Morris hands Kaneland 1st loss
Two streaks were snapped Friday night at Morris, neither which did anything to make Kaneland's trip south down Route 47 any better.
Morris entered the Northern Illinois Big XII East opener without a conference win the past two years.
Kaneland came into the game without a loss this year, a perfect 4-0 after winning the Thanksgiving tourney title at IC Catholic Prep.
Tied at 18 at halftime, the Knights fell behind early in the third quarter and played catch up the rest of the way. They never did, erasing all but 1 of an 11-point deficit in a 43-42 loss.
"We just turned it over too much," said Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe, whose team played without starter Vanessa Gould (sick). "One-point game, turn it over 25 times, we had a lot of shots under the basket fourth quarter we didn't hit, and they played well."
Turnovers did indeed hurt Kaneland (4-1, 0-1). The Knights overcame them early. Picture perfect footwork in the post by Ally VanBogaert freed herself for an easy basket at the close of the first quarter for a 13-12 lead.
But there weren't many offensive highlights after that. Kaneland scored just 5 points in the second quarter and 7 in the third to trail 27-25 going to the fourth.
Morris (5-1, 1-0) trapped often in the half-court, making it difficult for the Knights to capitalize on their height advantage inside.
"We know Kaneland, we have a history with them, they are just tough," Morris coach Kate Carey said. "They play hard, they don't give up. We knew if we could stop them on the high side we could take away some of their shot opportunities for their posts."
Morris went on a 10-1 run to open the fourth quarter and take its biggest lead at 37-26.
VanBogaert scored inside, then banked in a 3 to ignite Kaneland's final push. The Knights kept getting stops, and when VanBogaert scored on a putback, then hit two free throws, Kaneland trailed just 39-37 with 1:40 left.
Kaneland got a great look from point-blank range on its next trip but missed with a chance to tie. Morris hit enough free throws to extend its lead to 43-39, so when Knights freshman Jennifer Weber pulled up and nailed a 3-pointer with 4 seconds left, Kaneland ended up a point short and out of time to foul again.
"I thought we had a ton of opportunities to win the game," Colombe said.
"It meant a lot for us," Carey said. "We needed to get that monkey off our back. Not pretty but we got the job done."