WHEATFIELD | In a battle of supremacy for Jasper County, Kankakee Valley outlasted rival Rensselaer 40-37 in Tuesday's second game of the Class 3A K.V. Sectional.
The Kougars (12-9) withstood a furious fourth-quarter rally by the Bombers (9-12) on the back of the steady play of their sophomore backcourt duo of Lauren Stokes and Bethany Jansma.
"We've got six sophomores," K.V. coach Ryan Myers said. "At the start of the game, they were a little nervous, but they settled down and played well. Bethany and Lauren really made some big plays."
Knox, who will play Calumet on Friday, eliminated Andrean 53-38 in the opener.
In their game against Rensselaer, the Kougars led by as many as 10 points in the third quarter and owned a 32-23 lead after three quarters. Rensselaer went on a 11-0 run at start the fourth to take a 34-33 lead.
K.V. responded with six straight for a 39-33 advantage and held on to advance to Friday's second semi-final against Hanover Central.
"That's Rensselaer-K.V.," Myers said. "We knew Rensselaer would make a run."
Stokes finished with 11 points, three assists and four steals, three resulting in baskets.
"She does a good job of reading the defense," Myers said. "She knows when to attack and when to set up and run our offense."
Jansma scored a team-high 12 points.
After the Kougars led 8-6 at the first stop, they jumped in front 18-11 thanks to Jansma and Stokes.
Lauren Tonner led the Bombers with 13, and Emily Ziese added 12 points and 13 rebounds.
"The team as a whole is hurting because we expected to win and move on," Rensselaer coach Jeff Marlow said. "We knew it wasn't going to be easy. We knew it was going the be a battle, and that's what it was for 32 minutes.
"We dug ourselves too big of a hole."
In the opener, Knox (11-11) led 12-7 at the first stop and stretched the lead to 27-14 at halftime.
Andrean (3-20) still trailed 40-26 after three quarters and would get no closer the rest of the way.
Brenna Boyle led the 59ers with 10 points, while Jessica Gray added nine. Lauren Stazinski pulled down nine rebounds.