DeKALB – Rachel Torres still remembers playing against Sycamore at the Northern Illinois University Convocation Center as a freshman.
Torres’ DeKalb team lost to the Spartans that night in January of 2010, blowing a 15-point lead in the process.
The past two seasons, however, the Barbs have had the upper hand when the two schools got together at the Convo, and Torres went out a winner Friday night, with her Barbs getting a 36-18 victory over Sycamore.
“The past few years it’s been close. This year I didn’t want it to be that close again,” Torres said. “I wanted us to show that we were the better team, and I think we did.”
Torres led the offensive attack for DeKalb (20-3, 8-0 Northern Illinois Big 12 East), finishing with a team-high 11 points. Madelyne Johnson added seven points for the Barbs, and Brittney Patrick – playing her first game in two weeks after sitting out with a knee injury – had six.
Barbs coach Chris Davenport wanted to see his team get the ball inside to players such as Johnson and Courtney Bemis (four points) after watching his team score only 23 points in a victory over East Moline United on Tuesday. The Barbs had 12 points in the paint in the first half.
Torres mentioned how the Barbs were patient on offense, making the most of their opportunities against Sycamore (9-10, 2-6 NI Big 12 East).
“We’ve been working on our zone offense a lot,” Torres said. “We weren’t really knocking down the shots we wanted, so I think when we did get the shots we wanted, we found a way to attack the zone and get it inside.”
DeKalb got all it needed offensively, thanks to its typically tough, hard-nosed defense. As Davenport puts it, all DeKalb did was “do what we do” on offense.
“We try to smother people to make them work for whatever they get,” he said. “I’m very happy with the way my kids played.”
The outcome didn’t go Sycamore’s way, but Spartans coach Brett Goff’s team featured a starting lineup of two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior going up against a team ranked No. 9 in the latest Associated Press Class 4A girls basketball poll.
Bailey Gilbert led Sycamore in scoring with eight points, with Lauren Goff adding four.
Sycamore’s second-year coach told his team before the game that very few girls basketball teams get to play in a college arena in front of a big crowd.
He called the experience “invaluable” for his young team, and mentioned how it could help come postseason time.
“It’s a great experience,” he said. “Hopefully the girls realize that.”