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Nitz: Tides almost turned for Sycamore

Barbs hold off Gilbert’s comeback to beat Sycamore

Published: Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT
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(Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com)
DeKalb's Madelyne Johnson drives to the basket Friday during the second quarter at the Convocation Center in DeKalb. DeKalb defeated Sycamore, 46-42.

DeKALB – Friday night’s DeKalb-Sycamore girls basketball game at the Northern Illinois Convocation Center looked like it could be a different story than the one fans of these teams are used to.

DeKalb has dominated this series in recent seasons, just as the Barbs have dominated the Northern Illinois Big 12 East, winning the league title in its first three years of existence.

However, the tide seemed to have been turning Sycamore’s way heading into Friday. The Spartans had beaten the Barbs in the teams’ first meeting back in December, and came into the game undefeated in the conference, controlling their own destiny towards a title.

Friday night however, DeKalb was the dominant team for three quarters in a 46-42 victory, as Sycamore junior guard Bailey Gilbert’s ferocious comeback wasn’t enough. Gilbert’s 30-point output was the main highlight for the Spartans. She scored at will in the fourth, scoring 21 points. The effort gave the game some juice.

At the Convo, DeKalb looked like the same team that has had its way with Sycamore the past few years. However, the Spartans’ win back in December and comeback attempt Friday shows that they’re at least closing the gap in a matchup that should be fun to watch next season.

It looks like the matchup is becoming a rivalry once again. As they say, it can’t be a rivalry unless both teams have some success.

Next year, most of the players on each roster return, including Gilbert, DeKalb forward Madelyne Johnson, who had 15 points and nine rebounds, as well as Barbs sophomore point guard Brittney Patrick.

While DeKalb’s win was more lopsided than the score indicated, things seem to be evening out between the two schools.

“We came in respecting them, but not being afraid of them, which is a good point of view for us I think,” Gilbert said.

This round still went to DeKalb, which is now tied with Sycamore in the NI Big 12 East race. If both teams run through the rest of league play unbeaten, they’ll share the league crown.

When these two schools met earlier this season, the Spartans proved the NI Big 12 East wasn’t going to be a one-team show. Friday night, it was DeKalb with something to prove.

“Last time we lost. We had to prove that we were better than them,” DeKalb junior guard Jasmine Malloy said. “I thought that was a really good win.”

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