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Kaneland soccer hopes to reach beyond Regional

in Featured/Girls Soccer by

Photo: Melissa Bohorquez attempts to beat her Maple Leaf opponent to the ball in the girls soccer opener Saturday. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For the past three seasons, Kaneland girls soccer has made it to heights previously unknown.

Now comes the challenge of kicking even higher.

The Lady Knights finished 12-9-3 in 2011 and fell in the regional title match for the third consecutive year, but that was with 96-goal scorer Emily Heimerdinger at her peak.

With Heimerdinger and other personnel like Sophie Blank no longer brandishing the Knight insignia, its up to a crop that mixes returnees and newbies that now know nothing but a winning attitude.

“We are young with nine underclassmen on the team,” eight-year coach Scott Parillo said. “But in the opener (against Geneseo), when we possessed the ball, we created a ton of chances, and that’s promising.”

Parillo’s captains all bring a load of experience, and 2012 brings the return of 2010 superstar goalkeeper Jordan Ginther, fresh from a tour with her Naperville club team.

“We’re excited, we really are; she’s phenomenal and a class act,” Parillo said. “She’s one of the best goalies I’ve ever seen.”

With the other captains, Parillo is eager to put them to work on the pitch.

“They’ve only been on winning teams here at Kaneland. Taylor White, Abby Bend and Katie Taylor are all three-year varsity players. They’ve been around Emily and Sophie and Amy (Fabrizius) from last year and other players before that. We hope that if we make it to the regional championship this year, we can bring home that plaque,” Parillo said.

Taylor at midfield, Ginther and goal and Bend at forward provide good security for Parillo.

“They are all helping out and taking charge. Captains have to be vocal and lead the team,” Parillo said.

On the defensive crew, returnees Brooke Harner and Amber Winquist-Bailey help protect Kaneland, along with fellow multi-year Lady Knight Anne Marie Giese.

New additions to the defense are Taylor Opperman, a freshman.

At midfield, the captain Taylor lends her skills along with sophomores Delaney Stryczek and Jess Coia, with all three tallying goals and assists a year ago.

Able to play midfield and forward is freshman Madi Jurcenko, who tallied the first assist of the 2012 campaign.

At forward is fellow freshman Courtney Diddell, who got the pass from Jurcenko on St. Patrick’s Day for the first goal of 2012.

“These new girls are extremely coachable and fun to watch. They hate to lose and (are) eager to learn,” Parillo said.

Also contributing to the effort at forward are last year’s goalkeeper Michelle Ortiz, her sister, Heather, and Melissa Bohroquez and Brittany Olson.

Lady Knights soccer loses to Geneseo, beats IMSA

in Girls Soccer by

KANELAND—Coach Scott Parillo was happy at his girls soccer unit’s effort in the opening contest against Geneseo, despite the less-than-desirable result.

On Tuesday, the effort and result were perfectly matched.

With an 8-1 win over Aurora rival Illinois Math and Science Academy, the host Lady Knights improved to 1-1.

Geneseo used three well-timed second-half goals to beat Kaneland during an unseasonably warm St. Patrick’s Day encounter, 3-1.

The lone Kaneland goal was placed by freshman Courtney Diddell on a pass from fellow freshman Madi Jurcenko with 14 minutes, 31 seconds gone by in the action.

Taking on the Lady Titans, Kaneland’s three first-half goals were enough, as put in by Katie Taylor from Jurcenko, Jurcenko from Jess Coia and Diddell from Delaney Stryczek.

Diddell, Michelle Ortiz, Brittany Olson and Abby Bend put the ball in the net in the second 40 minutes.

The Lady Knights were scheduled for a meeting in Aurora against Rosary on Wednesday, and rest until the usual Blackhawk Invite at West Aurora on Thursday, April 5.

Boys track talent factory hopes to pay dividends

in Boys Track/Featured by

Photo: Kory Harner is one of the many cogs in the victory machine for Kaneland boys track. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Knights boys track has a storied history and a lot to live up to.

