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Lincoln hands Skyhawks first loss of season

Reality check

Sauk Valley's Kayla Barlow lays the ball up as Lincoln's Alexis Freeman defends during Monday's game at Sauk Valley Community College. Barlow had 18 points, but the Skyhawks lost 78-67.
Sauk Valley's Kayla Barlow lays the ball up as Lincoln's Alexis Freeman defends during Monday's game at Sauk Valley Community College. Barlow had 18 points, but the Skyhawks lost 78-67.

DIXON –  Jed Johnson called timeout and brought his Sauk Valley Skyhawks women's basketball team to the bench on Monday night. 

Five minutes had ticked off the clock against Lincoln and already the Skyhawks were down 11 points. 

The timeout speech consisted of reminding his players that they could not just show up and win. 

The timeout helped, but the hole was already too big for a rally as the Skyhawks' suffered their first loss of the season, 78-67. 

The sluggish start was partly attributed to overconfidence after an 81-34 win over Olive Harvey on Saturday. 

"We're a real young team and sometimes the worse thing that can happen is to come out and win that first game by 50 points," Johnson said. "Hopefully this loss opened their eyes a little bit. We'll come back tomorrow and probably be a little bit more coachable." 

Lincoln scored 18 of the first 20 points of the game as guards Ally Friday and Cassidy Jennings couldn't seem to miss a shot.

Jennings hit four 3-pointers in the game and scored a game-high 22 points. Friday hit three 3s and scored 21.  

The hot shooting led to frustration by the Skyhawk defense. 

"Every thing they threw up was going in," sophomore Lydia Box said. "Part of it was our defense giving them open looks. We weren't communicating enough to play good defense, and they were really good shooters."

The Skyhawks clawed back into the game the rest of the first half, then made a 6-0 run in the last minute to cut Lincoln's lead to 43-36. 

Box, a 5-foot, 8-inch shooting guard, willed the team back scoring all of her 17 points in the first half. She left the game midway through the second half with an ankle injury. 

She also had 11 rebounds, four steals and two assists. 

"I thought we used up a lot of energy making that comeback," Johnson said. "We got back in it, but didn't have enough to stay in it."

Lincoln started the second half with a 6-0 run, then went on a 10-0 run after Sauk closed within nine at 53-44. 

The lead stayed in double-digits the rest of the way despite some nifty moves from quick point guard Kayla Barlow. 

Barlow scored 16 of her 18 points after half. She also dished out four assists. 

Arlicia Turner had 14 points and six rebounds, and Newman grad Brianna Richardson had 10 points. 

Sauk (1-1) will host Rock Valley on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Rock Valley won the NJCAA Division III national championship last year. 

"That will be another good test," Box said. "We actually beat them last year so they'll be looking to get one back. We'll need to be ready and play better on Thursday." 

Star of the game: Ally Friday, Lincoln, 21 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists

Key performers: Cassidy Jennings, Lincoln, 22 points, 4 3s; Lydia Box, Sauk Valley, 17 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals; Kayla Barlow, Sauk Valley, 18 points, 4 assists. 

Up next: Rock Valley at Sauk Valley, 5:30 p.m. Thursday

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