Photo: Junior Mark Lilly drives to the basket under pressure Friday. Photo by Mary Paulson
Knights drop to 7-9 overall, 2-3 in NIB-12
KANELAND—After back-to-back victories over DeKalb and LaSalle-Peru last week, the boys’ varsity basketball team fell to the Yorkville Foxes 61-53 last Friday night.
The Knights are 7-9 overall this season and 2-3 in the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference.
Yorkville came out firing on all cylinders to start the first quarter behind back-to-back three-pointers from guard Kyle Domark (12 points) and forward King Davis (five points). Against the Foxes’ stifling defense, Kaneland managed just three baskets from the field, courtesy of forward Ryan David, guard Tanner Robertson (two points) and center Jacob Gomes (eight points).
Down 12-6 in the second quarter, Yorkville’s defense clamped down on the Knights even further, keeping them scoreless until David split free throw attempts with 3:05 left to play in the half. The Foxes scored 14 points in the quarter (8-0 run in the first 4:55) to Kaneland’s 10, behind an offensive attack led by guard Master Davis (six points,) guard Josh Bondurant (Yorkville game-high 19 points), and a key three-pointer from guard Dan Kaczmarek (13 points.)
Down 26-16 and despite Yorkville’s continued defensive domination, the Knights attempted to stage a comeback led by David’s 12-point third quarter effort (Kaneland game-high 19 points overall, four three-pointers). Yorkville answered with an 18-point barrage through the continued efforts of Domark and Kaczmarek, with a major contribution from guard Cedric Payne (six points).
Trailing 44-31 in the fourth quarter, the Knights battled back to within eight, thanks to the play of David, Gomes and guard Mark Lilly (13 points.) Despite outscoring the Foxes 22-17 in the final quarter, it wasn’t enough, as Kaneland’s second comeback fell short.
Kaneland head coach Brian Johnson broke down the team’s loss after the game.
“Too little, too late. When we’ve lost games, we’ve started slow (and) turned the ball over a lot, and it was kind of that formula,” he said. “We did a little too much early on (and) turned the ball over, I think, 22 times for the game. Yorkville played really good defense, (and) got the win.”
Coach Johnson also praised David’s hustling effort in the contest.
“Ryan has to work really hard. He’s kind of like our (Chicago Bulls guard) Jimmy Butler,” Johnson said. “We put him on their best guard all the time. There’s never a time when Ryan’s not working really hard. He worked really hard to try to get us back in the game.”
Kaneland will travel to take on Rochelle this Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Photo: Kaneland junior Mitchel Groen (above, center) and DeKalb junior Ahmed Gadim (15) battle for a rebound in Friday’s 53-52 Kaneland win. Groen finished with 10 points for the Knights. Photo by Laura Gampfer
Team improves to 7-8 on the season
KANELAND—Great defense on both sides of the court makes for outstanding games at any level of basketball, and Friday night’s game between the Kaneland Knights and DeKalb Barbs was no exception.
Playing their first game of the season on home court, the Knights played a back-and fourth game of defensive chess with DeKalb before escaping with a 53-52 victory in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play.
The Knights led 14-7 after one quarter of play before DeKalb came back to outscore them 17-10 and tied the game at 24 going into the half. The Barbs opened the third quarter with an 8-2 run in the first 3:30, sparked by guard/forward Michael Pollack’s (18 points, three boards) short jumper that began the scoring. Kaneland answered back with two three-pointers from guard Dylan Vaca, who led his team in scoring with 17 points. Vaca went 3/5 from the free throw line and added two more three-pointers during the contest.
With DeKalb up 39-36 at the start of the fourth quarter, the defensive battle and shot-for-shot match kicked into high gear. Pollack continued his dominance for DeKalb, along with guard/forward Jace Kitchen (12 points) and guards Rudy Lopez and Cole Tucker (eight points each). Kaneland responded with key shots from Vaca, forward Ryan David (12 points) and center Jacob Gomes (10 points). Vaca split free throw attempts with 1.4 seconds remaining to seal the win for the Knights.
Kaneland head coach Brian Johnson praised his team’s effort after the game.
“They all played really well tonight and came out and executed the game plan. This is something we can build off of,” Johnson said. “We talked before the game about switching things up between man and zone, trying to communicate.”
On Saturday in LaSalle, the Knights got their second win in as many nights with a 51-43 comeback victory over the Cavaliers, improving Kaneland to 7-8 overall and 2-2 in the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference.
The Knights went on a 19-0 run five minutes into the fourth quarter to seal the victory over LaSalle. David led all scorers with 20 points, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter. He was also a perfect four-for-four from the charity stripe.
Johnson praised his team’s defensive effort in the win.
“They (Cavaliers) got up by about 11 in the fourth, and right around five minutes (remaining), we changed up our defenses a little bit,” Johnson said. “We went to kind of a 1-3-1 half-court trap, and went on a 19-0 run to finish off the game and get the win.”
Johnson praised David’s effort, as well.