In the last couple seasons, the outfit has not disappointed.

With 2010’s second-place team finish in Class 2A, and 2011’s third straight sectional championship, the final obstacle of the season saw a State crown for departed senior Taylor Andrews in the hurdles, as well as qualification in 10 events.

Seventh-year Coach Eric Baron takes solace in the fact that even with personnel like Andrews, Trevor Holm and Tommy Whittaker not wearing Knights garb, they return athletes that learned quite a bit and excelled often.

“We’re missing that experience this year, I’ll be honest,” Baron said. “Brandon Cottier has the most State meet experience now, and we have guys that ran at State like Sean Carter in the 4×200 and Brandon Bishop and Luis Acosta. We have a lot of young talent, but not a lot of big meet experience.”

Clayton Brundinge returns for events like the 4x800m relay, and the Knights will enjoy the talents of Miki Marin and Carter.

“Carter is a great leader and it was just his first year, and you’d never know it by talking with him and being around him,” Baron said.

Baron has a pleasant problem when it comes to distance.

“What I have right now is more depth than I’ve ever had before and can run fresh athletes in almost every distance race,” Baron said.

Kyle Carter, coming off a huge cross-country season, employs his endurance for the 4×800 and the 4×400.

Conor Johnson will also be counted on for distance events, along with Clayton Brundige, John Meisinger, Nate Rehkopf and Brandon Huber.

For sprints, Cottier returns to once again make a mark as a two-time Charleston qualifier, while Bishop returns off a NIB-12 best campaign in the 100m dash.

Dylan Pennington contributes to the spring side in the 4×100 and 4×200.

For the field events, Baron shows optimism.

“It’s going to be eye-opening how much we’ve improved on field events. Nate Dyer is on pace to blow away school records in discus, and Shane Jorgensen has thrown over 44 feet already,” Baron said.

Alex Snyder and Jaumaureo Phillips take care of the throwing events as well.

Perhaps the most questions center around the long jump, with basketball talent Marcel Neil making the transition to the track and hoping to answer some of them.

“Once we figure out what to do with him, he’s going to impress a lot of people in the long jump,” Baron said.

Tanner Andrews returns after having his sophomore campaign wiped out due to injury, and heads to the triple jump with teammates Marshall Farthing and Frankie Furco.

Kory Harner and Dylan Nauert look to return to rarified air in the pole vault and hurdles, respectively.

The Knights try to move on from a productive indoor campaign and head outdoors to the East Moline United Invite on Saturday, April 7. The Kane County Invite takes place at West Aurora on Friday, May 4.

Vanik’s IKWF trip worth it

in Community Sports by

Photo: Riley Vanik of Sugar Grove is recognized at the IKWF championships in Rockford, Ill. for finishing second in his 138-pound novice class on Saturday. Courtesy Photo

Vanik Places second in State
ROCKFORD, Ill.—This past weekend 840 wrestlers met at the BMO Harris Bank Centre in Rockford for the Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation (IKWF) State Championships.

The championships were to crown a State Champion in each of 35 weight classes in two age divisions. Riley Vanik of Sugar Grove placed second in the Novice 138-pound weight class. He was joined by teammate John McCaffrey in the Novice 70-pound class, also of Sugar Grove, who finished in the top 12, falling one win short of placing.

Both are members of the Martinez Fox Valley Elite Wrestling Club who won the team championship for the Novice Division (11 and 12-year-olds). Zach Parker (Senior, 177pounds), the third wrestler from Sugar Grove and member of the Knights Wrestling Club also participated in the event.

KHS hoops squads can brandish honors

in Boys Basketball/Featured/Girls Basketball by

Photo: Ashley Prost (right), Thomas Williams (left) and Marcel Neil (middle) took home first-team All-Conference honors as named by the Northern Illinois Big XII on Thursday. Both girls and boys outfits for Kaneland advanced to their sectionals in 2011-12. File Photos

Two first-team All NIB-12 picks for boys, one for girls
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It’s as easy as a lay-up to deduce that both KHS basketball programs would get postseason honors to recognize exceptional play and postseason runs.

