Hitting shots from close range proved to be more challenging than 3-point shooting for the Kaneland girls basketball team.
The Knights connected on 10 3-pointers, including 7 from junior guard Jenni Weber, but made just 8-of-32 two-point attempts as they dropped a 54-51 nonconference decision to Rock Falls Saturday night in Maple Park.
Jenni Weber finished with 23 points to lead all scorers while Morgan Weber added 11 points for Kaneland (18-5). Junior Abbee Sigel paced Rock Falls with 20 points.
"A lot of those shots were from within five or six feet and we have to hit more of those whether they're contested or not," said Knights coach Ernie Colombe. "We had a lot of opportunities and people weren't shot ready."
"We missed easy shots that we will make toward the end of the season," Jenni Weber said. "We just have to move on to the next play and not dwell on whether we make a mistake."
"I didn't know much about Kaneland. I just knew they had a couple of good ballplayers," said Rock Falls coach Eric Wolf. "Our girls came to compete tonight and it was a nice win for us."
Rock Falls (16-9) started fast, making 7 of its first 9 shots to take an 18-13 first quarter lead.
In the second half, the Rockets hit 16-of-21 free throw attempts and scored their final 7 points from the line.
In contrast, Kaneland did not attempt a free throw the entire second half.
"That's a big difference in a 3-point game," Colombe said. "I thought we had opportunities to go to the line more than five times, but it didn't pan out that way."
"The girls didn't settle. We were aggressive taking the ball hard to the hole and we knocked down some free throws when they mattered," Wolf said."
After a lethargic start, Kaneland grabbed a 22-21 lead with an 11-3 run that featured a 3-point play from Grace Ringel and trifectas from Jamie Martens (7 points) and Jenni Weber.
Rock Falls regained a 26-25 halftime advantage and never trailed after that.
The Rockets extended their lead to 38-31, but Hannah Armin drained a clutch 3-pointer for Kaneland at the third quarter buzzer to narrow the gap to 38-36.
The Knights tied the score at 48-48 with 2:41 left behind a Martens' drive and Jenni Weber's 3-pointer, but Rock Falls took advantage of the double bonus and grabbed a pair of crucial offensive rebounds down the stretch.
Kaneland forced a late turnover and had a chance to force overtime, but Martens' 3-pointer came up short.
"They were outstanding free throw shooters. It was frustrating because when they finally missed a few we fell asleep on defensive rebounds," Jenni Weber said.
"We'll get a few things fixed and we'll bounce back with two games next week," Colombe said.