Girls Basketball: Kaneland moves to regional final past IMSASarah Grams (2) of Kaneland drives past Kam Bond (12) of Illinois Math & Science Academy. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Kaneland girls basketball coach Ernie Colombe said that his top-seeded Knights came out with some butterflies in Wednesday’s Yorkville Class 3A Regional semifinal against IMSA.
If that’s the case, they sure didn’t last long.
The Knights finished the first quarter on a 13-2 run and cruised to a 57-29 win over IMSA to advance to tonight’s 7:30 title game against the host Foxes.
“We still had a little bit of jitters early, but it was nice to come out of the gates strong, start out quick, and get a lead before the half,” Colombe said. “That was nice to see.”
The Knights (18-9) overwhelmed IMSA (15-11) defensively all night. Kaneland came at the Titans in waves, and IMSA was playing without two-year starting point guard Seneca Hutson, who had to leave the team Friday for personal reasons.
Without Hutson there to calm things down for the Titans, Kaneland was able to force 24 turnovers.
“They’re way faster than us,” IMSA coach Keith McIntosh said. “It’s hard compensating for that. When we played them (in the regular season), they had a tough time with (Hutson). Our ball-handling deficiency showed up. I give them all the credit.”
Kaneland used balanced scoring and great ball movement to keep IMSA off balance all night. The Knights had 13 assists as a team and the first 11 players that got into the game all scored, with nobody reaching double figures.
“We get in trouble when we dribble too much,” Colombe said. “We keep harping on the girls to play as a team. As long as we’re moving the ball, we’re pretty tough.”
Kaneland took a 30-15 lead at the half and IMSA played the Knights pretty evenly in the third quarter. But in the fourth, the Knights’ depth showed as they took advantage of the worn down Titans, closing the game out on an 18-4 run to win going away.
Sarah Grams led the Knights with nine points, with Ashley Prost and Kelly Evers each adding eight points. Jeannine Schulz led all scorers with 11 points for IMSA.
“It’s been a super season for us,” McIntosh said. “We rarely get to 10 wins. We’re ecstatic.”
Kaneland split with Yorkville during the regular season, winning by 20 at Yorkville before falling by three points at home.
“We’re just going to work tomorrow and see what happens,” Grams said.