It was a step up in competition this year for the Sycamore competitive dance team but the Spartans didn’t disappoint, according to coach Kelly Bolander.
Moving up from Class 1A to 2A this season, the Sycamore dance team finished sixth in the state during the IHSA Championships this weekend in Bloomington, Illinois.
Sycamore placed sixth out of 12 teams, finishing with 90.62 points behind Fenton (91.22), Antioch (92.38), Lake Forest (94.12), Geneva (94.94) and first-place Lake Zurich (95.38).
“Our girls came here and showed they could compete with the best,” Bolander said. “There were a lot of nerves at first, but after they got out on the floor they really killed it.”
Despite it being Sycamore dance coaches Hannah Bohn and Bolander’s first year leading the Spartans, they were pleased with their team’s performance throughout the year. Bolander said the team incorporated a variety of new moves for its performance this weekend at state, including several difficult turns.
Bolander said sophomore Amanda Veldhuzen led the Spartans during a difficult turn series at state.
“Amanda held it down,” she said of Veldhuzen. “The twists and turns we focused on were really hard, but she has continued to show she’s capable of stepping up and being a leader for our team.”
Sycamore’s dance team consisted of 12 members - the smallest team of 2A competition, according to Bolander. She said some teams competed with 14, 16 and even 18 members. The bigger and more experienced teams didn’t discourage the Spartans.
“We came in here knowing we’d be competing against some really amazing teams like Geneva, who had won state four years in a row leading up to this weekend,” Bolander said. “But we were neck-and-neck with Geneva and all the teams at the top.”
Sycamore’s dance team will continue to perform at home basketball games until the end of the season before having tryouts for next year’s team during the spring.
“We showed our girls are the real deal. We’re incredibly proud of all of them,” Bolander said.
NIU women’s basketball loses sixth straight game
Northern Illinois’ losing streak extended to six games after the Huskeis fell 81-72 to Ball State on Saturday afternoon in Muncie, Indiana.
The Huskies were unable to overcome a slow start. NIU was outscored 20-10 in the first quarter and never led during the game. Saturday’s loss marked the ninth conference game for NIU to have been decided by 10 points or less.
NIU (10-10, 2-7 Mid-American Conference) committed 21 turnovers. Ball State capitalized on NIU’s mistakes, converting 28 points off turnovers.
The Huskies were also outrebounded 49 to 44 and gave up 17 offensive rebounds, which resulted in 15 second-chance points for the Cardinals. NIU coach Lisa Carlsen said the difference between winning and losing was NIU’s turnovers and the battle of the boards.
“We knew those were going to be two keys going into the game,” Carlsen said.”We just didn’t have the critical possessions where we gave ourselves a chance. We either turned it over or we’d get a stop, but give up an offensive board. That’s the story of the game.”
Courtney Woods led NIU with 37 points and 15 rebounds.
NIU men’s hoops suffers setback at Western Michigan
Northern Illinois was topped by Western Michigan, 79-72, Saturday in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Huskies (10-11, 3-5 Mid-American) have yet to win a conference road game this season.
Both teams shot well from the field - NIU finished shooting 50 percent (29 of 58) compared to Western Michigan’s 53.8 percent (28 of 52) from the field.
Sophomore Eugene German scored a team-high 21 points. Juniors Levi Bradley and Dante Thorpe joined German in double figures with 20 and 10 points, respectively.
The Huskies outrebounded the Broncos 29 to 23.
“We battled for 40 minutes,” NIU coach Mark Montgomery said. “We had some bad bounces at the end and . ...We had a couple late fouls when the shot clock was running down. We held them in check on the glass the whole game, but when it was crunch time, we didn’t get stops - That’s what hurt us.”
NIU continues its road trip Tuesday when the Huskies travel to Central Michigan. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.