DIXON – One glimpse at the halftime stat line told the story of another early season loss for the Sauk Valley Skyhawks on Thursday.
While the second-half stats looked much better, that was not enough for the Skyhawks to rally past the defending NJCAA Division III national champions from Rock Valley College.
Sauk lost its second home game of the week, 59-48.
"I don't think we knew which team we were on the first half," Sauk Valley coach Jed Johnson said. "All we did was throw it to them, and that's something we haven't been doing this season."
Sauk Valley (1-2) had 20 turnovers in the first half, made only four of 21 shots from the field and didn't hit a field goal in the last 11 minutes, 20 seconds of the half. The Skyhawks scored just four points during that stretch, all from the free-throw line.
"We just weren't being patient," freshman Sheldeen Joseph said. "We were rushing down the court and throwing the ball around. After half, we were more relaxed, and we started to come back."
Joseph's bucket with 11:20 left in the first half tied the score at 9. That was the last field goal for Sauk until Brianna Richardson hit a jumper 30 seconds into the second half.
Rock Valley pulled ahead, leading by as many as 20 points at 31-11 with 22 seconds left in the first half.
The Skyhawks cut the lead to 14 at 43-29 after Lydia Box hit two free throws with 12:54 left in the game. The foul was Revonnia Howard's fourth.
Howard, a 6-2 forward, had been the most disruptive force on the Rock Valley defense. Moments after going to the bench, fellow starter Brianna Walker picked up her fourth foul.
"[Howard] is a good player, and did a lot of things you wouldn't expect with her size," Johnson said. "In the second half, we did a better job of attacking her and getting her into foul trouble. That had been the plan from the start."
With Howard out, Sauk cut the lead down to nine points at 51-42 with 6 minutes left.
When Howard returned, the lead bumped back out to 12 points. Sauk made one final run, getting as close as eight points at 56-48 with 1:30 left.
One thing that hurt the rally was the inability to limit Rock Valley to one-shot possessions. The Eagles out-rebounded Sauk 49-35.
"At this level, you have to have all five girls going after the ball," Johnson said. "We're not there yet. They get into position, but don't secure the rebound. It's something we're going to have to get better at."
Lydia Box led the Sauk Valley charge, scoring all 17 of her points after half. She also had 15 rebounds and four steals. Joseph had 11 points.
Howard had 15 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and four steals. Keshawnee Alley added 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Star of the game: Revonnia Howard, Rock Valley, 15 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks, 4 steals
Key performers: Keshawnee Alley, Rock Valley, 12 points, 11 rebounds; Lydia Box, Sauk Valley, 15 rebounds, 4 steals.
Up next: Sauk Valley at Madison Tech, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday