The IVCC men’s and women’s basketball teams swept Sauk Valley in Thursday’s Arrowhead Conference games in Oglesby.
The IVCC women topped Sauk Valley 68-49, while the men avenged a loss to Sauk earlier in the season with a 77-70 victory in the nightcap.
IVCC 68, Sauk Valley 49
The Lady Eagles made sure the game was never in doubt as IVCC took control from the opening tip and gave head coach Pat Cinotte his 99th victory at IVCC.
Solid defense allowed IVCC to jump out to a 6-2 lead to start the game.
Sauk Valley’s Brianna Richardson hit a turnaround shot in the lane to keep the game close at 13-8, but IVCC’s Arnisha Thomas hit a scoop shot and Ottawa graduate Asya Williams had a strong move to the hoop to help increase the Lady Eagles’ lead to 19-8.
Thomas and Williams controlled the boards throughout the half and accounted for 20 of the Lady Eagles first-half points as IVCC took a 30-18 lead at half.
The Lady Eagles defense was solid throughout but perhaps none tougher than the stellar play of Marquette grad Jessica Jessen, who limited Sauk’s Lydia Box to just two first-half points and nine total.
“I just can say enough about how Jessica Jessen played tonight,” Cinotte said. “Lydia Box averages over 20 a game and had just two at half. To hold her to less than 10 points is huge.”
The Lady Eagles came out of halftime and picked up right where they left off.
Joselynn Castelli’s strong move to the basket and Jessen’s fast-break lay-up to go along with a Thomas putback gave IVCC a 38-22 lead.
A lay-up by Richardson cut the IVCC lead to single digits at 38-30, but Ottawa grad Kara Kistenfeger got hot from behind the arc as she hit three 3-pointers gave the Lady Eagles a 54-39 lead.
From there, the defense once again slammed the door on the Lady Skyhawks as IVCC came away with a 68-49 victory.
IVCC had four players in double figures with Thomas leading the way with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Brytney Bennett added 12 points and 10 rebounds. Williams chipped in 12 and Castelli added 11.
IVCC 77, Sauk Valley 70
The Eagles got a little payback for their loss a month ago to Sauk Valley with four players reaching double figures and the defense playing much more to the satisfaction of coach Tommy Canale.
“Last time we played them (Jalen Riley) just went crazy on us,” Canale said. “Looking at the stats. I see he had 19, but I thought it was a quiet 19. I think we did a much better job on him and really made him work tonight. He didn’t torch us like he did last month.”
Sharp shooter and St. Bede grad Alec Schwab continued his solid season collecting five quick points to give the Eagles an early 9-8 lead.
The Skyhawks responded with a run as Riley’s step back 3-pointer and two steals and buckets by Matt Groharing give Sauk Valley a 20-14 lead.
Schwab responded as he hit a 3-pointer and assisted a hoop by Princeton grad Michael Murray to cut the deficit to 27-24.
Minutes before half, LaSalle-Peru grad Stephen Christopherson, Schwab and Murray all hit 3-pointers to give IVCC a 37-33 halftime advantage.
In the second half, more solid defense and timely shooting allowed the Eagles to maintain their lead the rest of the way.
Josh Fenoglia and Nick Finney were also solid for IVCC.
Finney drained two 3-pointers to put the Eagles up 56-47, while Fenoglia followed by hitting two more 3-pointers.
The Eagles then hit their free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Schwab had game highs of 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Finney added 16 points, McCrary 12 and Fenoglia 11.
Notes: Michael Murray left the game in the second half with an ankle injury. Canale said it could possibly be fractured but that Murray will receive further evaluation.
Brad Martin Sr. can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.