DeKALB – The 22 free throws the Maine South girls basketball team knocked down Monday night played a big part in the Hawks’ 49-39 win over DeKalb at the Barbs’ MLK Tournament.
Maine South’s strong performance from the line, shooting 22 of 28, also helped the Hawks after the game ended.
With the Barbs, Hawks and Oswego in a three-way tie with a 3-1 record, the tournament’s tiebreaker came into play. That was free-throw percentage, and Maine South’s mark of 77 percent over the weekend tournament gave them the overall title.
DeKalb had a free-throw percentage of 65 percent and took second.
The Barbs (16-7) defeated Stevenson, 47-39, in their first game Monday.
“We knew that there could be as many as three or four teams tied up at the top,” Maine South coach Mark Smith said. “We had shot the ball well in the first three games and ironically down the stretch they had to foul and we knocked down some free throws.”
Sophomore point guard Brittney Patrick led DeKalb with 21 points, going 6 of 12 from 3-point range. Junior forward Madelyne Johnson added six points and junior wing Paige Wogen had five. Patrick and Johnson were both named to the all-tournament team.
DeKalb led Maine South (14-9) 8-6 after the first quarter but the Barbs struggled to put the ball in the basket the next two periods, adding five points in the second and seven in the third as the Hawks pulled away, and DeKalb’s 19-point fourth quarter just wasn’t enough.
Maine South featured a 2-3 zone throughout the entire game.
“[Patrick's] a special player so we tried to prevent her from dribble penetrating into the paint,” Smith said. “Also, [Johnson], we really tried to collapse our 2-3 zone after four games in two days, really take care of the paint, make them shoot over the top of us, and it worked well.”
The Barbs had won seven games in a row heading into Monday night’s contest, and overall DeKalb coach Chris Davenport was happy with the way his team played all weekend. The Barbs also played Kaneland on Friday night and ended up playing five games in a four-day span.
“We played some good basketball teams in this, it was by design,” Davenport said. “I knew Stevenson was good, I knew Maine South was good. They’re well-coached. To go 4-1 on the weekend with a conference game tied in right before it, I’m very pleased with that.”
Johnson felt the tournament gave the team a nice confidence boost.
“Overall, we’ve gotten a lot closer and a lot better,” Johnson said. “We’ve been through so much this season, so I mean, it’s good for us to actually have something to look forward to and be proud about.”