DeKALB – Making a run at the final four is nothing new to the DeKalb girls basketball team.
Players such as Rachel Torres, Courtney Patrick and Courtney Bemis have been through intense postseason games before.
All three were key parts of DeKalb’s run to a super-sectional last season as the Barbs’ campaign ended with a 48-30 loss to Bartlett at the Class 4A Elgin Super-Sectional.
This season, DeKalb is ready for another long postseason run. Earning a state appearance in Normal has been something the team has been working toward all year. The march to state begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, when the Barbs take on Huntley in the Class 4A Belvidere North Regional semifinals
“That’s been our goal all along,” Bemis said. “We just want to get there.”
Getting through the Class 4A postseason field is certainly tougher than Northern Illinois Big 12 East competition, and Patrick said last year’s experience is something which gives the Barbs an advantage. DeKalb knows what it’s like playing a high-magnitude game in front of a big crowd.
“Now we know how tough it’s going to be, too,” Patrick said. “After last year, how tough it was at each sectional, super-sectional.”
The Barbs also have had plenty of experience against top competition this season.
Playing against a talented Class 4A school is nothing new to first-year coach Chris Davenport’s group.
The teams on DeKalb’s schedule this season included defending Class 4A state champ Whitney Young, Benet, Wheaton-Warrenville South and Naperville North. They also played defending Class 3A champion Montini.
Combining last year’s experience and this year’s tough schedule, DeKalb (23-4) has been through the type of battles awaiting in the next three weeks.
“I just think [the schedule is beneficial] because we’ve had those high-paced games,” Bemis said.
DeKalb and Huntley have met in regional play the past two seasons. The Barbs defeated the Red Raiders, 55-40, in last year’s DeKalb Regional final, while Huntley got the upper hand in the 2011 Huntley Regional final, winning 40-34.
The Barbs hope to show they were the ones deserving of the top seed and win their second consecutive regional.
“We have to prove that we’re the best team,” Bemis said. “We can’t just assume we’re supposed to go in there [and win]. We just have to go in there and play and prove we’re the best by how we play.”
If either Genoa-Kingston (2-24), Kaneland (15-10) or Sycamore (13-12) is going to win a regional title, they’ll have to win three games to do it.
But Spartans coach Brett Goff thinks the Burlington Central Regional is wide open.
“I just think whoever gets hot that week, is playing the best basketball, has the best chance of winning it,” he said.
Goff said he likes how his team is playing heading into the postseason, and mentioned the biggest thing for his young team advancing is just taking care of the ball.
“When we beat good teams we usually have like 12 or less turnovers,” he said. “Just taking care of the ball, minimizing our mistakes. Our defense has been pretty solid all year.”