SYCAMORE – It took Kylie Feuerbach only 2 minutes, 30 seconds Tuesday to be called for two fouls as the Sycamore girls basketball team took on Sandwich in a Class 3A Sycamore Regional semifinal.
Spartans coach Adam Wickness left her in and reaped the rewards.
Feuerbach stayed in the game for most of the first half en route to
25 points and 10 rebounds, helping the Spartans knock off the Indians, 47-34.
“If she gets four fouls in the first half, then I’ll sit her,” Wickness said. “It’s not a tough decision at all. You want your best players on the court for the most time possible, and that’s always been my philosophy. If they get two early fouls, I make them play through it, and they have to learn or else they’ll be on the bench one way or another.”
Feuerbach eventually went to the bench with her third foul with 3:44 left in the first half, but the Spartans (23-5) had a 23-11 lead at that point. She finished the half with 17 points.
She started the third quarter, picked up her fourth foul with 58.5 seconds left and went to the bench, but was back to start the fourth quarter, hitting a 3-pointer to snap a 10-0 run for the Indians (16-11) and push the Sycamore lead to 39-24.
“I’m known for getting fouls real easily, so it’s nice when I stay in,” Feuerbach said. “If I sit out, I feel cold after a while. Sometimes when the ref calls one of those silly fouls, it’s frustrating, but it helps you play better.”
Sandwich had an early 7-4 lead and had a chance to increase it, but struggled shooting in the first half, connecting on only 5 of its 25 shots.
“We know how good Sycamore is,” Sandwich coach Chris Johnson said. “The first half, I wish more shots would have fallen down for us. For the season, we’ve shot around 35 percent, so we’re not the greatest shooting team. So we had to dig ourselves out of holes a couple times, and each time we kinda did come back.”
With the win, the Spartans advance to the regional final against Kaneland. The Knights won, 53-50, against St. Edward in the other semifinal, with best player Jenni Weber missing the game with an injury.
“I know Jenni’s tough and she wants to be out there and she’s a gamer,” Wickness said. “It’s just a matter of adjusting to the game plan. We still have an idea of who they are. We’ve played them twice already. I hate playing teams more than twice in a season. It’s always hard to beat a team three times.”
By the numbers: Sarah Ness led the Indians with 18 points and six steals as the Indians forced 23 turnovers. Jacki Rapp had seven points for Sycamore, and Maddie Dawson had seven for Sandwich. Faith Reynolds had nine rebounds for the Spartans.
Beyond the stats: Sycamore led, 13-9, at the start of the second quarter when Faith Klemm nearly came up with a steal twice on a Sandwich possession, and eventually forced a travel with some stingy defense. Feuerbach then knocked down a jumper as the Spartans, after closing the first quarter with five straight points, started the second with seven straight.
They said it: “We didn’t look our sharpest, which was a little disheartening, but the whole point is survive and move on,” Wickness said. “I’m proud of the girls for that. They came out and competed. There’s some things we’re going to shore up by Thursday because either of the teams we’re going to be playing are good.”
Up next: The Spartans face the Knights at 7 p.m. Thursday in Sycamore, with the winner heading to the Genoa-Kingston Sectional.