After a sluggish start, the Kaneland girls basketball team stayed the course and found a way to get the job done.
The Knights mustered just three first half field goals against DeKalb's suffocating man defense, but still managed to hold an 8-6 halftime lead as the Barbs connected on just 2-of-20 shot attempts.
Junior guard Jenni Weber heated up to score 14 of her game-high 20 points in the second half as Kaneland pulled away late for a 35-22 Northern Illinois Big 12 East road victory Friday night.
In the first half, we couldn't hit a shot -- they couldn't hit a shot. But, it was very, very physical," said Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe. "I saw a lot of grabbing, a lot of holding and you have to play through it. Sometimes it's not pretty, but it was a good test for us."
"They were very aggressive defensively and we got a little helter skelter and timid in the first half," said Weber, who had outscored the entire DeKalb team 20-19 when she exited with two minutes remaining.
"We talked about it in the locker room and we came out with more energy and more confidence and we played our game we know how to play."
Weber tallied 6 unanswered points on a pair of jumpers and a steal and hoop to put Kaneland (19-5, 9-3) in front 14-8, but DeKalb (5-22, 1-11) connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to narrow the gap to 18-17.
With Kaneland point guard Jamie Martens picking up her fourth foul midway through the third quarter, sophomore Hannah Armin provided quality minutes off the bench.
Armin hit a runner off the glass to end the third quarter, giving the Knights a 22-17 lead. Armin followed Weber's long 3-pointer with a trifecta of her own to stretch the advantage to 32-19 with 2:23 remaining.
"Hannah Armin really stepped up and played a big role in Jamie's place," Weber said.
"We bounced back a little bit in the second half," Colombe said. "With Jamie out in foul trouble, it was nice to see we weathered the storm there."
Morgan Weber grabbed a game-high 7 rebounds for Kaneland while Grace Ringel collected 5 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Despite a subpar record, DeKalb gave the Knights all they could handle again as Kaneland squeaked out a 51-50 win in the first meeting December 3.
The Barbs forced 19 turnovers and limited Kaneland to 3-of-20 shooting in the first half.
"DeKalb is better than their record indicates. The only thing painful was our turnovers," Colombe said. "It seems like when we don't shoot well sometimes we overpass and make poor decisions."