GENESEO — The Geneseo Lady Leafs ran into a one-player unstoppable force in Sycamore junior forward and Iowa State recruit Kylie Feuerbach in their Tuesday night home game.
Feuerbach’s 34 points and 12 points were too much for the Leafs to handle as Sycamore (14-6, 5-1 in conference) capitalized on a strong run in the third quarter to beat Geneseo, 53-40.
The Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference match-up featured two teams expected to compete for the championship in Geneseo’s final season before entering the Western Big 6. The loss left the Lady Leafs at 15-5 on the season, and 4-2 in conference play.
“Kylie Feuerbach is good, really good,” said Geneseo coach Scott Hardison. “She was hot, especially in the second half, and seemed to get into the heads of our players, mainly regarding our defensive positioning and intensity.”
Geneseo opened the game with their typical zone defensive pressure, and led at the end of the first quarter, 13-9. Junior guard Keeli Frerichs provided both defensive and offensive leadership in the early going, scoring six points in the first period, and playing a key role in five Sycamore turnovers in the quarter.
The Spartans ignited their offense in the secnd quarter, though. Feuerbach finished the first half with 18 points, and the game was tied at 24 at halftime.
“At halftime we knew we needed to make some defensive adjustments to keep Sycamore from getting easy fast-break baskets, but we couldn’t create the help-side defensive response that we needed to put pressure on Feuerbach in the third quarter,” said Hardison.
Sycamore opened the third period with a nine-point run, and outscored Geneseo 21-4 in the quarter. “We weren’t able to apply our full-court pressure, which is an important part of our defensive package, and we definitely needed to do a better job of rebounding from a team standpoint,” Hardison said.
Geneseo senior forward Hannah Himmelman and freshman guard Kammie Ludwig provided intensity for the Leafs in the second half, and Geneseo held Sycamore to eight points in the fourth quarter, but the Spartan huge third period proved too much to overcome.
“We held a team meeting after the game, and placed our focus on putting the game behind us and getting back to the basics, shoring up our half-court defense, especially our positioning,” said Hardison. “We know that we are a good team, our defense controls the pace of play, and once we make some critical adjustments, we will be fine.”
In addition to Kylie Feuerbach’s 34 points and 12 rebounds, Sycamore also prospered from freshman Faith Feuerbach’s 6 points, and junior Faith Klemm’s 4 points and 7 assists.
Geneseo was led by Frerichs with 12 points, Himmelman with 10 points and 5 rebounds, Ludwig with 8 points and 6 rebounds, and sophomore Maddi Barickman with 8 points.
In the sophomore game, Geneseo defeated Sycamore, 46-34.