Lake Park tips Batavia
Opening night in the inaugural season of the DuKane Conference turned into a nail-biter between the girls basketball teams from Lake Park and Batavia.
Senior guard Casey Darre (10 points) knocked down a pair of free throws with 39 seconds remaining to break a 45-45 deadlock and the Lancers (7-0, 1-0) held on for a 47-45 victory over host Batavia (3-4, 0-1) Thursday night.
"I was thinking that we're 6-0 and I wanted to get this win for the team," said Darre. "I was telling myself, 'stay calm -- you know what you need to do.'"
"We weathered the storm," said Lancers coach Brian Rupp, whose team played without junior standout Darrione Rogers for a couple minutes down the stretch with calf tightness.
When she was on the court, Rogers was a force to be reckoned with, scoring a game-high 29 points while grabbing 16 rebounds.
The DePaul-recruit, who finished with four 3-point baskets, scored 19 first-half points to help the Lancers to a 27-23 lead at the intermission.
"She's a special player and she's on a tear right now," Rupp said of Rogers, who poured in a school-record 49 points during a win over Hinsdale South earlier in the week. "Her range is nuts. I played 1-on-1 against her and I hit the first two 3-pointers to go up 6-0 -- and I lost 11-6."
Senior guard Hailey Orman paced the Bulldogs with 15 pointers -- all on 3-point baskets -- while Erin Golden and Geddy Rerko added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
"I couldn't ask them to play any harder -- we played so incredibly hard," said Batavia coach Kevin Jensen. "Allison Newberry and Geddy Rerko played about as well as you can on Rogers. That's (29 points) a ton but she just scored 20 more two nights ago.
"We honestly said before the game that if she doesn't go for 40 (points), we've got a chance. She had to work for it and she had to come out for a little bit -- that helps us. They had a couple other players hit some nice shots."
Jensen came away impressed with Rogers' all-around skills.
"She's one of the best players in the state of Illinois," said the coach.
Batavia had a couple chances of its own to take the lead late after the Lancers missed the front end of back-to-back 1-and-1s.
However, both of the Bulldogs' 3-point attempts caromed off the rim, including a last-second, 35-foot try by Golden that hit the back rim.
"We executed a play down the stretch," Jensen said of Rerko's 3-point try from the wing with 16 seconds left. "She's heartbroken she missed but executing a play doesn't have anything to do with a make or a miss.
"We ran a play we wanted to run and got a good look. She (Rerko) hit a tougher 3 to extend the game (against Bartlett)."
Kate Kirkham added 3 points and 9 rebounds for the Lancers, who survived on the road.
"This is going to be like every night in this conference," said Rupp.