The boys basketball team, which saw its season conclude with a 12-point loss nine days ago to State-bound Rockford East, saw two of its assets named to the Northern Illinois Big XII All-Conference team.

Unanimously selected to the first team were senior Marcel Neil and sophomore Thomas Williams, both pivotal to the sectional run made by the Knights.

“Marcel was the ultimate team leader and player,” boys coach Brian Johnson said. “He was very unselfish on the court. Throughout the year, Thomas continued to improve and really came into his own the last month of the season.”

Meanwhile, KHS senior Ashley Prost was a unanimous selection to the All-NIB-12 girls roster.

For the boys side, other unanimous selections were Rochelle’s Grant Prusator and David Newton, Morris’ Jake Olson, and Dekalb’s Andre Harris and East Division MVP Brian Sisler.

Yorkville’s Josh Williams was also a first-teamer.

Kaneland’s Tyler Heinle led the pack for the honorable mention as a senior.

Other members included Sycamore’s Devin Mottet and Brandon Spartz, Yorkville’s Stephen Jones and Brandon Holmes, DeKalb’s Danny Matya and Kyle Berg, Rochelle’s Matt Rosenwinkel and Morris’ Danny Friend.

Streator’s JJ Cravata was named West MVP.

Lady Knight Prost was the lone selection on the first team for Kaneland, while Rachel Torres, Taylor White and Courtney Patrick of DeKalb also earned first-team honors as did Yorkville’s Jordann Dhuse and Alicyn Hester. Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza and Rochelle’s Michelle Dobbs filled out the elite selections.

Dobbs and Torres were named co-MVP’s of the East Division.

Sharpshooter Allyson O’Herron and Emma Bradford’s contribution as juniors yielded an honorable mention tag in the NIB-12 East Division scheme.

“All three players were a pleasure to coach as people, first and foremost,” KHS girls coach Ernie Colombe said. “In terms of their skills, Ashley brought a lot of toughness to our team. She has a lot of ways she can beat her defenders. Allyson O’Herron is the best long range shooter we have had during my time at KHS. Emma Bradford was kind of our Scottie Pippen,she was asked to do a little bit of everything for us.”

Other honorable mentions were Lady Redskins Julie Jurasits and Laney Torkelson, Sycamore’s Bailey Gilbert, Rochelle’s Christina Williams and DeKalb’s Courtney Williams.

In the West Division, Geneseo’s Devan Griffin took MVP honors.

Waubonsee’s Randall becomes Mr. 800 in Fla.

in Waubonsee Sports by

Photo: Dave Randall and his 800-win accomplishment are celebrated with his Waubonsee baseball squad in St. Petersburg, Fla. Waubonsee Community College Sports Information

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—Long-time Waubonsee Community College head coach Dave Randall joined a select group as his Chiefs downed Fergus Falls (MN) Community College 6-3 at the Walter Fuller Baseball Complex to give him 800 career coaching victories.

Randall becomes the 50th coach in the history of NJCAA baseball and the 20th active junior college coach to win 800 or more games. In his 35th season at Waubonsee, Randall is only the second NJCAA Division III non-scholarship level coach to reach this plateau. The coach was honored by his team with the game ball, a banner proclaiming his achievement, a commemorative jersey signed by the entire team, and a post-game celebration dinner.

The Chiefs’ first victory of the season was keyed by the pitching of Brian Burns. The sophomore right-hander allowed one run on only two hits through five innings of play, striking out seven. With a 5-1 lead Burns surrendered a leadoff single and then walked the next batter to begin the sixth. He departed and freshman Kyle Bender came on in relief. A pair of Waubonsee errors then led to Fergus Falls’ final two runs before Bender squelched the threat en route to earning his first collegiate save.
Waubonsee’s offense was sparked by Harry Vickers’ solo home run to deep left field in the third inning. The freshman’s prodigious shot was followed three batters later by Scott Allegretti’s run-scoring single to put the Chiefs in front 3-1 at that point. Kyle Limanowski then led off the bottom of the fourth with a towering drive to the 400-foot sign at the base of the centerfield fence, for a standup triple. He scored a moment later when Dylan Hast reached base on an error. Waubonsee added single runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth to secure the milestone victory. Limanowski finished with two hits.

