By Chris Johnson

The Lady Bucs rode a wave as they closed the regular season with a split mark, matching wins and losses at one-apiece. They showed spark and it may have appeared at the right time.

The regular season and the NIC-10 battles during the last week of games helped send the Lady Bucs into the post-season with a little bit of steam. A small streak of success was realized. If it happened once, it can happen again, is what it means for Belvidere.

The playoffs began on Monday, Feb. 13 and eight-seed Belvidere had to play on opening night. Details of their contest with the seven-seed Marengo Lady Indians will be available in one of next week’s editions of the Belvidere Daily Republican. Based on seeding, Belvidere must upset the higher seed to earn a chance at the Rockford Lutheran Regional top-seed and host Lady Crusaders. They have to start hot and stay that way, and they could end up in Maple Park.

Prior to the split close to the season, Belvidere had lost 10-of-11 games. Some of those came at the hands of very tough competition.

State-ranked 16-0 Boylan put up 90-plus in a win on Jan. 13. The 14-2 Hononegah allowed 27 points to be scored against them when they came away with a win two weeks later.

Belvidere played tight against other quality teams.

On Jan. 31, 13-3 Rockford East barely snuck by with a six-point decision 49-43. Belvidere saw them slip away in the second half.

After scoring 13 points in the opening period against the Lady E-Rabs and 16 additionally in the second, Belvidere entered the second half with a good focus on a possible upset. They had to find a way to keep it going into the third following the 29-25 halftime edge. However, East wouldn’t allow it.

The Lady E-Rabs closed the regular season with a 22-6 overall mark. They had been averaging nearly 60 points a game this season. Belvidere stood strong and entered the final frame down one point, 39-38.

The fourth quarter meant more chances to shoot free throws and East’s team speed helped assure Belvidere would be kept off balance. The Lady E-Rabs doubled-up on Belvidere in the period and came away with the 49-43 win.

The regular season’s official last plays were run at Guilford on Thursday, Feb. 9. The Lady Vikings finished the NIC-10 season in fifth place in the NIC-10 behind four teams with a combined 53-11record.

The Lady Bucs played strong again, but couldn’t find enough to get it done against Guilford. The finish didn’t work out well. That situation had been faced by Belvidere on occasion this season. Contests such as those were referred-to when the IHSA Selection Committee seeded the 3A Field for game play that began on Monday, Feb. 13.

One game stands out as another possible factor in Belvidere’s position to start 3A play.

On Jan. 16, seven-seed Marengo knocked off the eight-seed in a head-to-head meeting 63-51.

The Lady Bucs were issued the eight seed and were not picked to win its opening round match over seven-seed Marengo. They can do it though, and they have enough to give Rockford Lutheran something to think about in its own Regional Semi-Final 3A tip-off.

On Thursday, Feb. 9, the IHSA Selection Committee weighed season marks of wins and losses and how a team played within its conference as they issued seeds. They may not have taken into consideration how much of an influence Belvidere is having on the Class 3A Field at Rockford Lutheran.

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