Kylee Gehrt has evidently taken a leap from being primarily a 3-point shooting threat a season ago.
For Gehrt, the Batavia junior guard, one sequence during the Bulldogs’ 62-46 DuKane Conference win over Lake Park on Tuesday can be presented as evidence why.
With 5:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, Gehrt swatted the ball away for a block and followed up the standout defensive moment with a transition layup. She converted the ensuing free throw to balloon the Bulldogs’ lead to 52-34.
Whether it’s flying around on defense, disrupting passing lanes or adding a scoring punch alongside Brooke Carlson, Gehrt’s growing ascension into a complete player is ultimately Batavia’s gain.
“I would totally agree,” Batavia coach Kevin Jensen said. “She’s, with all due respect to the other great athletes that we have on the team, one of the most athletic kids we coach. She’ll do something and all of a sudden, you’re like, ‘Woah, did that just really happen?'”
“Whether it’s a finish in the open court, things like that, but yeah, she’s starting to see the floor better,” Jensen said. “A better understanding of where she fits in to complement her, Addi [Prewitt] and Brooke. That’s a tough combo and she’s done a great job. And, found ways to contribute even if she doesn’t knock down some 3s. She’s usually on somebody’s best player defensively.”
Gehrt put in the work to add to all facets of her game, including driving to the basket more.
“All year, I’ve been working on both offense and defense,” said Gehrt, who had 15 points and two rebounds. “Not just being a 3-point shooter but also a driver and scoring those tough layups.”
“I think it’s definitely helped our team together build,” said Carlson, who popped in 26 points. “I feel we needed more people who get out [in transition] so I can pitch it ahead to her or she can make those tough layups. We kind of compromise well. We always see each other on the court. We can get it to each other and it’s a lot of fun.”
Batavia (5-1, 1-0) had a 44-32 lead at the end of the third and kept up enough pressure to stave off a comeback bid by Lake Park (5-2, 1-1). Lancers freshman guard Maggie Frank hit a layup followed by a Kira Holliday 3 to make it 54-39 with four minutes left, but Gehrt followed with a layup.
Holliday added another 3, but again, Gehrt had the response with a layup to make it 58-42 Bulldogs with 2:52 left. Gabi Burgess added two free throws for Lake Park, Gehrt followed with another layup and Michela Barbanente (17 points, seven rebounds) responded with her final layup of the night for Lake Park. Carlson’s two free throws with 1:04 remaining sealed the deal.
Prewitt had eight points and four rebounds for the Bulldogs, while Natalie Warner had five points and three rebounds and Ava Thomas had four points, three rebounds.
The Lancers were also paced by Holliday’s nine points, while Burgess had six points and Grace Cord had five points and three rebounds.
Lake Park was out-rebounded 36-24, which proved to be costly down the stretch.
“[Rebounding] was absolutely the biggest issue,” Lake Park coach Brian Rupp said. “We weren’t checking anybody out. We were staring at the basketball and that’s an aggressive team [in Batavia]. They’re aggressive on the perimeter defensively. They’re aggressive on the boards and we just didn’t answer it tonight.”