“Dylan (Vaca) and Ryan are our top scorers for the season. (Ryan) started off a little slow; now he’s playing really confident and taking shots that are good shots.”
Kaneland is at home this Friday night vs. the Yorkville Foxes. The game tips off at 7 p.m. following the varsity girls game.
Boys Soph. Basketball
Jan. 9 vs. DeKalb—Down by two with seconds left, Jake Hed hit a go-ahead three-pointer for the win against the Barbs 54-52. Hed led the team with 21 points, and ended with four three-pointers. Neil Glazier finished with 13 points, while Jack Marshall and Brock Harner each had eight.
Girls Fresh. Basketball
Jan. 10 vs. Sterling—The Knights won 28-22. Shayna Hurston and Cierra Kuipers each had nine points, while Logan Guerra had four.
Jan. 12 @ Morris—The Knights lost 40-12. Hurston had four points. The freshman team sits at 9-7, 4-2 in conference play.
Girls JV Bowling
Jan. 12 vs. LaSalle-Peru—LaSalle-Peru defeated the Knights 2,062-1,727. Natalie Barnhart led the team with a 368 series, while Vanessa Guzman rolled a 336. Also bowling was Amber Spaetzel (299), Marissa Michi (284), Ally McPhee (233) and Lindsay Skoney (207). Barnhart’s 128 was the high game.
Junior Jacob Gomes tries to pass the ball against St. Charles North’s stifling defense. Photos by Mary Paulson
KHS 0-4 all-time on Bulls’ floor; Knights take ninth place in Plano
KANELAND—While the Knights boys basketball team (5-8) wasn’t facing the likes of Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol on Saturday afternoon, at times it might have felt like that was the case.
St. Charles North sent Kaneland’s all-time record in United Center play to 0-4 after a 70-43 handling. Kaneland’s previous three losses—in 2008, 2010 and 2013—occurred at the hands of Geneva.
The final two contests for KHS in 2014 took place at the Plano Christmas Classic, and saw the Knights solve Genoa-Kingston 53-45 on Dec. 29 and edge rival Yorkville 63-61 on Dec. 30, earning ninth place overall.
The tournament was won by Dixon over Mendota, 57-45, on Dec. 30.
An additional bright spot for the Knights was an All-Tournament honor for Ryan David, thanks to his 83-point total through five games.
Against St. Charles North, Kaneland was led by Jake Marczuk with nine points. The 27-point drubbing is the Knights’ worst loss to date at the 21-year-old United Center.
Early buckets by Jacob Gomes and Dylan Vaca had the Knights and North Stars tied at six apiece, but SCN sprinted down the court on many of its possessions and found the net in spurts for a 15-6 edge with 2:40 remaining in the quarter. Tanner Robertsen’s pair of foul shots with 2:23 to go helped the Knights close to within seven points before SCN’s five-point outburst, ending the first frame with a 20-8 score.
In the second, David’s three-pointer and an offensive putback by Mitchell Groen closed the deficit to 23-16 with 4:40 to go in the half. However, the North Stars closed out the half with a 9-1 run for a 32-17 edge at the break.
The North Stars managed to put the game out of reach thanks to a 17-8 third frame, despite the best efforts of baskets from David, Groen and Connor Fedderly. Marczuk’s three-pointer with less than a second to play marked the final margin.
“St. Charles North is really good,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “They have some dynamic players. They do a heck of a job and compete every time they run the floor. You’ll get punished on the other end.”
The spectacle also presented an eight-minute scrimmage as an opportunity for players on both benches to see some NBA floor time.
“It’s a neat situation and cool that the kids got in there. It’s fun to see the kids play on an NBA floor, and there’s a lot of smiles out there,” Brian Johnson said.
Preceding the loss in Chicago, the Knights were able to finish the Plano gathering with four wins in five tries.
In the win over DeKalb County outfit G-K, the Knights found 21 points from Vaca’s talents and 10 from David. The Cogs led 13-11 and 22-18 after the first and second quarters, but KHS stormed back after ending the third frame down 37-31, with a 22-8 fourth quarter rally. The Knights were 18-for-48 from the field, but nailed six three-point tries.
Against the rival Foxes, Vaca paced the crucial win with 27 points, while David followed up with 17. King Davis led Yorkville with a team-high 18.
Kaneland trailed 25-23 after eight minutes of action, but overcame Yorkville to lead 38-33 at halftime. A tight third quarter saw the Knights up 47-40 at the end of the third before Yorkville’s 21-16 march to the final deficit.
KHS heads deep into the Northern Illinois Big XII slate with a meeting against DeKalb on Friday, Jan. 9, in Maple Park.
Boys Sophomore Basketball @ Plano Christmas Classic
Dec. 22 vs. Plano—A strong second quarter by tourney-host Plano doomed the Knights to a 46-42 loss in their opening game of the Plano Christmas Classic. The Knights led 17-14 after the first quarter, but the Reapers put together a 19-9 second frame to close out the first half. Josh Pollastrini had a team-high 16 points and Garrett Hukle had 10 for the Knights. Brock Harner had six points, while Jack Marshall and Jake Hed each supplied five.
