continues Below

Eight Knights scored in the opening half in building a 15-point lead, just the start of a balanced night in a 57-29 victory over fourth-seeded IMSA.

Kaneland (18-9) will play No. 2 Yorkville for the regional championship at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

"The first couple possessions set the tone of it so we try to go out strong," Kaneland guard Sarah Grams said. "We were not nervous. It was just another game we were playing."

Missing their two-year point guard didn't help IMSA (15-11) against the Knights' full-court press. The Titans turned the ball over 10 times in the first half, then struggled even more against Kaneland's depth with 17 turnovers in the second half.

Kaneland never trailed in the game, taking its biggest lead at the final score on a steal and lay-in from Ashley Castellanos.

"It was nice to come out of the gates somewhat quick and get a lead before the half and then we built on it which was good to see," Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe said.

Grams led Kaneland with 9 points. The Knights might not have had anyone in double figures, but Colombe played 14 girls and 11 scored. Seven players had at least 3 rebounds; five players nabbed at least 2 steals.

"We've been doing that for the most part all year," Colombe said. "Kids are ready, they can do it. Depth is nice when you are pressing because you can get kids in and out. We wore them down a little bit. I was happy with the way our kids played defensively especially pressuring their guards."

Ashley Prost opened the scoring for Kaneland and Grams quickly followed with a jumper. IMSA tied the game once at 4-4 before the Knights put the next 9 points on the board.

Grams assisted on the first basket in the run and Kelly Evers the next one as crisp ball movement helped Kaneland get good shots all game. The Knights finished at 50 percent from the field (24 of 48) and 70 percent at the line (7 of 10) while holding IMSA to 12-of-42 shooting.

"We get in trouble if we dribble too much," Colombe said. "We keep harping on the girls to play as a team."

Prost and Evers both scored 8 points. Allyson O'Herron added 7 and Lauren Zick 6.

"They play way faster," said IMSA coach Keith McIntosh whose team finished second in its conference this year and won its conference tournament. "We had our shots. I thought we played hard."

Jeannine Schulz led IMSA with 11 points.

Kaneland split with Yorkville during the Northern Illinois Big 12 season, winning by 20 on the road and losing by 3 at home. The Foxes (20-6), who will be going for their first regional title in 10 years, have won 9 straight games.

"They were hot and we were cold," Yorkville coach Luke Engelhardt said of the first meeting with the Knights. "I think it will be an evenly matched game. They have a lot of talent, that is why they are the No. 1 seed. They've got a very balanced team as well. They will come out gunning for us since we beat them last time."

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