DeKALB – Sanaa Finner quite literally picked up where she left off for the DeKalb girls basketball team, hitting three 3-pointers, including the first points of the game in a 48-40 win Tuesday over Metea Valley.
“It gives me a confidence booster in my shot,” Finner said of hitting a game winning 3-point shot Thursday at the buzzer. “It makes me think I can hit most of my shots.”
Finner finished with nine points and four rebounds for the Barbs (4-3 overall, 1-0 DuPage Valley Conference) in DeKalb’s first appearance in its new conference.
Amina Gray led the Barbs with 13 points and added three rebounds and four steals. Kayla Webb came off the bench for a game-high eight rebounds to go with eight points and a pair of steals. Ashley Nelson added 10 for DeKalb.
Nyla Hart had 10 points to lead the Mustangs (3-4, 0-1).
After opening the game with a 3, Finner hit two more. She started an 11-0 run for the Barbs with a 3-pointer that built a double-digit lead in what had been a back-and-forth game.
“This summer she really committed to consistently knocking down shots for us,” DeKalb coach Tyler Bantz said. “She’s probably our most consistent outside-shooting threat. I think it’s more confidence than anything, ’cause in the past she was a little unsure of herself with knocking down those shots. Now she really thinks all of her shots are going in, and that’s the mindset a great shooter has to have.”
Five different Barbs scored during the surge, which ended with a jumper for Kira Klapprodt to start the third quarter.
The game feature six lead changes in the first half, including on five straight second-quarter possessions.
But the Barbs started capitalizing on turnovers and offensive rebounds – the 11-0 run featured four points off turnovers plus a putback.
DeKalb finished with a 29-24 rebounding edge, including 9-5 on the offensive glass. The Barbs also forced 22 turnovers leading to 15 points while turning the ball over 15 times for six Mustang points.
Metea Valley got as close as three points in the fourth quarter. Up five, Gray came up with a steal and fed Florence Omodayo for a layup, pushing the Barbs’ lead to seven with 3:21 left.
“We got a little sloppy, especially in the middle of that fourth quarter,” Bantz said. “We made a couple plays down the stretch, Flo made that putback [with 3:21 left to push the lead to 43-36], which was good to see. Then we made some free throws down the stretch. So it’s a step in the right direction, although it would have been nice to see us put the foot on the gas and win going away. But wins are hard to come by, so we’ll take a win however we can get it.”