Dec. 23 vs. Kankakee—Kankakee used a strong fourth quarter—outscoring KHS 12-4—to force overtime, and went on to earn a narrow 45-44 win over the Knights. Harner led the team with 15 points, and also went 4-4 from the free throw line. Pollastrini and Hukle each had eight points, while Hed had five and Marshall converted all four of his free three attempts to finish with four points.
Dec. 29 vs. St. Bede—Offense was tough to come by against St. Bede, as the Knights fell 38-34 to finish 0-3 at the tournament. In their second-straight game featuring OT, the sophomore squad was outscored 13-9 in the extra frame. Harner led the team with 10 points, with Pollastrini close behind with nine. Neil Glazier went three-for-three from the free throw line and ended with seven points, while Luke Calabrese had four points and Brett Glennon had three. The sophomores sit at 6-5 overall and 2-0 in NIB-12 play.
Girls JV Bowling
Jan. 6 vs. Huntley—Huntley edged the JV Knights 1,602-1,574 Tuesday. Vanessa Guzman led KHS with a 294 series, while Lindsay Skoney bowled a 281, Amber Spaetzel a 279 and Natalie Barnhart a 273. Marissa Michi (250) and Ally McPhee (197) also bowled for the Knights. Spaetzel’s 114 was the high game for KHS.
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Initial win over Indian Creek preceded loss to BC, win over Seneca
KANELAND—Plano High School’s 52nd annual Christmas Classic found Kaneland trying to make waves in the bracket while also looking to get its season back on track.
On Dec. 23, Kaneland (3-7), the 14th seed, bested Indian Creek by a 67-53 count. On Friday, Burlington Central, the 3-seed, trounced KHS by a 66-57 count. Saturday saw Kaneland beat the Seneca Irish by a 43-29 score.
Against the T-Wolves, Kaneland led 15-12 after one and 31-29 after two before pouring it on with a 25-15 run in the third quarter.
“It was something that we really needed,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “We found our guys with good positions to score. Keeping it basic and making the smart plays helped us out.”
Ryan David had 19 points, while Jacob Gomes and Connor Fedderly supplied 13 each. Indian Creek’s Drew Winterton had a game-high 26 points.
Fedderly, who supplied three of Kaneland’s six three-pointers, felt good about adding a “W” to the season column.
“We have a lot of respect for Indian Creek—they are run-and-gun style, and we were happy to come out with a win. We’re feeling pretty good,” he said.
Against the rival Rockets, Kaneland fell behind 29-12 after one before inching closer at 40-27 at the halftime buzzer. KHS closed to within 54-43 before the fourth quarter’s short efforts.
David had a game-high 27 points, the only Knight in double figures.
Against the Irish, Kaneland was able to storm out to a 15-2 advantage before Seneca closed within 20-19. A 13-8 third quarter created a little more breathing room before the Knights sealed the game with a 10-2 fourth quarter.
Vaca led with 12 points, and David supplied 10.
Kaneland’s last two games at Plano took place Monday and Tuesday, with results unavailable for press. KHS then plays on Saturday, Jan. 3, against St. Charles North at Chicago’s United Center .
Knights established unique history on Chicago’s NBA floor
KANELAND—Getting a chance to play on New Year’s Eve would be a special opportunity for any high school basketball squad.
On Dec. 31, 2008, the Kaneland High School basketball team took the occasion to compete on a special floor.
It was that meeting with then-conference rival Geneva that kicked off a relationship with the one and only United Center, as part of the Chicago Bulls’ agreement with suburban basketball programs.
Fast approaching the fourth occasion for KHS boys to take the same court as Jordan, Pippen, Rose and Noah, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015, marks the first occasion for Kaneland to battle St. Charles North, a switchup from the previous three against Geneva.
“This is just something that I felt the players really liked to do. They get excited for the fact that they are playing on the same floor that the professionals play on. Also, it is a unique experience for them and something that they can look forward to,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said.
“Walking through the tunnel for the first time against Geneva, and you look up at the stands and see your family, that’s great,” Tyler Carlson said.
Carlson, who helped represent Kaneland back on Jan. 4 in a close, 54-51 loss to Geneva, scored 21 points to lead an almost-comeback against the Vikings, but still had some adjustments to make.
“Straight ahead, the sightlines weren’t too bad, it was when you were taking corner shots that you kind of had to get used to them,” said Carlson, now an Aurora University Spartan.
Class of 2014 standout Drew David, point guard from the last Knights’ UC effort, can identify with the somewhat off-kilter surroundings.
“The fact that the ceiling is so high gets you, and also that the stands go all the way around,” David said.
“Once the game starts, at least for me, nothing changes from playing on a normal court,” Johnson adds. “The kids still need to do the little things to execute.”
“It’s really something special, and as you’re playing, you just have to keep calm,” Carlson said.
The game 11 months ago at the Madhouse of Madison marked the first venture to the 20,500-seat arena since Feb. 20, 2010, a 49-40 loss that also marked KHS coach Brian Johnson’s first foray to the Tom Thibeadoau-manned sideline.
