2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 1/24/2017 10:26 PM

Martens, Kaneland hold off Sycamore

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By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

Jamie Martens has all the trademarks of being the offspring of a basketball coach.

The Kaneland junior was poised, driven and clutch when it truly mattered Tuesday night in Maple Park.

In scoring a career-high 21 points in a Northern Illinois Big XII girls basketball game against Sycamore, Martens converted 6 critical free throws over a two-minute span late in the game to seal a 48-45 victory.

"I practiced free throws a lot when I was younger," said Martens, whose father, Scott, directed the East Aurora boys program to three Class AA state finals appearances between 1988 and 1992. "I got lucky, I guess."

Kaneland (18-4, 4-3) failed to make a field goal in the final quarter against its longtime rival, but the Knights staved off every Sycamore attempt to reverse the ultimate outcome from the free-throw line.

The Knights converted 11 of their 16 free throws in the final quarter as Sycamore (15-7, 6-4) could never find the equalizer after forging a one-possession deficit on several occasions.

"We were 16 of 18 (from the free-throw line)," said Kaneland junior forward Jenni Weber, who scored all 10 of her points in the opening half. "That's outstanding."

In what proved to be the epitome of foreshadowing, Martens opened the game with three consecutive scores on slashing drives to the basket.

"I guess (the Sycamore girls) didn't realize -- or remember -- that I was left-handed," Martens said.

"That was a freshman mistake," Sycamore coach and Kaneland Middle School teacher Adam Wickness said of Martens burning his defense to start the game. "Jamie played lights out. She's an all-state track athlete, and we talked about that before the game."

Then again, Kylie Feuerbach is not your average ninth-grade girl playing varsity basketball.

Feuerbach more than made up for her early defensive miscues to exact some payback on the Knights.

After going scoreless in the opening quarter while simultaneously being burned by Martens on four separate occasions, Feuerbach came back with a vengeance in scoring 19 points as Sycamore stormed back from a 12-point third-quarter deficit.

"(Feuerbach) is really quick," Martens said. "She is just a really good player."

The Spartans' Kate Majerus had three 3-pointers in the third quarter in scoring 10 of her 12 points, but Kaneland always found a reply.

Martens' final driving score late in the third quarter would be the Knights' last field goal for the game.

"It was the most aggressive I've seen of the games of (Martens) on film," Wickness said. "She did a good job of getting to the rim and using screens well."

The Knights' Grace Ringel (8 points) iced the game with 2 free throws with 17.1 seconds to play.

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