By Chris Johnson


Lady Indians loosen grip on NIC-10 control

With less than two weeks to go in the basketball season, the Hononegah Lady Indians find themselves at least a full game back in the NIC-10, following a 13-point loss to Auburn Friday, Jan. 24.

The Lady Indians 10-2 mark did earn them a share for second with this past Tuesday’s opponent, Belvidere North. Details of the early week battle in Rockton are unavailable at this time.

A win by Hononegah over the Lady Blue Thunder would have given them second place, uncontested. A loss dropped them two games back of the conference lead.

The Lady Indians hold on executive status released this past week. Auburn moved to 11-1 following the NIC-10 win, Hononegah slipped one back in the standings as a result.

The two Friday combatants sported similar one-loss records as they entered the conference match. It gave them co-leadership honors.

The 66-53 decision changed that situation. It gave the Lady Knights complete control in the NIC-10. If Auburn runs the table to close the regular season, they will be declared Conference Champion, regardless of what happens behind them.

Heading into the Friday showdown with Auburn, Hononegah was riding a streak of success that had seen them victorious six of seven times they took the court. The stretch included a Tuesday run-down of Rockford East.

On Tuesday, Jan. 21 Hononegah exited a quick two game road swing, in which they knocked off Harlem and Freeport. They returned home to face the Lady E-Rabs after that..

East was outgunned at the start. The Lady E-Rabs sought to shake things up, but could not find the means to really hang with the Lady Indians on the court. Team offense went into remission and became more emphasized as the game progressed.

Hononegah scored 25 points in the opening period and before two minutes had elapsed in the second, had scored enough points to assure the conference with would be collected.

By the break, the Lady E-Rabs found themselves down 43-18 and desperately looking for some kind of an answer to Hononegah’s harassing actions.

Rockford East scored nine points in the second half. Hononegah countered with 29 and won by the final of 72-27.

Securing victory kept control of the conference in Hononegah’s hands, ahead of this past Friday’s meeting with suddenly unapproachable Auburn.

The Lady Indians play host to Rockford Jefferson on Friday, Jan. 31. February play opens at Rockford Boylan Tuesday, Feb, 4, with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.

The regular season closes with two of the final three games of the year being played on the road.

Hononegah host Guilford on Friday, Feb. 7. The regular season ends following completion of the Feb. 11 and Feb. 13 matches against East and Belvidere.

4A State Playoffs begin Monday, Feb. 17. Seeds for teams across the State of Illinois will be announced next week, ahead of second season tip-offs.


Hononegah nicked by Knights in NIC-10 match

The Auburn Knights boost their right to challenge for the NIC-10 Crown this season following a 59-41 win over Hononegah Friday night.

The Knights moved to the front with seven wins collected through conference clashes this season. They are 7-3 and own the most wins in the NIC-10, outside of Boylan Catholic and Rockford Jefferson, who each had that total matched at the start of play this week.

In the Friday loss to Auburn, Hononegah was held to 13 points in the first half. The defensive pressure applied by the imposing Knights helped spur a two-to-one scoring advantage through the first period of play.

The offense kicked in in the second for the visitors. Auburn punched in 22 points and kept the Hononegah offense in check. By the break, the Knights were in front 36-13.

Adjustments on the defensive side were made and implemented more effectively after the break. The Indians shutdown their guests, outpacing them 17-7 in the period.

The two-to-one ratio was cut. The Indians moved to within 13 with the fourth to go, down 43-30.

Keeping Auburn away from the net didn’t work as well as had been hoped in the final minutes. Shots found their marks with the Knights capturing the period 16-11 to win the game by 18, 59-41.

Hononegah opens this week with a 3-6 record in head-to-head matches in the NIC-10. They are joined with a band of others looking to challenge in the NIC-10, including Harlem, which is 4-5 and Belvidere North, which also has six losses in conference play.

Five teams in the conference have already earned double-digit win totals this season.

State Pollsters in Class 3A and 4A are watching how things shape up in the front-end heavy NIC-10 this week, and over the next couple.

The Indians will be put to the test again this Friday night. The squad travels south to Rockford Jefferson for a major NIC-10 influencing showdown with the nearly 20-win J-Hawks.

On Feb. 5, Harlem and Hononegah face-off in Rockton. It will mark a stretch that will see the Indians play the final six of seven matches against NIC-10 centerpieces, including Freeport, Belvidere North and this Friday night’s opponent, Harlem.

The Indians will be ready to do battle beginning at 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 31. The Huskies are 4-5 this year and sit one game in front of the Indians on the NIC-10 leader board.

How the Indians do against teams that are deemed their equal, also helps set the stage for second season readiness.

The IHSA Selection Committee will be collecting information on school success within and outside of the regular conference scheduled over the next few weeks.

Officials will then meet and decide which teams start where, when the Class 3A and 4A State Basketball Playoffs begin, helping to usher in the original March Madness experience.

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