“It’s fun to see the kids’ reactions when they first get on the floor. I love the 5th quarter that we play for the kids that might not get into the first game. My first year, David Dudzinski played extremely well, and you could tell he was ready to play on that type of stage in college. Last year, I thought we played one of our best games of the year,” Johnson said.
The first venture to Chicago for Kaneland, right before the calendar turned to 2009, was a 57-40 setback to the Vikings.
David, who will attempt to see younger brother Ryan play in his second United Center game, thinks it’s best to take the good with the bad.
“We were able to shoot around about an hour before the game started, and you tried to get comfortable, and in one of my first shots, I shot an airball that missed by two feet. I was kind of nervous, but the floor is the same,” David said.
Paired with the chance to see the Bulls take on the Boston Celtics, Kaneland fans buying tickets will hope not only for a Bulls win, but for a first-ever Knights win on the hallowed floor.
Photo: Junior guard Dylan Vaca made two three-pointers Saturday against Sycamore. Photo by Mary Paulson
KANELAND—Knights boys hoops would have loved to take it to the host Sycamore Spartans in the second Northern Illinois Big XII matchup on Saturday, but the weekend took a turn for the worse.
Plagued by an 8-for-17 night from the foul line and not enough time on the clock, the Knights fell to 1-6 (0-2 NIB-12) in the lone matchup of the week, 46-36.
Connor Fedderly helped from the perimeter to lead the Knights with a game-high 14 points, but Sycamore’s lineup had nine separate scorers.
Fedderly and Dylan Vaca each supplied two three-pointers each.
KHS trailed 10-7 after one and 14-13 after the first half of play, before Sycamore turned it on with a 34-25 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
“Of late, our free throw shooting has been extremely poor,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “We are going to need to block off more time in practice for them to work on it. The only problem is that we make our free throws in practice. It’s hard to simulate game free throws. Even if we put running on the line for missed free throws in practice, it still isn’t the same as shooting them in the game.”
Knight boys hoops has ample time to recover from the conference loss, not suiting up until Tuesday, Dec. 23, at the prestigious Plano Christmas Classic that goes through Tuesday, Dec. 30.
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Sophomore Boys B-ball
Dec. 6 vs. Rock Island—Kaneland fell to Rock Island 57-47. Three Knights scored 11 points: Jake Hed, Josh Pollastrini and Garret Hukle. Brock Harner had eight points and Matt Noel had four. Hed made three three-pointers, and Hukle went 7-for-7 from the free throw line.
Dec. 13 @ Sycamore—Hukle led the Knights with 12 points as they cruised to a 41-25 win over the Spartans. Hed supplied seven points, while Dan Franck and Pollastrini each had six and Harner had five. The sophomore squad is 6-2, 2-0 in conference play.
Freshman Girls B-ball
Dec. 9 @ Sycamore—Kaneland defeated Sycamore 35-25. Addie Ringel led the team with 12 points, while Abigail Taylor had nine, Shanya Hurston had six points and Katrina Van Horn had four.
Dec. 11 vs Benet Academy—Van Horn’s 11 points led the Knights to a 33-21 win over Benet. Taylor and Hurston each had seven points and Faith Cowsert and Ringel each had four.
Dec. 12 vs Wheaton-Warrenville South—The Knights won a low-scoring battle 24-19 against the Tigers. Ringel had 10 points, Van Horn four, and Cowsert, Cierra Kuipers and Taylor each had three.
Dec. 13 vs. Oak Park-River Forest—Kaneland fell to OPRF 35-25. Huston and Van Horn each had seven points, while Kuipers had five and Cowsert and Ringel each had three.
Dec. 15 vs. Yorkville—KHS cruised to a 42-26 win over the visiting Lady Foxes. Van Horn led the way with 13 points, followed by Ringel’s eight, seven from both Cowsert and Hurston, and six from Taylor. The freshman girls are 8-3, 2-0 in conference play.
Sophomore Girls B-ball
Dec. 12 vs. DeKalb—The Knights earned their second conference win with their 37-33 effort over DeKalb. Sydney Davidson had 10 points to lead KHS, while Carley Elliott had nine, Jenna Harvell and Jamie Martens each had five, and Briana Bartman and Caitlin Hammermeister had four. Martens scored her five points from the free-throw line, going five of six with the Knights trailing by one point with 40 seconds to play. The sophomore girls are 4-3 overall, 2-1 in conference play.
Tickets on sale through Dec. 19
CHICAGO—The Kaneland boys basketball team will play St. Charles North at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015, at the United Center in Chicago—prior to the Bulls game against the Boston Celtics.
Tickets are $60 and provide admission to both the Kaneland/St. Charles game and the Bulls vs. Celtics game at 6 p.m.
Boys hoops 1-5 after Morris, Rock Island setbacks
KANELAND—It’s not the start the Knights boys basketball team was hoping for, but with the season still in the beginning stages, there is time for adjustments to be made.
The best hope for the 1-5 (0-1 Northern Illinois Big XII) Knights is to learn and put studies into action.
