There's no place like home, and there's no team more glad to be going home than Kaneland.
By beating Rosary 51-33 Friday night in the Class 3A IMSA regional championship game, Kaneland advances to its own sectional where it will host Rock Falls in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Kaneland (22-6) won its 13th regional crown and first since 2012 thanks in large part to its defense.
Rosary (15-15) made just 4 of 21 shots in the first half, and committed 7 turnovers in the first quarter and 18 in the game. Kaneland scored the first 6 points, led 12-4 after one quarter and 22-8 at halftime.
"We did a good job moving around and circling and finding the open person," junior point guard Jamie Martens said. "We really shared the ball."
Martens led all scores with 21 points and added 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Jenni Weber joined her in double figures with 11 points, 8 in the first quarter, plus 6 rebounds and 5 steals.
Sophomores Bryanna Kigyos and Hannah Armin each added 4 points while making key contributions on the defensive end.
Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe praised Kigyos's defense on Rosary leading scorer Lauren Smith, who scored 6 points. Armin drew two charging fouls on Rosary's Zoe Ketterman in the second quarter.
"I think it really got us going," Armin said. "It was a big boost for me and boosted my confidence a lot. I just want to make plays on the team and do my role. All my life I've wanted to take charges. I saw her coming and I thought I might as well stand there and take it."
Ketterman gave Kaneland fits while she was on the court, leading Rosary with 12 points, but spent much of the night on the bench in foul trouble. She fouled out in the fourth quarter on her third offensive foul.
"That was the key," Rosary coach Phil VanBogaert said. "We felt at the beginning of the game when our bigs are in there, she's a little stronger than what they have. But she's a freshman, she's going to get better. We've been in foul trouble quite a bit this year."
Rosary briefly got within 10 points in the second half at 34-25 and 36-27 before a basket by Morgan Weber, Jenni Weber's 3 and a Kigyos jumper restored a 14-point cushion.
Martens made 7 of her 9 free throws in the fourth as Kaneland pulled away.
"She's a terrific player and she's getting more and more confident," said Colombe, whose team lost to Rock Falls 54-51 on Jan. 28. "We played great team defense. Really proud of the group tonight."
"We missed some easy shots and shot ourselves in the foot but they are a good team," VanBogaert said. "I like the way they run their offense. I've got to give them credit."