Opening loss will strenghten the Spartans, SJO falls 64-44 at home to Paris

Katie Cramer dribbles the ball in SJO's first home game of the season.
Senior Katie Cramer brings the ball down the court during first half action in her team's home opener against Paris.
(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

After grinding out four consecutive wins to start the season and bring home the GCMS/Bunnies Tipoff title last week, the St. Joseph-Ogden girls basketball team suffered their first loss of the season. Outmatched, the Spartans fell 65-44 on their home court to the visiting Paris.

The Tigers came out feisty and visibly hungry for the win on Tuesday. The coaching staff had did their homework on the SJO squad. Paris head coach Dave Tingley had his team press the Spartans player from end to end on the floor forcing plethora of turnovers from the opening tip.

The defensive pressure was too much to handle for SJO. The Spartans mustered just five first quarter points and trailed midway into the second by 20 points until Taylor Wells found a basket after the relentless Tigers ran up the score with 11 unanswered points.

Payton Jacob drilled the next two shots to narrow St. Joseph-Ogden's deficit to 14 points. From that point forward, Kevin Taylor's team, though at a slight disadvantage without the veteran leadership of Hannah Dukeman on the floor, played competitive second half.

"We knew they would be after us the whole game and press us," said Taylor, now in his third season at the helm of the Lady Spartans. "There was never a time to let up against Paris."

While it wasn't enough to come out on top, the Spartans enjoyed scoring contributions from nine players.

Starter Taylor Barnes led the way with a team-high nine points. Sophomore starter Payton Jacob had six points. Alyssa Hamilton and Ashlyn Lannert came off the bench to score six apiece as well.

"We're young. We just didn't handle it the best way we could early on," Taylor said. "I hope the girls learn from it as we move on through the season."

Paris had four players finish with double figures against the Spartans.

Senior Karrington Krabel drained a game-high 16 points for the Tigers. Sarah Isaf and Jenna Gates, also senior members of the squad, scored 12 and 10 points, respectively. Sophomore Katelyn Littleton was 2-for-2 from the free throw line and had a pair of threes in her 10 point finish.

While it was an ugly loss, Taylor is confident that his team will become stronger because of it.

"It's a learning process. We're not set up to win a regional title," Taylor said. "I'm not satisfied with this game."

Nor should he be. After major second half adjustments and the shell shock wore off, SJO played a respectable second half barely outscored by the Tigers, 34-28. Starting two seniors, two sophomores and a junior there is some chemistry that needs to come together and much work to be done before the postseason.

"I saw some things that they improved on (tonight) and we'll work on more in practice as we move forward," he added.

St. Joseph-Ogden, now at 4-1 for the season, hosts Tuscola for a non-conference game on Monday before embarking on a three-game road campaign starting next week. Playing a game every other day, SJO starts with a trip to Danville on December 7, then plays a little closer to home on December 9 against Oakwood and finishes up tour at Mahomet-Seymour on December 11.

Box Score
St. Joseph-Ogden 5 11 15 13 - 44
Paris 16 15 20 14 - 65

St. Joseph-Ogden: Ashlyn Lannert 6, Payton Jacob 6, Taylor Wells 5, Katie Cramer 4, Abby Behrens 3, Taylor Barnes 9, Alyssa Hamilton 6 and Payton Vallee 2.

Paris: Karrington Krabel 16, Sarah Isaf 12, Jenna Gates 10, Katelyn Littleton 10, Kendra Young 6, Madyson Rigdon 6, Deming Hawkins 3, and Kelsie Crampton 2.

First loss of the season for SJO girls

St. Joseph-Ogden's Taylor Barnes dribbles the ball into the paint during her team's home opener against Paris. The Spartans (4-1) suffered their first loss of the season with their 65-46 non-conference loss to the Lady Tigers. Barnes led the SJO scoring effort with nine points. Ashlyn Lannert, Payton Jacob and Alyssa Hamilton each contributed six points apiece. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Photo look: Volleyball places third at state

Eight days ago, the St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball team defeated Rockford Lutheran after three sets 25-11, 25-20, 25-23 to place third at this year's Class 2A state tournament. Below are ten memorable photographs from more the 500 (not all of them as awesome as these moments as these) from the Spartans' final match of the season on Saturday, November 16.

SJO played 41 matches this season and won 36 of them. Their last four were grueling, emotional three-setters. Their season began with a marathon opening match and loss to eventual state champions St. Teresa, and ended with a three-set, 129-point match against the Lady Crusaders at Redbird Arena.

SJO volleyball players Lacey Kaiser and Emily Bigger
Emily Bigger and Lacey Kaiser go up for a block on a kill attempt by Rockford Lutheran's Kylie Wilhelmi in the first set. Kaiser was credited with a pair of blocks, seven digs and four kills in the match. Bigger contributed five digs and had 29 of the team's 32 assists. (PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

SJO's Kenly Taylor celebrates a point
Kenly Taylor celebrates a point for the Spartans during the first set. Her nine digs along with her defensive efforts in the back row were crucial in SJO ending their season with a victory. (PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Payton Vallee tips the ball over the net
Payton Vallee tips the ball over a Rockford Lutheran blocker. Vallee, a junior, finished the match with four kills and three digs. (PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Katelyn Berry goes up to put the ball away
With teammate Payton Vallee looking on and Lacey Kaiser ready to dig a possible block, senior Katelyn Berry takes a huge swing at the ball in set two against the Lady Crusaders. Berry chalked up six kills and six digs in the Spartans' win. (PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Lacey Kaiser dives for a tipped ball.
Stretching out as far as can go, Lacey Kaiser dives for a tipped ball in the second set. (PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Spartans Lindsey Aiden and Kennedi Burnett
Spartans Lindsey Aden and Kennedi Burnett share a smile after Burnett's kill puts SJO up 13-7 in the final set. Burnett, a sophomore, delivered at team-high 14 kills. (PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

SJO sings fight song
After winning the final set to take the match, two games to one, members of the SJO volleyball team led by seniors Jenna Albrecht and Katelyn Berry sing the school fight song with the student fan section. (PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Jenna Albrecht celebrates on the podium
Senior Jenna Albrecht flashes a huge smile as she waves to family members and SJO fans at Redbird Arena after receiving her bronze medal during the Class 2A awards ceremony. (PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

(Left to right) Lacey Kaiser, Lindsey Aden and Jenna Albrecht along with the rest of the volleyball team celebrate with the schools newest piece of state hardware. (PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Picture time
Linda Berry photographs her daughter Katelyn and other members of the Spartan volleyball team with the school's third place trophy during the awards ceremony at the IHSA Volleyball State Finals. (PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

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