Waubonsee did not fare as well in game two against Fergus Falls. Chiefs’ pitchers walked seven and yielded 15 hits in a 14-4 loss in five innings. The Chiefs (1-7) continue their eight-day, 14-game Florida trip with games versus Brookdale (NY) Community College on Wednesday, March 14 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Men in Blue

in Community Sports by

On March 3 at Harter Middle School, the Elburn “Smurfs” won the 4th grade tournament championship over Sugar Grove, 22-13. The team is made up of Mike Patroll (front, left to right), William Haley, Ryan Milton and Guy Screenan. Coach George Milton (back, left to right), Trevor Carlson, Patrick Milton, Corey Beck, Markus Suggs, Jack Haley and coach Josh Carlson.
Courtesy Photo

KYFL and Cheer begin

in Community Sports by

KANELAND—Kaneland Youth Football and Cheer (KYFL) is a youth sports league that plays and cheers in the the Midwest Youth “Big 12” Football Conference (MYFC). KYFL plays against other leagues in the MYFC; plus the Yorkville Foxes, Burlington Central Panthers and the DeKalb Bengals.

Registration for (KYFL) for the 2012 football season runs through May 31. The registration will be held online at www.KYFL.com KYFL is a tackle, flag and cheer program for children ages 5-11. The football season begins the last week of July and ends mid-October.

The flag program is for 5-and 6-year-olds and begins on Aug. 6. The season runs through Oct. The practices and games are held during the week.

The tackle program has teams for ages 7-8, 9, 10, and 11-year-olds. All age requirements are as of Sept. 1, 2012. There is no residency requirement. Practices begin on July 30, and games are played on Saturdays beginning Aug. 25. The season ends Oct. 12. Playoffs and championship are the next two weekends.

The cheer program has squads for children ages 6-11. Their practices begin on Aug. 1 and their season runs along with flag and tackle programs.

There are family discounts and payment plans and early bird pricing available through March 31. For more information, go to www.kyfl.com, or contact Jason Born at (630) 940-4239.

Knights bounced: E-Rabs’ fourth spells doom for KHS in sectional

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There exists no direct or obvious correlation for higher drama the further you go in the Class 3A boys basketball playoffs.

That seemed to be ever true for coach Brian Johnson’s Knight crew, but the excitement failed to tip their way by the final buzzer on Tuesday night in Sycamore.

Victimized by a furious fourth quarter in the Sycamore Sectional semifinal by Rockford East High School, and more specifically, Steven McNease, KHS fell 66-54 to end its season at 17-11 (5-5 Northern Illinois Big XII Conference).

Kaneland has now ended all three seasons with Johnson at the helm with 17 wins.

The E-Rabs now head to the sectional final on Friday, March 9.

It was on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum from Friday night’s 65-61 overtime comeback win in the Rochelle Regional final, which secured Kaneland’s first regional plaque since 1999.

Against Rockford East, Marcel Neil had a team-high 14 points, while Thomas Williams had 13, but it was McNease’s 26 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter, that spelled the end for the Knights.

Going into the final eight minutes tied at 35, and even holding a slim 45-44 lead with four minutes, 52 seconds to go, the Knights were outscored 31-19 in the last frame. The E-Rabs went on a 22-9 run to conclude the game.

“Our boys made a match and (Rockford East) had to fight to get the win,” Johnson said. “We won a regional, and that’s something they can be proud of.”

Down 26-15 with 2:47 to go in the first half, Kaneland used baskets from Drew David, Tyler Heinle and Williams to close within 26-23 at halftime.

The third quarter was closer, and a Neil putback made it 27-26 Kaneland 55 ticks into the half. With time winding down, a Matt Limbrunner close-range bucket with 1:10 to go gave KHS a 35-33 edge before Rockford East tied it with 57 seconds remaining.

