SYCAMORE – In a competitive sense, Sycamore’s 56-28 win over Genoa-Kingston on Friday certainly didn’t equal the Oswego East tournament last week.
There the Spartans lost in the championship game and gained experience against numerous Class 4A schools.
But Friday’s contest was still plenty valuable.
Sycamore coach Brett Goff was able to implement some new wrinkles to his defense, including a full-court press and an initiative to turn steals into baskets, and the Spartans (10-4) forced the Cogs (5-10) into 23 turnovers on the night.
“[Goff has] really getting on us to be in the passing lanes and to help when we press full court,” said sophomore point guard Lauren Goff, who scored seven points. “I think that it was harder in the tournament [to work on things]. Those are close games, and this one we were trying to work on our defense more.”
Goff was concerned that his young team wouldn’t be sharp out of the gates after a five-day layoff following their 40-35 loss to Elmhurst York in the title game of the holiday tournament, but his worry was unnecessary.
After G-K kept things close for the first few minutes, Sycamore went on a 24-0 run that spanned from five minutes left in the first quarter to just less than five in the second.
Bailey Gilbert scored nine of her game-high 16 points during the run, Taiya Hopkins and Lauren Goff added four, and the Spartans led, 31-5.
“The girls came out hard and competed and did a very good job on defense and let the offense take care of itself,” Brett Goff said. “It’s a good time to work on some things, we haven’t pressed a whole lot, and really, we emphasized tonight getting offense from our defense.”
Playing in their first game in more than two weeks, the Cogs came out much-improved in the second half.
The Spartans committed six turnovers over four minutes of the third quarter, two of which came off off of steals from Andrea Strohmaier and Katie Thurlby, who had three in the game. Freshman Julie Galauner scored all of her team-high eight points in the second half, and the Cogs outscored the Spartans, 11-10, in the fourth.
“We came out slow, and that’s my biggest concern with having the two-and-a-half week layoff in between games, and we played a good team, a quality team, one of the best we’re going to see all year,” G-K coach Kyle Henkel said. “They play in-your-face defense, which I hope is good for us. It’s kind of a wake-up call maybe.”
The Spartans, meanwhile, keep progressing.
After finding their flaws during a successful holiday tournament, they were able to improve on them Friday.
“I think playing the bigger, better schools really helped us find things that we needed to work on, and we worked on them,” Gilbert said. “I think that’s going to help us in the conference games as well.”