Sycamore girls basketball coach Brett Goff looks for flaws when scouting a future opponent’s defense, scouring for anything the Spartans possibly can exploit.
When he scouted DeKalb, he didn’t see much his team will be able to use when the young Spartans play the Barbs tonight at NIU’s Convocation Center.
“Just by watching them play a few times this year, they don’t have many flaws in their defense,” Goff said. “You always look for some things that you’ll try to exploit in a game situation, and to be honest with you, I think DeKalb has the best defense I’ve seen this year. Probably one of the best teams I’ve seen in awhile as far as high school basketball.”
DeKalb won both meetings last season, winning by two at the Convocation Center before beating their rival by 21 later in the year. The Barbs held Sycamore to 37 and 25 points in the two wins, and they might be an even better defensive team this season.
“We’re a lot more athletic and have a better basketball IQ,” senior Courtney Patrick said. “We’re getting better every day. Last year, we had spots where we went back a spot, but I think we’re trying this year to just keep going.”
The Barbs’ roster is a mix of talented youth infused with savvy veterans. Daily Chronicle All-Area players Rachel Torres and Patrick bolster a backcourt highlighted by freshman point guard Brittney Patrick, who might play tonight after missing Tuesday’s win over United Township with an injury. Sophomore Madelyne Johnson and junior Courtney Bemis, who both are taller than 6 feet, make the Barbs a tough team to stop inside.
Sycamore, on the other hand, is young all around. Sophomore Bailey Gilbert headlines a team that’s thin on experience. But the Spartans aren’t short on talent.
“From what I’ve seen, it seems like they’re always a battle,” DeKalb coach Chris Davenport said. “[Games against Sycamore are] always tight, especially in the [Convocation Center]. Records really don’t matter. … When you’re young and you don’t have a whole lot to lose, you don’t think about it as much. … It’s going to be a fight, and we know it.”
The Spartans are riding a high in an up-and-down season after beating Kaneland, 49-48, in overtime Jan. 18.
DeKalb held that same Kaneland team to 17 points in December to hand the Knights their first loss.
“We’d have to play almost perfect [to win],” Goff said. “We’re just going to have to do a very good job of executing our offense, not turning the ball over, especially in the backcourt, giving them easy opportunities for uncontested layups. Everyone’s going to have to step up.”