Both teams exhibited high percentages in the fourth and traded shot for shot. Dan Miller’s two foul shots with 4:10 to go tied it at 47, but McNease caught fire with a trifecta to give the E-Rabs the lead for good with 4:02 left.

The lead increased to 56-49 with 2:05 to go and could get no closer with Rockford East playing the turnovers and steals to their advantage.

In a happier circumstance against the host Hubs in Ogle County, the Knights were paced by Neil with 21 and Williams with 19.

KHS also went 29-for-36 from the foul line, while Rochelle went 13-for-16.

Down 33-20 at halftime in a raucous setting, Kaneland composed itself and closed within 42-33 at the end of three.

Down by as many as 10 in the fourth, Kaneland found itself down 57-49 with 2:17.

All the Knights did from then on was put in the last eight points of regulation to force overtime.

A basket by Neil and followed by his three-point play with 1:29 to go closed it to 57-55, while Williams’ free throws with 44.7 to go tied the score at 57 to force another frame.

KHS took control with an inside move by Neil 90 seconds into OT, and then went up by as much as six with foul shots by David, Williams and Neil.

“We had to dig deep,” Neil said. “In that fourth quarter, we knew it was going to take leadership. We stepped up and hit big shots.”

The Knights say goodbye to Neil, Tyler Heinle, Trever Heinle and Bryan Van Bogaert.

KYFL and Cheer begin

in Community Sports by

KANELAND—Kaneland Youth Football and Cheer (KYFL) is a youth sports league that plays and cheers in the the Midwest Youth “Big 12” Football Conference (MYFC). KYFL plays against other leagues in the MYFC; plus the Yorkville Foxes, Burlington Central Panthers and the DeKalb Bengals.

KYFL has a mission to ensure all participants learn football and cheer fundamentals, as well as team play, good sportsmanship and fair play, in a manner that allows them to enjoy the game.

KYFL strives so that each and every player receives the opportunity to maximize his or her individual potential through fair and equitable instruction.

Registration for (KYFL) for the 2012 Football season runs through May 31. The registration will be held online at www.KYFL.com KYFL is a tackle, flag and cheer program for children ages 5-11. The football season begins the last week of July and ends mid-October.

The flag program is for 5 and 6-year-olds and begins on Aug. 6. The season runs through Oct. The practices and games are held during the week.

The tackle program has teams for ages 7-8, 9, 10, and 11-year-olds. All age requirements are as of Sept. 1, 2012. There is no residency requirement. Practices begin on July 30 and games are played on Saturdays beginning Aug. 25. The season ends Oct. 12. Playoffs and championship are the next two weekends.

The cheer program has squads for children ages 6-11. Their practices begin on Aug. 1 and their season runs along with flag and tackle programs.

There are family discounts and payment plans and early bird pricing available through March 31. For more information, go to www.kyfl.com, or contact Jason Born at (630) 940-4239.

Harter’s mat triumph

in Middle School by

ROCKFORD, Ill.—The Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation (IKWF) held its Sectional Tournaments on Saturday as a qualifying event to the annual State Championships in Rockford. Three Harter Middle School wrestlers placed in the top three at their respective weights. The top three in each weight class qualify for State. John McCaffrey (3rd Place—Novice) and Riley Vanik (2nd place–Novice) of the Martinez Fox Valley Elite Wrestling Club advance out of the South Elgin Sectional, while Zach Parker (3rd place–Senior) of the Knights Wrestling Club advanced out of the Rochelle Sectional.

Falling one win short of a trip to State with 4th-place finishes were Nathan Orosco and Luke Eggenberger of Martinez and Austin Parks of the Knights.

Vanik, McCaffrey and Parker are among the 24 qualifiers at each weight that will compete in the championships on Friday and Saturday, March 9-10, at the BMO Harris Bank Centre in Rockford.

