Balanced scoring attack leads Sycamore into regional finals
PLANO – It wasn't just the Bailey Gilbert show Wednesday evening at the Class 3A Plano Regional.
Sure, Sycamore's go-to scorer led the Spartans with 14 points, but she had plenty of help in the Spartans' 55-27 win over Rochelle in the regional semifinals. Nine Spartans got on the scoresheet in the victory, with senior Baylee Foresman adding 12 points and Taiya Hopkins finishing with 11.
Top-seeded Sycamore will play the winner of Wednesday's other semifinal between No. 2 seed Plano and third-seeded Kaneland Friday at 7 p.m. The Spartans' victory was their first postseason win since 2011. Sycamore hasn't been in a regional final since 2004 and the Spartans haven't won a regional championship since 2003.
As the season has gone on, Foresman said teams have keyed on Gilbert more and more, opening things up for the rest of the team.
"That makes a huge difference, when they're focusing on Bailey then they don't help off of her," Foresman said. "So she's able to make – they're hard passes for her, but we're always open because teams put a double (team) on her."
The Spartans started spreading their scoring around in the first quarter, when they had six players get on the board. Sycamore took an early 7-3 lead after a Julia Moll bucket and never looked back. The Spartans led 29-12 at halftime, with Gilbert putting in a layup off of a turnover with 40 seconds left. The Hubs were never able to get back in the game.
"I thought we did a really nice job running our offense and getting really deep inside the lane, where we were able to run some nice passes for some easy points," Sycamore coach Brett Goff said. "We didn't have to rely on Bailey to do the scoring tonight. The girls stepped up and really scored from the get-go, which was nice to see at this point in the year."
Wednesday's game was Sycamore's first contest since being upset at Kaneland Friday, a game which cost the Spartans a share of the Northern Illinois Big 12 East title.
Goff said it was important to get off to a quick lead, and put that one in the rear view mirror.
"I was telling my assistant coach, we've got to get off to a fast start today. If we don't, Friday night's going to creep back in our minds, and we don't want that to happen," Goff said. "Luckily, we did get off to a good start. We've got to score some points off our defense, and we were able to do that tonight."