With his team now in Class 3A, Genoa-Kingston girls basketball coach Kyle Henkel wants the chance to play some bigger schools in nonconference contests in preparation for the postseason.
What better opponent than Sycamore, a school which sits roughly 10 miles down the road? The Spartans were too much for the Cogs when the two teams met Jan. 3, with Sycamore posting a 56-28 win.
However, it’s a matchup Henkel wants to see continue in the future.
“I would like to [keep playing Sycamore]. I know we didn’t give them much of a game this year. I know last year all but the third quarter we played them pretty tight,” he said. “I would like to use it as a game to prep for the postseason, one of those tough nonconference games, and as a measuring stick.”
Sycamore coach Brett Goff said the game is a good fit for his program, and he wants the series to continue as well.
“It was a good atmosphere,” he said. “I enjoy playing against them. Kyle does a good job.”
Spartans, Foxes play two: Sycamore and Yorkville will tip off a little earlier tonight, at 5:30 p.m. as the first part of a girls-boys doubleheader. DeKalb will also have the same format at Rochelle.
For any girls basketball team, it’s nice to be out in front of the bigger crowd with the boys playing the nightcap. There’s also a minor change in routine for a team like Sycamore that’s used to having a sophomore game beforehand.
Teams have to get to the gym and be ready to play right away, there’s no down time.
“It’s kind of like a holiday tournament I would say,” Goff said. “It’s not something we’re not used to. It’s just the change in the daily functions of the game I guess.”
Royals’ schedule paying off: Heading into Thursday’s big Little Ten contest against Serena, Hinckley-Big Rock’s overall record wasn’t flashy by any means.
However, a lot of that is because of the tough schedule the Royals played in the nonconference slate. The only Class 1A schools on H-BR’s schedule are teams in the Little Ten, and the Royals were in the thick of the league race heading into Thursday.
“Sometimes it gets a little frustrating,” H-BR coach Greg Burks said. “We’ve lost some close games where we would have liked to have done some things different.”
VIEWS: Teams make the most out of terrible weather
Coaches for every winter sport were thrown a curveball earlier this week, with the dreadful below-zero weather which hit the area.
No school meant numerous cancellations, and practice time was lost as well. Unfortunately, there’s going to be a few practices or games which end up being casualties up here in the Midwest every single season.
On Tuesday, teams were at least able to hold optional practices or shootarounds.
Luckily, coaches like Genoa-Kingston’s Kyle Henkel said they received good showings, something which says a lot considering how awful the weather was.
Henkel understands that it’s going to be tough to make it out with the below-zero weather, but he was happy with his turnout considering the circumstances.
“It was good to see the girls. The ball was in their court so it was totally in their choice,” Henkel said. “It shows that this group does have the right mindset.”
Hinckley-Big Rock was faced with a critical Little Ten Conference game Thursday against Serena.
The Royals’ game Monday against Lisle was canceled, although H-BR coach Greg Burks hopes to get it rescheduled.
It was unfortunate that Burks lost a true practice in preparation for the critical game Thursday night, but his team was able to hold an open gym Tuesday where the Royals were able to do some scrimmaging.
“It is what it is, that’s the nature of things,” Burks said. “You’ve just got to adapt and adjust. Hopefully look at the next opponent in front of us.”
Hopefully, the bad weather will subside as we get towards the stretch run, and the final conference games and postseason contests don’t have to be interrupted.
• Steve Nitz is a sports reporter for the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached via email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @SNitz_DDC.
SPOTLIGHT ON ...
Indian Creek, sophomore, forward
Diehl, one of a few talented sophomores for the Timberwolves, scored 14 points in a loss at Class 3A Woodstock on Saturday.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Sycamore at Yorkville, 5:30 p.m. tonight
The first half of a boys-girls doubleheader, the Foxes will provide a nice test for the Spartans, who currently lead the Northern Illinois Big 12 East.
Seneca at Hinckley-Big Rock, 6 p.m., Saturday
Yet another tough nonconference challenge for the Royals, who have played their share of bigger schools this season.
Kaneland at Burlington Central, 6 p.m. Saturday
Knights make the short trip to face a Rockets team with a good shot at making a nice postseason run.
1. Sycamore (10-4, 2-0 Northern Illinois Big 12 East)
Spartans could be tested by Yorkville tonight.
2. DeKalb (9-6, 1-1 NI Big 12 East)
Barbs still having trouble scoring consistently.
3. Kaneland (9-8, 2-1 NI Big 12 East)
Coming off a long break, Knights face a good Burlington Central team Saturday.
4. Hinckley-Big Rock (7-10, 3-2 Little Ten)
Overall record may not be flashy, but H-BR is right in the thick of the Little Ten race.
5. Indian Creek (10-9, 4-1 LTC)
Timberwolves had an easy time with Mooseheart Wednesday, winning 46-14.
6. Genoa-Kingston (5-10, 1-2 Big Northern East)
G-K coach Kyle Henkel said Sycamore game will help prepare his team for the Class 3A postseason.
7. Hiawatha (2-10, 0-5 LTC)
Hawks still looking for their first conference win.