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Ally VanBogaert failed to dent the scoring column in the opening half Tuesday night in Maple Park.
"I didn't have any confidence," the Kaneland forward said.
But the junior had back-to-back field goals on the Knights' opening pair of possessions against Rochelle in Northern Illinois Big XII East girls basketball action.
VavBogaert would not score again until it was crunch time, but her 3-pointer was a dagger against the Hubs in the Knights' 44-38 victory.
"I want to be overall a harder player to defend," said VanBogaert, who drained only the second combined field goal from beyond the arc with three minutes and 38 seconds remaining. "I have been working on my 3s a lot."
The VanBogaert shot from the top of the key gave the Knights a 41-36 lead.
Kaneland (4-4, 1-1) would not score again for over three minutes, but Kelly Wallner iced the conference with two critical plays down the stretch.
Wallner, who led the Knights with 10 points, hit 3 free throws in the last 21 seconds and also snared a crucial defensive rebound -- on which she was subsequently fouled -- in an 11-second span.
Her split free throws on the initial trip made it a two-possession game.
"I really wanted to win the game," Wallner said. "I was just focusing on what I do in practice (on the free throws)."
Kaneland scored the first 2 buckets of the game behind Wallner and Amber Winquist Bailey; it would prove to be the largest lead of the first half.
There were six ties in the first half.
Neither team shot well from the floor, and Rochelle (4-5, 1-1), which had double-digit production from Lauren Murphy and Abby Gould, led 12-9 after the first quarter.
Brittany Kemp had a 3-point play for Kaneland to start the second quarter, and the spread for each side was never greater than 2 points before halftime.
The teams entered second-half play tied at 20-20.
But Kaneland scored the first 7 points of the third quarter.
The Hubs would make multiple mini-runs over the remainder of the game, coming within a single possession on five occasions.
Rochelle would never forge another tie, though.
"We missed a lot of good opportunities," Rochelle coach Tony Rowan said.
Turnovers were not overly commonplace but did occur at critical junctures for both teams. After VanBogaert made her dramatic 3-pointer, each side had key miscues that impacted the game.
Rochelle had a dribbling violation prior to the first of the Wallner free-throw trips that could have conceivably tied the game.
The Hubs also missed 5 fourth-quarter free throws.
VanBogaert finished 8 points, and Caroline Heimerdinger scored all 7 of her points in the first half for Kaneland.
Gould led all players with 13 points; Murphy finished with 12 for Rochelle.