DIXON – For a while, Sauk Valley’s eight were great, but that only lasted so long.
A short-handed SVCC women’s basketball team got the better of Parkland for more than a quarter, only to have the Cobras pull away for a 71-48 victory Wednesday night in the Skyhawks’ season opener.
Sauk Valley led by as many as 11 points (22-11) after a layup from Isabelle Kimpel with 7 minutes, 21 seconds left in the second quarter, and was still up 25-17 after a bucket from Karlee Doege with 4:05 to go until halftime.
Trouble was brewing for the Skyhawks, however, in the form of foul trouble. Freshman point guard Taylor Vance went to the bench with her third foul at the 3:46 mark of the second quarter, and the score still 25-17.
With Vance on the bench, the Cobras closed the quarter with a 10-2 surge, capped by a 3-pointer from reserve guard Alexus Cole just before halftime that knotted score at 27-27.
It was all Parkland the rest of the way, as wave after wave of Cobras wore down the Skyhawks. Hurting the SVCC cause was Vance’s limited court time. She picked up her fourth foul with 6:35 left in the third quarter, with her team trailing just 35-33.
When Vance returned at the 1:39 mark, SVCC was behind 44-33. She then fouled out with 19.4 seconds left in the quarter, on a reach-in foul.
“We can’t give away the unwanted fouls, the dumb fouls,” SVCC coach Michele Kreczmer said. “We have to know as a team we only have eight girls, and we have to be cautious of how we play our defense.”
Parkland steadily pulled away in the fourth quarter, and the final score was its largest lead. Cobras coach Mike Lindemann was less than thrilled, however, with how his team started the game.
“I don’t think they wanted to play or did play in the first half,” Lindemann said. “I don’t want to attribute that to a 3-hour bus trip – we just didn’t come ready to play to start the game. We let them know that at halftime, and they responded.”
Cole paced a balanced attack with 14 points, and was 4-for-7 from 3-point range. Emily Meinert finished with 10 points, and Crystal Mathis, Micah Tapscott and Madelyn Brouwer added eight each.
Parkland’s point guard was Rock Falls graduate Olivia Babcock. She contributed five rebounds, three steals, two blocked shots and two points to her team, and was greeted afterward by large contingent of family and friends.
“It felt nice to see so many supporters from my hometown,” Babcock said, “especially from my high school. My high school team came and watched me. They’ve always been like sisters to me, so that was special. It just felt nice.”
Doege finished with 14 points and eight rebounds for Sauk Valley, Kimpel had a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards, and Bre Scheidegger added eight points, seven rebounds and six steals.
The Skyhawks had 10 shots blocked by the taller Cobras, and committed 23 turnovers against a relentless Parkland defense.
“I think the first half we did really good against their pressure,” Doege said. “In the second half, they started putting a lot more pressure on the ball, and we got people in foul trouble. That didn’t help us out.”
Parkland 71, Sauk Valley 48
Star of the game: Alexus Cole, Parkland, 14 points, 4-for-7 3-point shooting
Key performers: Karlee Doege, Sauk, 14 points, 8 rebounds; Isabelle Kimpel, Sauk, 11 points, 10 rebounds
Up next: Lincoln Land at Sauk Valley, 5:30 p.m. Friday