MAPLE PARK – Taylor Seaton’s impact on the offensive end could perhaps best be found along the baseline and around the rim.
The senior returned from a concussion Friday, and made her presence felt during Kaneland’s 52-39 win over Ottawa on Friday.
“[With Taylor] being left-handed usually helps her a little bit initially in a game,” Kaneland coach Kelsey Flanagan said. “Because teams, even if you know somebody is left-handed, you got to adjust a little bit mentally about the way you’re playing somebody. She does have the ability to kind of slice through some defenders and get to the rim, and she was doing that pretty well tonight.”
Seaton, who missed the past week of action, had to ramp back up into basketball activities. Seaton returned to her first full practice on Thursday. Prior to her absence, she felt like “she was really improving with the team overall.”
“Helping the overall team has just helped me individually, too,” said Seaton, who had 15 points and six rebounds to pace the Knights.
Seaton, who scored eight of her 15 points in the second quarter, missed two games. Seaton admitted it was difficult to sit out – but “it’s really nice to be back.”
The Knights (15-10, 9-2) lost their first regular season matchup to Ottawa (19-4, 9-3) on Jan. 8, but were able to force 11 turnovers and turn up the heat defensively throughout the game.
“We’ve been working a lot on just forcing those turnovers [and] denying the wing in practice,” Seaton said. “It’s really been paying off in games. We played Plano earlier in the week and that was a good game for us to build those skills. We were able just to pull through in this game and enhance those skills.”
“[Ottawa’s] first nine points or so were pretty in rhythm shots, but outside of that, we definitely talked about that and made some adjustments,” Flanagan said. “We were able to make sure all their 3s were contested from there on out. We talked about trying to deny the high post so they couldn’t get those handoffs and swing-backs. We did a good job of jumping and getting steals in the high post.”
The Knights earned solid contributions from McKenzie Schueler (13 points), Lexi Schueler (six points) and Kat Marshall (10 points).
“We’re a team that is built on our defense, and I think we’ve been giving up south of 30 points per game for the season. We gave up 53 points [tonight],” Ottawa coach Brent Moore said. “We just weren’t good enough on [the] defensive end. We couldn’t guard the basketball good enough.”
Ottawa was paced by Brooke Waddell and Zoe Harris with 11 points apiece. Cheyenne Joachim had five rebounds.
“They got to the rim at ease,” Moore said. “Which, hey, when you have a hard time guarding the basketball [and] you get beat north and south, you’re either free liberties at the rim. Or you’re kicking the space shooters, and they’re getting clean looks. Credit Kaneland. They were ready and they played good basketball.”