It has been a rough road for the Lady Cavaliers with four games in four days including a game in Kaneland on Friday and a Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division game against Geneseo Saturday in La Salle.
The visiting Maple Leafs came in and handed the Lady Cavaliers a 74-42 defeat.
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Although L-P lost, coach Hollis Vickery was happy with his squad’s efforts.
“The main theme of the day after we got down by 15 or 20 was we’re not going to give up and we didn’t,” Vickery said. “After a long layoff then a week with no practices and four games in four nights, I thought they fought as hard as they could. Give Geneseo a lot of credit, they were on their A Game (Saturday).
“It’s a combination of things that led to the score. But again, I’m proud of the girls and the way they played.”
The game started with the Lady Leafs jumping out early with a Keeli Frerichs’ layup before the Lady Cavs answered when junior Rhiannon Skoog buried a long 3-pointer to jump the Cavs into the lead.
But, Geneseo came right back with Hannah Himmelman’s short jumper to make the score 4-3 after two minutes of play.
LP would tie it with an Emma Happ free throw before the Leafs would reel off the next eight points with consecutive lay ins by Kammiee Ludwig, Josie Brown, Maddie Barrickman and Himmelman to make the score 12-4 with three minute to go in the opening period.
The Lady Cavs would battle back when Aubrie Roda would drop in consecutive driving layups for four of her team-high 19 points.
“(Roda) has really improved,” Vickery said. “Before it was just a 3 and that’s it. But now, she has it in her head that she can drive the lane and it has really picked up her game. She had 19 last night at Kaneland and had a nice game today as well. Hopefully she can continue in regionals.”
After a pair of Maple Leaf free throws, L-P junior Paige Champlin would go on a personal five-point run to tighten the score to 14-11 with 1:30 to go in the period.
But GHS would finish the frame with the final four points to make the score 18-11 after the first quarter.
The second frame saw the Lady Leafs start the quarter with a 3 before Roda drilled a three ball followed by a Lauren Phillips long two. The run was capped off by a Happ baseline runner off the glass to pull L-P within six at 24-18 with 5:25 to play in the first half.
The Maple Leafs would push their advantage to 11 with a five-point run before Josie Walter hit a pair from the charity stripe to make the score 29-20. The Lady Leafs would close out the period strong with the next seven points to give them a 36-20 at halftime.
The third stared as the second ended with GHS scoring the first seven points highlighted by Barrickman’s first of five 3-pointers she would drop in the period.
Suddenly, the Geneseo lead grew to 43-21 with only two minutes gone in the second half.
Roda would stop the run with a long 3, but Barrickman matched her with another three ball. L-P would continue to compete as Champlin muscled up a rebound for two points before Barrickman would continue her 3-point assault.
The Lady Cavs continued to show their grit when they were down by 25 (51-26) in a series of action where Happ was on the floor more than a Roomba Vacuum cleaner and came away with a steal and lay up to cut into the Maple Leaf's lead.
“(Happ) is another one that is coming on and really hustles and is all over the place,” Vickery said. “She needs to continue to improve into regionals to give us our best chance to move on.”
The Lady Leafs came out hot and outscored L-P 6-2 to push the score to 66-36 and force a running clock.
Roda would hit a couple of 3s in the fourth for the Lady Cavs, but they couldn’t catch up.
Don Baldin can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.