Carrier scores 27 to lead Sycamore past Kaneland for regional crown
After missing the postseason opener as a precaution, Evyn Carrier was ready to roll against Kaneland.
The Sycamore center scored 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the Spartans dominated from the start for a 49-27 win, clinching the Class 3A Sycamore Regional championship.
"When it hits postseason, I don't joke around anymore," said Carrier, who also had five blocks in the win. "I'm locked in, especially being a senior this year. I don't want it to be over, so I'm going to play my heart out."
Carrier hit all 11 of her 2-point attempts in the win, including making all five of her first-quarter attempts. The Spartans (21-12) scored the first 14 points of the game and were up 27-10 at halftime.
Kaneland (15-17) came from behind in the regional semifinal against Rochelle, and had ended the Spartans' 51-game conference winning streak earlier this season.
"We watched them play Rochelle and the grit and toughness and competitiveness they had throughout the game," Carrier said. "They're our rival, they're a competitive team, so we knew we had to take it super seriously.
"Honestly, many people don't think we'll make it far, but I think we can. We're going to play every game like it's our last."
In the first game against Kaneland, Carrier scored 28, but the Knights were physical in the paint, causing more missed shots than they did tonight. Carrier scored 15 earlier this month against the Knights, a win for the Spartans.
"They've got a bunch of shooters, and that's what makes them so great," first-year Kaneland coach Brian Claesson said. "They've got four shooters and put her in the paint, so pick your poison. Do you guard the shooters or guard Evyn? She battled today, and they got her into spots where she could execute, and they hurt us there."
Sophie Klacik and Lexi Carlsen drained first-quarter 3-pointers, and Monroe McGhee hit two long-distance shots later in the game. Carlsen finished with nine points, 13 rebounds and two steals, while McGhee had eight points and eight rebounds.
"I think our guards did a really good job of knowing when to hit her," coach Adam Wickness said. They read their defensive rotations really well and as well as we've been playing, it kind of spreads everybody out. If you collapse on Evyn, you've got kickouts to Sofe, you've got kickouts to Monrore, you've got kickouts to Lexi. And you can't cover everybody."
The Spartans will face Providence Catholic in the semifinals of the Glenbard South sectional at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the season comes to an end for the Knights. Lexi Schueler had 13 points and four steals, while Brigid Gannon had six points, 10 rebounds and five steals.
"When you think about Brigid Gannon, it's all energy," Claesson said. "Couldn't be prouder of her, senior year, coming off an injury. For her to come out here and give us that energy is huge."
Claesson said he was happy with how the season went for the Knights.
"It was a really, really fun team to be part of," Claesson said. "First year, I couldn't have asked for a better group of girls."