On Friday in Morris, Kaneland was pushed back on its collective shoes with a 53-46 loss, and Saturday saw a trip to the Quad Cities area all for naught in a 57-30 loss.
Against the host Redskins, it was Jacob Gomes leading the way for KHS with a team-high 14 points, followed by Dylan Vaca with 13, including two three-pointers. The Knights were 14-for-22 from the foul line on the evening.
Up early by a 14-8 count after the first quarter, Kaneland still maintained 24-19 and 34-32 leads at the end of the next two frames. It was a 20-12 run the entire length of the fourth quarter that spelled doom for the visitors.
KHS coach Brian Johnson liked the play from Gomes, who looks to contribute more in 2014-15 after an unhealthy 2013-14 season.
“Jacob is getting better every game,” Johnson said. “As a team, we need to work off of him in the post. It is important for us to get him touches. With his success, it will open up shots for his teammates from the outside.”
Against the Rocks, the Knights were hurt by an 11-for-42 night from the field in a game that saw an 18-8 first quarter deficit balloon to a 30-14 halftime deficit, and a 43-19 lead after three.
On Saturday, Dec. 13, the Kaneland boys continue conference action with a trip to Sycamore in the eighth of 13 straight road games.
KANELAND—After an initial win last week at the Batavia-based Ken Peddy Windmill Classic, Kaneland boys basketball failed to get any winning energy in the invite’s three closing contests.
Now 1-3, the Knights lost to St. Francis of Wheaton on Nov. 25, 50-44, and followed up with another setback to Batavia 59-30. On Friday evening, the invite ended with a 68-45 loss to the Wheaton-Warrenville South Tigers.
“We are still trying to find our identity. Valuing each possession on offense is going to be something that we need to concentrate on. Defensively, we need to trust in our principles and work hard on and off of the ball. We are a young team, and it is going to be a process,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said.
Dylan Vaca paced the Knights against the Spartans with a team-high 15, and Ryan David had 12 in the losing effort. The Knights were 13-for-18 from the free-throw line.
Down 8-5 at the end of the first eight minutes, Kaneland charged back for a 21-16 lead at the half. KHS carried a 31-25 lead into the fourth before St. Francis owned the fourth quarter and went on a 25-13 run to end it.
The setback against the host Bulldogs featured Mark Lilly leading the visitors with just seven points. KHS earned 13 of its 30 points from the charity stripe.
Kaneland fell behind 18-3 after the first frame before pulling to 29-20 at halftime. Batavia held Kaneland to just 10 second-half points and found itself up 38-24 going into the fourth frame. The 21-6 run occupying the entire fourth quarter cinched matters.
The Knights failed to get another double-figure scorer against the DuPage Valley Conference rep Tigers, with David leading the way with eight. KHS did go an exemplary 21-for-23 from the foul line.
KHS found itself in another first quarter hole at 21-5 and 38-22 at halftime. Kaneland was outscored 30-23 in the second half.
On Friday, Dec. 5, the Knights travel to Morris for the beginning of Northern Illinois Big XII play.
Westminster Tournament Nov. 25-29
Nov. 25 vs. Luther North—The Knights opened the season with a 54-17 romp of Luther North. Clark Hendricks had nine points, while Jack Marshall had eight. Eleven Knights scored in the game.
Nov. 26 vs. Indian Creek—Kaneland won 58-38. Brock Harner led the Knights with 12 points, while Garrett Hukle had 11 and Josh Pollastrini had 10. Matt Noel and Marshall each had nine points.
Nov. 28 vs. Christian Liberty—KHS won 63-27. Marshall and Hukle each had 11 points to lead the Knights. Noel and Dan Franck each had eight points, while Polastrini supplied six and Luke Calabrese had five.
Nov. 29 vs. St. Edward—The Knights won the tournament championship with their 48-36 win over St. Edward. Calabrese led the team with nine points, while Robby Nachereiner and Jake Hed each had seven points. Noel, Marshall and Pollastrini each had six points.
Dec. 2 vs. Marmion—The Knights fell to 4-1 on the season after a 56-52 loss to Marmion. Hukle had a monster game with 32 points. Noel and Pollastrini each had six points, and Marshall had four.
Girls Freshman Basketball
Leyden Tournament Nov. 25; 29
Nov. 25 vs. Leyden—Katrina Van Horn’s 12 points led Kaneland to a 36-25 win over the tournament host. Shayna Hurston and Addie Ringel each had nine points, while Cierra Kuipers had four.
Nov. 29 vs. Addison Trail—The Lady Knights won 32-14 behind Ringel’s 14 points.
Nov. 29 vs. Riverside-Brookfield—The Knights won 40-13. Faith Cowsert had nine points, while Ringel had eight and Hurston had seven. Nine total girls scored for the Lady Knights. KHS was undefeated at the tournament.
Dec. 1 vs. LaSalle-Peru—The Lady Knights suffered their first loss of the 2014-15 season, falling to L-P 35-24. Ringel led the way with 15 points, while Van Horn was the next-leading scorer with four.
