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Girls basketball: Genoa-Kingston's season ends with regional loss to Belvidere

MARENGO – The sixth-seeded Genoa-Kingston girls basketball team rallied late, but couldn’t finish a comeback against the No. 10 Belvidere Bucs as the Cogs fell, 33-30, in the quarterfinal of the Class 3A Marengo Regional.

“The season’s over. I think everybody in [the locker room] knows as well as I do that it was a bad night to have a bad night. And that’s just what it was,” G-K coach Kyle Henkel said.

The Cogs struggled with their offense all night, but still had a chance to take the lead late in the game.

Cogs senior forward Taylor Gilbert drove up the court with 30 seconds left in the game down, 28-27, but Bucs guard Maya Smith stripped the ball on the sideline before she could make it to half court.

Gilbert immediately fouled her, and Smith hit her free throws to put the Bucs up, 30-27. Smith would hit two more free throws to put her team up by five.

Freshman guard Lily McPherson drained a 3-pointer to put the Cogs within striking distance with seven seconds left, but Smith hit another free throw, and the Cogs couldn’t get off another shot before the final buzzer sounded.

The Cogs (15-12) couldn’t generate much offense until the fourth quarter, when Gilbert took the game into her hands.

“I knew we weren’t down by that much and we were in the bonus. I knew I had to drive and hopefully score, and if I didn’t score, I’d go to the free-throw line,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert scored nine of her team leading 12 points in the final quarter.

The Bucs (6-21) offense came alive in the second half, sparked by senior Mkahla Miner.

Miner scored all nine points for the Bucs in the third quarter and hit a trey in the fourth to put Belvidere up by 10 points with 5:22 left in the fourth quarter. She finished with 13 points.

“The second half we tried to get Miner open on the shots she’s good at hitting, running along the baseline and getting our guards moving,” Belvidere coach Christina Douglas said.

By the numbers: Senior guard Veronica Cieslica filled up the stat sheet for the Cogs with five points, five steals, and four rebounds. Taylor Gilbert and Hannah Schwichtenberg both had five rebounds to lead the Cogs.

Beyond the stats: Genoa-Kingston opened their season with a buzzer-beater to defeat Belvidere, 40-37.

They said it: “I was expecting to win, but I knew we had to work for it. They were already wanting to beat us because of how the first game went. We banked in a three at the end,” Gilbert said.

Up next: Belvidere will face top-seeded Burlington Central in the Marengo Regional semifinal on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

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