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Spartans climb over .500 mark

Kaneland’s Brooke Harner (right) is fouled by Sycamore’s Taiya Hopkins late in the fourth quarter of the Spartans’ 49-48 overtime victory Friday night in Sycamore.
Kaneland’s Brooke Harner (right) is fouled by Sycamore’s Taiya Hopkins late in the fourth quarter of the Spartans’ 49-48 overtime victory Friday night in Sycamore.

SYCAMORE – Brett Goff said he felt about as low as he could have.

His Sycamore girls basketball team was about to go to overtime against Kaneland, but the game could have been over.

Tied with the Knights, the Spartans had gotten the clock down to 15 seconds remaining in regulation, but Goff didn’t like what he saw, so he called a timeout with 2.7 seconds left. Right afterward, Sycamore junior Julia Moll made a 3-pointer, but it wasn’t going to count.

Luckily, Goff’s Spartans were able to prevail in overtime, 49-48. Goff could rest a little easier over the weekend.

“I’m glad we won the game. I probably wouldn’t have slept this weekend if we didn’t,” Goff joked after emerging from a jubilant locker room.

Sycamore gets over .500 with the win, improving to 9-8 and 2-4 in Northern Illinois Big 12 East play. Kaneland falls to 12-8 and 4-4 in the conference.

Freshman guard Lauren Goff, who led the Spartans with 16 points, said the victory over a team as good as Kaneland was something her team has wanted for a while.

“It was big,” she said. “Feels good to beat a good team like Kaneland.”

Goff’s 16 points were largely because of her success at the free-throw line, where she was 11 of 15. Goff said her good outside jump shot has forced opponents to come out to guard her more, leaving her more room to drive.

It certainly worked Friday, when she also hit two big free throws in overtime.

“I was focused on making them. Luckily they went in tonight,” Goff said. “Just tried to drive and create the foul.”

Bailey Gilbert added 14 points for the Spartans, and Paige Wogen finished with seven. Sycamore was able to get to the line 36 times, making 23 of its attempts.

The Knights’ Brooke Harner helped send the game into overtime, hitting a layup with 39 seconds left and tying the score with a free throw after being fouled on the lay-in attempt. Harner scored five of the Knights’ eight fourth-quarter points, and finished with 11. Allyson O’Herron led Kaneland with 12 points despite picking up her second foul in the first quarter and spending a good amount of the first half on the bench.

Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe gave the Spartans credit and was proud of his team for sticking in the game, despite seeing Sycamore attempt 36 free throws, compared to only 12 for his team.

“I think the big lesson tonight was we can’t reach as much as we were. I thought some of those calls were tough, but they were very consistent tonight from start to finish. When you really break this down, it’s a 49-48 game,” Colombe said. “Like I said, [36] to 12 free throws. On the varsity level, if you shoot [36] free throws, you should come out ahead, and we put them there.

“They earned it, I thought their guards played really well.”

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