Girls JV Bowling
Dec. 2 vs. DeKalb—The Lady Knights won by forfeit over DeKalb. Amber Spaetzel led the team with a 322 series, followed closely by Melissa Endrenal’s 321. Natalie Barnhart had a 298 series, while Vanessa Guzman rolled a 281, Ally McPhee a 277, Marissa Michi a 226 and Hannah Leeper a 184.
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Europe a possibility for former Knight roundball talent
KANELAND—After another workout bordering six hours, KHS Class of 2010 member Dave Dudzinski has a philosophy surrounding his plan of attack.
“I want to make this my career,” he said.
Home for two-and-a-half weeks, the 6-foot-9 frontcourt presence has spent this summer doing what he spent eight years total at Kaneland and the Patriot League’s Holy Cross College: honing his court game.
Fresh off an All-Patriot League senior year which saw him average a steady 15.2 points per game, Dudzinski has been working out regularly at KHS with future Aurora University Spartan Tyler Carlson with the purpose of solidifying his skills and waiting for that call.
Now signed with Boston-based Pro Partner Sports Management, an agency that houses many American college players who have gone to play in Europe, Dudzinski feels that could be the next step.
“They’ve been good to me and I trust them,” Dudzinski said. “They mostly deal with guys from America that have gone to Europe. They’ve had talks with teams in Switzerland, Belgium, France and Romania. Spain and Italy are the most talented leagues; that’d be like graduating college and going right to management.”
Dudzinski would love to hit the NBA peak, but is also realistic coming from the small Division I Holy Cross.
“My skillset is not NBA-ready, but I have to keep training. I want to be physical enough for Europe and to be a ‘stretch 4,’” Dudzinski said. “I’m looking at this as my job.”
Last month also gave Dudzinski a glimpse at what the job at the highest level of play would entail, as he was one of six college players invited to a pre-draft workout with the Boston Celtics at their practice facility in Waltham, Mass.
“It was extremely tough, but it was cool to see guys like (Miami Heat player) Shabazz Napier and (Michigan State player) Keith Appling leading up to the draft. Just to be there was cool,” Dudzinski said. “You get a feel for how they do it in the NBA.”
Dudzinski’s trajectory, dating back to his time bumping bodies in the Western Sun Conference paint, has seen constant improvement, always with an eye on what’s ahead.
“I think I’m a lot more comfortable playing in front of bigger crowds now,” Dudzinski said. “I’m a smarter player, and I became more of a vocal leader at Holy Cross. I think all of that gives me a better shot.”
Johnson’s roundball outfit takes to court for busy month
KANELAND—Kaneland’s 2013-14 boys basketball team had itself quite the ride, that featured a buzzer-beating regional final win over Marmion Academy and a sectional semifinal appearance against Rockford Lutheran.
Whatever ride the Knights hope to have in 2014-15 begins now.
An 18-10 final record was a nice turn of events, but with departed sharpshooters like Drew David, Tyler Carlson, John Pruett and more away from the Maple Park base of operations, it’s time for KHS to look from within again.
“You’re basically getting the guys to get used to playing with one another,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “They know what we need to do.”
With David, Carlson and Pruett vacating the roster, its up to returnees like Ryan David, Dylan Vaca, Jacob Gomes, Connor Fedderly and Steven Limbrunner.
“Ryan and Dylan saw a lot of time as sophomores, and Jacob is six-foot-five and we’re glad he’s back and staying healthy. Connor is probably the best shooter on the team right now, and Steven and guys like Owen Korpela came in and worked hard every day in practice,” Johnson said.
Dealing with camps for various levels and the weekly Geneva League in the evening, routine seems to be paramount for the Knight roundball crew.
“We’re just getting them playing together, Drew is helping out with the camp and it’s nice to have another set of eyes. He was a leader on the court for four years. I’m looking for a lot of things this summer,” Johnson said.
Besides the Geneva League, the Kaneland basketball summer brigade takes a bit of a different tour, replacing the usual Morris shootout with a shootout excursion to Glenbard East.
“Morris always fell on the last day of Geneva’s league, and we just felt it was right to complete the whole league. We’re also going to Glenbard East’s shootout, which has great teams, and we’ll see St. Joseph’s, which has a legendary coach,” Johnson said.
Kaneland’s tour also sees the West Aurora Shootout on Friday, June 20, and the Waubonsie Valley Shootout on Tuesday, June 24.
The Geneva League features 20 Chicagoland area teams, with Kaneland in the Blue Division along with Geneva, Bartlett, Metea Valley, Mooseheart, Naperville Central, St. Charles East, Streamwood, Waubonsie Valley and West Chicago.
Photo: Senior Tyler Carlson was named co-Player of the Year for the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference. Fellow seniors Drew David and John Pruett also made the all-conference squad. File Photos
Knight boys see sectional berth pay off
KANELAND—It wasn’t the end of the good times for Kaneland boys basketball last week, even with the season-ending loss to Rockford Lutheran.
