ROCKFORD – For the second consecutive season, there was heartbreak for the DeKalb girls basketball game in its first regional game.
Hoping to earn a rematch with Huntley, the team that knocked the Barbs out of last year’s postseason, second-seeded DeKalb suffered a surprising 54-43 loss to No. 3 seed Belvidere North in the Class 4A Rockford Jefferson Regional semifinals.
DeKalb struggled with turnovers early in the first quarter as the Blue Thunder (14-15) took a 7-2 lead. Belvidere North led 10-6 at the end of the first, but the Barbs started the second quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 15-10 lead.
The Blue Thunder rebounded, ending the half on a 15-2 run, capped off by Keri Dodson’s layup in the final minute.
Dodson was a thorn in the Barbs’ side at the start of the third, hitting two free throws to put the Blue Thunder up 10 points.
Belvidere North led by 11 at the end of the third, and got out to a 13-point lead at the six-minute mark in the fourth, and the Barbs just never put together a consistent run.
Sophomore point guard Brittney Patrick led DeKalb with 20 points. Freshman wing Ashlei Lopez added nine and junior forward Madelyne Johnson finished with seven.
The Barbs weren’t helped out by 16 turnovers.
The officials also called a tight game, and the Blue Thunder seemed to get the better end of it. DeKalb had 27 team fouls and lost its two best players, as Patrick and Johnson fouled out late in the fourth. Belvidere North was whistled for just 13 team fouls.
Last season, DeKalb came into the postseason with just four losses and had hoped to make a long postseason run. Huntley, which beat Rockford East, 56-31, in the other semifinal, dashed those hopes in the Class 4A Belvidere North Regional semifinals. The Red Raiders finished fourth in Class 4A in 2013.
Unfortunately for the Barbs, they won’t get another shot at the Red Raiders, as DeKalb ended the season at 21-8.