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Free-throw woes cost Kaneland
By John Lemon | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 1/19/2013 10:51 PM

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There’s been better weekends for the Kaneland girls basketball team.

If the Knights thought a 1-point overtime loss to Sycamore was tough to take Friday when their opponent got to the free-throw line 37 times to their 12, Saturday proved to be even more painful.

Kaneland led LaSalle-Peru by 8 points in the fourth quarter in a Northern Illinois Big 12 crossover only to go ice cold at the free-throw line.

The Knights missed seven straight free throws at one point and were just 2 for 14 over the final four minutes as their 43-35 lead turned into a 49-47 loss.

“As people were going up I was confident the next person was going to hit and it never happened,” Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe said. “We tried to keep them positive, don’t overthink it, and it just didn’t happen.”

What was even worse for Kaneland (12-9) was that while the Knights couldn’t buy a point at the line they kept sending LaSalle-Peru (8-12) to the stripe. Just a 59-percent shooting team, the Lady Cavs got hot making 11 of 14 over the same stretch.

A tight game throughout, Ashley Prost’s steal and layup followed a 3-pointer from Allyson O’Herron and finally seemed to have the Knights in control up 8 with just over four minutes left.

On its next four possessions LaSalle-Peru got fouled four times and made 7 of the free throws to pull within 43-42.

“We fouled too much. We sent them to the line quite a bit,” Colombe said.

The Lady Cavs finally scored from the field on a 3 from Brianna Argubright for a 45-43 lead with 2:15 left. Twice Kaneland got fouled down by two points with a chance to tie, and both times they went 0 for 2.

Down 49-46, Kaneland had one last chance after a steal by Prost with four seconds to go. Prost was fouled shooting a 3 and went to the line with 2.4 seconds left.

Prost’s first attempt rimmed out. She made her next to cut the lead to 2, then somehow got the rebound on her missed third attempt but couldn’t get a 5-foot shot to drop to force overtime.

“We had a few opportunities to extend that (lead) at the line and we didn’t and I think it became a mental issue,” Colombe said. “In basketball sometimes you go to the line half of it is just stepping up wanting the ball. I think once a few people missed it looked like to me we were going to the line hoping we were going to make it instead of just saying this is something we do every single day in practice and shooting with confidence. That was definitely frustrating.”

LaSalle-Peru only made 12 field goals in the game, 8 of them 3s. Argubright led the Lady Cavs with 12 points.

“Most exciting game I’ve ever coached,” said fourth-year Lady Cavs coach Hollis Vickery. “We’ve been struggling. We’re not a bad team. We have backed down before, tonight we didn’t back down, we took it right back at them. We finished it.”

Prost finished with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. O’Herron added 12 points and Emma Bradford 9 points and 6 rebounds.

“Just move on and try to stay positive,” Colombe said. “It’s definitely been a disappointing last two nights but just like life in general try to learn a lesson from it and move on.”