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Girls basketball: Hot-shooting Sycamore takes care of Auburn

Sycamore players huddle during a timeout with coach Adam Wickness (right) during the Spartans' 65-41 win Saturday
Sycamore players huddle during a timeout with coach Adam Wickness (right) during the Spartans' 65-41 win Saturday

SYCAMORE – Hot shooting can cover up a lot of mistakes, as the Sycamore girls basketball team found out firsthand Saturday.

The Spartans made more than half their shots in the game, making up for being outrebounded and committing more turnovers than Rockford Auburn in a 65-41 Sycamore win.

Kate Majerus and Kylie Feuerbach led the charge, shooting a combined 16 for 28 and 7 of 11 on 3-pointers. They combined for 42 points in the win.

The Spartans (9-2) never trailed in the game and scored 17 of the first
20 points against the Knights (3-9). Auburn scored 11 straight after that to pull within 17-14, but the Spartans opened up a 13-point lead at halftime and never led by less than double digits again.

Sycamore was outrebounded,
21-15, at halftime, including 16-5 on the offensive glass. But the Spartans were 14 for 21 from the floor, despite committing two more turnovers in the half.

“They were getting to the glass really easy, and we weren’t protecting the paint very well,” Sycamore coach Adam Wickness said. “We did really well in the second half, protected the paint a little better, contested their shots a little better and boxed out a little bit better. ... Luckily, shooting saved us tonight.”

The Spartans improved in the second half, allowing just six more offensive boards while still maintaining a shooting percentage of more than
50 percent.

“We did a really nice job of that one-more pass, that extra pass that got it to the open girl,” Wickness said. “And of course it doesn’t hurt when you start making shots right away. It gets everybody’s confidence up.”

Majerus scored 18, going 6 of 10 from the floor, all on 3-pointers. She also tied for a game-high with seven rebounds with Feuerbach. Majerus’ AAU coach is Auburn coach Darryl Watkins.

“I kind of knew what he went for and what his goals for the game were,” Majerus said. “It was kind of fun to play against him, and we knew the team was going to be well coached. It was a good win for us getting back on track after the Yorkville loss last week.”

Watkins said the plan was to keep Majerus and Feuerbach in check. Feuerbach finished with 24 points.

“That was kind of our game plan, keep these two kids from going off,” said Watkins, whose Knights had won two of three entering the game. “I’ve coached Kate for three years now [in] AAU, and I know how good a kid she is and how well she can shoot the ball. She can shoot about 60 percent, and that showed tonight.”

By the numbers: Faith Klemm had seven points and four steals in the win. Nia Neal added 11 points for the Knights, who used a 12-player rotation and a press defense. Priscilla Donahue and Brooklyn Thomas each had six rebounds to lead Auburn.

Beyond the stats: Sycamore scored on each of Auburn’s first six turnovers. They scored 12 points in that stretch and 19 points on 21 Knights turnovers in the game.

They said it: “It kind of gives us that little oomph if anything like that happens, if they get a lot of offensive rebounds – which they definitely did,” Majerus said of the Spartans’ hot shooting. “They were a scrappy, hustling team. So it gives us some leverage if we need that separation just in case.”

Up next: The Spartans host Hampshire at 7 p.m. Friday, while Auburn hosts Chicago Schurz at 6 p.m. Thursday.

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