On Thursday, the Northern Illinois Big XII All-Conference list was released, featuring three unanimous first-team selections from the Knight roster.
Seniors Tyler Carlson, Drew David and John Pruett were all named to the first team in the East division. Carlson was also named as co-Player of the Year.
“Tyler Carlson had a very good season. He had the best season in my tenure at Kaneland since David Dudzinski,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said.
Other East first team selections included Morris junior Austin Patterson, Sycamore seniors Devin Mottet (co-Player of the Year) and Ben Niemann, DeKalb junior Rudy Lopez and Yorkville junior Kyle Shimp.
Knight senior Cole Carlson’s senior campaign resulted in an honorable mention for the All-Conference list.
Note: Carlson will also be competing in this weekend’s Three-Point Showdown at Carver Arena in Peoria, Ill., as part of the IHSA 3A and 4A State finals. Preliminary round shooting begins on Thursday, March 20, at 5 p.m.
Carlson, who put up 70 points combined in regional final and sectional semifinal action, emerged with Belvidere’s Maurice Jackson, Burlington Central’s Drew Wiss and Marian Central Catholic’s Kyler Hardie out of the Hampshire Sectional as qualifiers.
One of 32 3A competitors, Carlson is joined by fellow NIB-12 competitors Patterson of Morris and Zach Rehmert of Sterling, Ill.
Sectional semi loss follows David’s buzzer-beater for Regional crown
KANELAND—Kaneland boys basketball set the bar pretty high for Tuesday evening’s Hampshire Sectional semifinal against fellow No. 1 seed Rockford Lutheran.
After all, how could a team top a 62-60 Kaneland Regional final from Friday night that saw Drew David’s 20-footer go in as the buzzer sounded, prodding the KHS faithful to storm the court?
For the first 16 minutes of play in Hampshire on Tuesday night, it seemed like KHS would top the weekend and write a ticket to the sectional championship on Friday, up 37-26 at the break.
But a 31-11 third quarter in favor of RL put Kaneland in a deep hole. The Knights were able to cut it to two before RL ran away in a 76-61 win.
Kaneland finishes the 2013-14 season at 18-10. Rockford Lutheran was set to face the winner of Wednesday’s Marian Central Catholic-Sycamore contest.
Tyler Carlson put up 38 points against the Crusaders, with John Pruett adding 15 in the losing cause.
“At halftime, we were real excited,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “The kids were pumped, and I almost think it crept into their mind like ‘we’re going to win this game’. Against a team like Rockford Lutheran, who are very well-coached and has so many guys who can put it in the hole, you just can’t have that mentality.”
Down 19-11 in the first, Pruett made a putback and Carlson managed a three-point play to close it to 19-16 with 28.4 seconds left to close the scoring.
Midway through the second quarter, the Crusaders sunk a trey to take a 26-25 lead with 4:51 to go, but KHS went on a torrid 12-0 run capped by a Carlson three with 12.8 to go.
Fueled by six straight made shots in a row, RL would turn a 41-33 hole into a 57-47 edge before a Carlson free throw with 3.2 ticks left in the frame made it 57-48 going into the fourth.
KHS had one last run left in it, with four free throws from Carlson and Pruett and a trifecta from Carlson to close within 57-55 with 5:51 remaining. However, RL stormed further out into the lead with a 14-0 run to go up 71-55 with 1:58 to go, cinching the game.
Despite the season-ending setback, Johnson could appreciate Knight postseason performances like Carlson’s two-game explosion.
“(Carlson) was just outstanding. You could tell he was determined. It’s not something that comes easy for Ty; he worked really hard,” Johnson said.
Carlson, who put up 30 points against the Cadets, was no stranger to the close contests with the Aurora rival, having himself sunk two foul shots with under two ticks left to beat Marmion on Jan. 14.
“I can’t say enough about my teammates; they were playing awesome,” Carlson said. “Drew hitting that shot? That kid’s clutch.”
In the Friday setting that revealed the Knights’ second regional plaque in three seasons. Marmion led early 14-4 before Kaneland put in the next six points to close within 14-10.
Eight key foul shots by Carlson, including four on a technical foul, along with two Pruett foul shots helped supply an eight-point advantage. Marmion hit a shot with 7.3 left to close it to 34-28 before halftime.
The Cadets owned the third quarter, outscoring the Knights 18-8. Carlson’s bucket with 3:03 left in the frame gave Kaneland a 42-39 lead, but Marmion put up the last seven points in the quarter to head to the fourth up 46-42.
While Marmion was a flawless 8-for-8 from the foul line in the fourth, Kaneland held its own. Pruett’s putback and free throw managed to tie the game with 2:17 at 56-56. Two foul shots by the Cadets with 1:53 left lifted the visitors to a 58-56 lead. A floater by Cole Carlson followed with 1:40 to go to tie matters again. David hit free throws with 42.3 left for a 60-58 lead, and Ryan David’s chance to up the lead with two foul shots of his own came up empty.
“(Drew) makes those two free throws, he makes the game winner. I say it all the time, he’s a four-year starter, captain, an All-State football player. You come to expect those things out of him,” Johnson said.
