DeKALB – For about six minutes Monday against Dixon, the DeKalb girls basketball team seemed to turn a corner against the Duchesses press, not succumbing to the turnovers that recently have plagued the Barbs.
But after DeKalb took care of the ball for most of the first quarter, the Duchesses forced 24 turnovers over the next two-plus quarters for a 52-33 win.
“Sometimes it takes a little while to get into the game or anything, but we have to get into it and keep going and going,” said Dixon forward Harvest Day, who had 14 points and six rebounds in the win. “We want to win every single game, so our minds have to be in it and we have to be in it for each other.”
[ Photos: DeKalb, Dixon girls basketball meet Monday ]
Aside from scoring the first bucket, the Barbs (11-12) trailed the entire game against the Duchesses (21-3). Dixon got to the free-throw line early and often against DeKalb, reaching the bonus in the first quarter and the double bonus with 5:18 still left in the first half.
Still, DeKalb trailed 22-14 at the break. But Day and the Duchesses came out red hot, scoring the first eight points in just more than two minutes, including the first four by Day.
“We came out at halftime and we knew we needed to step it up,” Day said. “We were playing good, we were winning, but we knew we could really step it up a level.”
Dixon forced 26 turnovers in the game, scoring 19 points off of them. The Duchesses also got to the line 18 times compared to only five for the Barbs.
The Barbs turned the ball over 13 times in the first quarter of their game Thursday against Metea Valley. Coach Brad Bjelk said even with the Dixon press, his team was able to control the tempo well during the opening stretch.
“I thought we were a little more composed,” Bjelk said. “We just slowed it down some, we didn’t have our foot on our gas at all times. We were more patient. We looked to reverse the ball. We looked to get the ball more towards the middle and avoid that trap.”
Dixon led 42-18 after three quarters and was able to rest its starters in the fourth.
“Some nights [the press] is going to be one facet of your game that is going to take you where you want to go,” Dixon coach Luke Ravlin said. “Tonight we had to get up and pressure a little bit more, and I was glad to see us do that.”
Morgan Hargrave hit a pair of 3-pointers and had eight points for the Duchesses, who had 11 players score. Kait Knipple scored six points and nabbed four steals, and Abby Knipple (5 assists, 3 steals), Katie Drew (5 rebounds, 4 steals) and Hannah Steinmeyer (4 steals) all scored four points. Hallie Williamson chipped in three points and seven rebounds for Dixon.
The DeKalb starters combined to score only six points in the game. Senior Ariana Smith led the Barbs with 15 points. Cayla Evans had a game-best seven rebounds. Sophomore Brytasia Long had her second impactful game in a row for DeKalb with 14 points, four rebounds and four steals.
Bjelk said she’s been playing on the varsity team for a couple weeks and is excited to see what the 5-foot-7 forward brings to the table.
“The game today was evident on how much potential she has as a sophomore,” Bjelk said. “She stepped right in and was aggressive, confident. She’s a very talented player.”