Feuerbach, Sycamore cause Kaneland problems
With a victory over Sycamore on Tuesday in Maple Park, Kaneland had a chance to tie the Spartans for the Interstate Eight Conference lead.
Kaneland sophomore McKenzie Schueler knocked down a 3-pointer in the opening minute, putting the Knights up briefly 3-2.
Sycamore's Kylie Feuerbach blew by her defender to the basket to put the Spartans ahead, and the Iowa State bound senior kept pouring it on from there.
The 6-foot, four-year starter scored 10 points in the first quarter, 14 in the second and 7 in the third before sitting out the fourth, her 31 points more than Kaneland's team in a 59-27 victory.
Feuerbach also had 7 steals, repeatedly swiping the ball near midcourt on the Spartans' full-court press and taking it the other way for a layup.
"She's been our sparkplug for awhile," Spartans coach Adam Wickness said. "In her senior year she's bringing it every time she steps on the court. She knows it's the last hurrah for her."
Kaneland senior Delaney Sheehan found herself matched up with Feuerbach first, and junior Taylor Carlson came off the bench to also take turns trying to slow Feuerbach.
Nothing seemed to work. Feuerbach made 12 of her 15 shot attempts including all three of her 3-pointers. She made 4 of 5 at the free-throw line, and on the only one she missed, Feuerbach hustled to get her own rebound and score.
"I know she's tall and I just try to move my feet and not reach and hope for a bad shot," Carlson said. "I try to keep my hands up and hope it doesn't go in and wait for help defense to come help."
Sycamore (13-6, 6-0) built a 15-5 lead after one quarter, then hit 11 of 12 shots in the second quarter to go up 40-16 at halftime.
Feuerbach ended the first quarter with consecutive 3s, and during a 45-second stretch in the second quarter she stole the ball three times, scoring twice herself and assisting Ella Shipley's layup.
"Kylie is the kind of player that you are not going to stop," Kaneland coach Kelsey Flanagan said. "Nobody in our conference is going to shut her down completely. You just hope to take away something from her, her shot or her drive. Her length makes it tough for sure. Sycamore has a lot of length."
Kaneland (14-8, 4-2), who turned the ball over 10 times in the first half before the Spartans took off their press in the second, knows it needs to handle that pressure better when it gets a second chance against the Spartans Jan. 25.
"We didn't come out the way we wanted to," Carlson said. "Hopefully we'll come out better next Saturday. We need to break the press, pass and move and get it down and not have her (Feuerbach) steal all our passes in the middle."
Sophomore Shipley and freshman Evyn Carrier both added 8 points for the Spartans.
Junior Kylie Holubecki led Kaneland in scoring with 7 points and freshman Katherine Marshall added 6.
"That was good to see," Flanagan said of Marshall. "We talked about being aggressive on offense and taking shots when you have them an Katherine has the ability to create a shot for herself.
"We'll see if we can give them a better shot next time."