Cadet Jordan Glasgow hit a shot attempt with 10.5 left, paving the way for Tyler Carlson to dribble up and haphazardly pass to David just inside the arc for the game-winner.
“This is something that not a lot of people get to do, and for us to do it especially the way that we did, it’s insane,” David said. “It’s something that I’ll never forget. It’s awesome.”
There wasn’t a lot of time to think once the game was deadlocked again.
“We wanted to get a stop. We thought we could win it on the defensive end. Once they got a bucket, everything just kind of went crazy,” David said.
After the loss to Rockford Lutheran, Kaneland says goodbye to seniors David, Pruett, Tom Van Bogaert, Tyler Carlson, Eric Przbylski and Cole Carlson.
Photos from Kaneland/Marmion game (by Patti Wilk):
Photos from Kaneland/Rockford Lutheran game (by Patti Wilk):
ASHLAND, WIS.—Maple Park native and Northland College junior guard Zach Ringhouse was named to the 2013-14 Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Men’s Basketball All-Conference Honorable Mention. Ringhouse finished his junior campaign with 332 points, which ranked eighth in the conference at 13.3 points per game. Ringhouse also ranked second in the conference in three-point field goal percentage at 41.4 percent. For the second year in a row, Ringhouse’s three-point field goal percentage was good enough to rank him in the top 50 among all NCAA Division III student athletes at 34th.
Photo: Senior Drew David was a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line on his way to a team-high 22 points against Glenbard South Tuesday. Photo by Patti Wilk
Share of NIB-12 title in bag, Kaneland begins Regional quest
KANELAND—Say this for Kaneland High School boys basketball: they’re playing a brand of ball that works at the right juncture of the season.
With a furious fourth quarter on Tuesday night, KHS was able to defend its No. 1 Regional seed with an 81-70 win over former conference rival Glenbard South.
With a regular season-ending win over the visiting DeKalb Barb in Maple Park on Friday, 57-55, the Knights were able to secure a triple-share of the Northern Illinois Big XII title. KHS shares it with Morris and Sycamore and has now captured at least a share of the East Division three of the last four years.
Kaneland (17-9, 7-3 NIB12) has won seven of nine after Tuesday’s Regional semifinal clash with Glenbard South.
For the Kaneland Regional, Monday’s contests featured No. 4 Glenbard South winning 88-57 over No. 5 Aurora Central Catholic and No. 3 Marmion Academy beating No. 6 IMSA 85-51. Kaneland’s Regional final opponent was to be determined in a Wednesday night game between No. 2 St. Francis of Wheaton, Ill., and Marmion. Kaneland will now face Marmion in the Regional final, after the Cadets dispatched St. Francis of Wheaton, Ill. 73-57.
Facing off against the Metro Suburban Conference rep Raiders, Kaneland withstood a game-high 30 points from senior point guard Chaun Rickette. Helping withstand the onslaught was a team-high 22 points for guard Drew David, 20 from sophomore Dylan Vaca and 16 from Ryan David.
“(GS) plays in a nice league; I think they were second,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “(Rickette) can really get to the bucket. I’m just happy the boys fought through their runs, and we were able to compete.”
After an even first quarter that saw Kaneland up 18-17, GS hit six of seven shots in an impressive stretch and took a 34-33 lead on KHS. A baseline jumper by Drew David with 1:19 to go was followed by a long-range bucket by the senior with 1:01 left for a 37-34 lead. Rickette hit the front end of two foul shot tries with 41.3 left in the half to close the scoring at 37-35.
The Raiders would take a five-point lead at 54-49 after a Rickette steal and hoop with 1:08 left in the third, but Ryan David’s trey with 40 seconds left brought it back to a manageable 54-52 deficit preceding the fourth.
The fourth quarter began with David tying the game just 15 seconds in and GS taking the lead again with 6:44 to go at 56-54. Vaca was fouled on a successful three try and sunk the foul shot for the go-ahead attempt, and David jacked a three for a quick turnaround and a 61-56 lead with 5:54 left. John Pruett’s putback and a Vaca foul shot completed a 10-0 run and made it 64-56 with 4:40 to go.
KHS would hit seven of nine foul shots the rest of the way and see a barrage of four made shots in a row by Pruett, Ryan David, Vaca and Ryan David once again as the hosts enjoyed their biggest lead of the night at 77-64.
“Some teams would look at that and think they’re not very good, but we knew they were very talented, especially after watching them (Monday),” Drew David said. “We knew we were going to have to play a really solid game.”
Against the visiting Barbs, who beat the Knights on Feb. 4, 76-70, Kaneland was led by Pruett’s 13, Cole Carlson’s 12 and Drew David’s 12. David’s output came entirely thanks to four three-point shots.
Kaneland led 20-16 after the first quarter and 33-30 at the halftime buzzer. The Knights maintained a 48-45 lead going into the final eight minutes of play.
With the season now in full survive-and-advance mode, the Class 3A Regional championship is set for Friday at 7 p.m.