By Chris Johnson


The warm-up, which is called the regular season, is over for the Lady Blue Thunder. With the Rockford Boylan Lady Titans pulling away to the NIC-10 Title, Belvidere North had the chance to get its game in shape for a second chance. The 4A Girls’ Basketball State Playoffs begin next week and it is known where the home team opens. Against who was decided on Thursday, Feb. 2.

Hampshire and Rockford Auburn have been asked to host the Regional matches in Sub-Sectional B, beginning Monday, Feb. 12. The Lady Blue Thunder will have to work their way through and around squads from the host school and eastern neighbor Huntley, along with NIC-10 familiars, if they want to advance

The seeds were issued based on overall performance this year and how a team performed in head-to-head matches with competitors within the Sectional Complex. Rockford Boylan was the best of the bunch. They were 24-0 heading into the final week of action and that included a 12-0 NIC-10 mark. Four teams within the conference claimed double-digit win totals this year. The competition was “playoff-caliber” almost nightly.

Now with the post-season closing in fast, the Lady Blue Thunder knows that if they play their style of basketball, which is heavily-influenced by how well the defense performs, they can make some noise in the post-season.

Belvidere North had the fourth strongest defense in the NIC-10 this year, based on points allowed. State-ranked Boylan and Hononegah finished ahead of them, as did the Harlem Lady Huskies. Auburn, which finished behind them in the defensive category, allowed just shy of ten points more per match during the 2017-2018 winter sports season.

They have given their counterparts in the NIC-10 a lot of headaches this year. Even though the wins didn’t always line up as the team would have liked, the nightly opposition couldn’t just run their offense like they were used to being able to do.

Boylan averaged over 70 points a game this season in conference matches. In a Jan. 23 loss to the Lady Titans, Belvidere North held the State’s number-two ranked program to over 20 points under their regular nightly total. They fell 49-31, but made a statement in the match. The team wasn’t going to be run over.

It was a big improvement from when these two teams met for the first time on Dec. 12, at Boylan. The Lady Titans scored above their season average and won by more than


For complete article, pick up the Feb. 4 Belvidere Daily Republican.

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