Van Bogaert enjoys new courtside role

in Elburn/Featured/Girls Basketball by

Photo: Elyse Van Bogaert has gone from Rambler player to Royal coach. Courtesy of Steve Woltmann, Loyola Sports Information

by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—Elburn resident and Loyola University standout Elyse Van Bogaert just can’t stay away from the roundball action.

That’s been welcome news for the group at Rosary High School in Aurora.

Returning to the program that boasted her talents as the first-ever freshman to suit up for the varsity team, Van Bogaert joined the Rosary Royals under head coach Dave Beebe as an assistant for the most recent hoops season.

Despite the campaign coming to end at the hands of Yorkville two weeks ago, stamping the season’s end at 9-18, Van Bogaert felt the season was worth it, as she passed on some of what she learned during her time as a 6-foot-1 post presence for Rosary and the Loyola Lady Ramblers.

“This past year has really been my first time truly coaching,” Van Bogaert said. “I coached summer league basketball at Rosary a few summers during college and helped at camps we held at Loyola, but that was about it. Last winter I helped run a few clinics for AAU programs and ran a few skill development classes for them, as well. Aside from that, I’ve worked on an individual basis with about 10 different middle school-and-high school aged girls developing position specific skills and agility. That for me, has been the most fun.

The 2010 graduate of Loyola University in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago had coaching on the brain after a career that saw her become one of only 10 Lady Ramblers to score 1,000 career points and amass 500 rebounds.

“I stayed in touch with Coach Beebe after I graduated. When I’d come home over the summers, I helped out with camps. He took his teams up to a few of my college games. I always said if I ended up coming back to the area for awhile I’d love to coach with him at Rosary. I got home from Italy and graduated at the end of last December and started helping out with the team, then they hired me on for the next season,” Van Bogaert said.

Any player that ventures into the coaching ranks is influenced by their teachers. Va nBogaert had a distinguished field to choose from.

“I had two coaches that really left a huge impact on me as a player and an individual. I played for Larry Parker (father of Candace Parker) on an AAU team my last two years in high school. He was one of the most knowledgeable and intense coaches, but above all he cared about the well being of his players. He was just one of those coaches you would do anything to please. The other coach I really try to model my coaching style after is Rashana Barnes, my post coach my freshman and sophomore years at Loyola. She was a standout at Penn State and went on to play in the WNBA. Her technical knowledge and incorporation of strength and conditioning into our workouts was phenomenal,” Van Bogaert said.

Van Bogaert hopes that this first year is a harbinger of things to come and that her coaching skills increase exponentially—much like her court skills in Aurora and the city.

“I learned a lot about game situations and the seemingly endless number of things you need to be aware of while coaching-—luckily, I was able to observe Coach Beebe. I also began to realize how flexible you have to be as a coach. When one thing doesn’t work, you have to keep reinventing and adjusting things until things click for your players.”

Boys BB shows playoff hoop skills in win over Spartans

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: KHS head coach Brian Johnson tries to spur a comeback in the fourth period of Kaneland’s close match against Rochelle on Friday. Rochelle escaped with a 59-57 NIB-12 win. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—This has already turned out to be a better postseason than the last for KHS boys hoops.

Exorcising some demons of last year’s season-ending regional opener loss to Aurora Central Catholic on March 2, 2011, top-seed Kaneland worked their offense and came weathered Sycamore runs for a solid 55-45 win.

Sycamore (9-20) had outlasted Burlington Central in the opening game of the Rochelle Regional.

Kaneland is set to play two-seed Rochelle on Friday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. after the Hubs edged Hampshire, 59-57.

The Knights, now 16-10, have a chance to make good on a regional title after losing to DeKalb two years ago in Maple Park.

The task at hand on Tuesday was more difficult than listed on paper, with the Spartans on a positive trajectory and having gotten the better of Kaneland in the second regular-season meeting.

“It’s a big win against a conference opponent, and they beat us earlier in the year,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “This is going to be a tough game no matter what.”

The victory marked a nice change of pace for the Knights after sustaining two losses in a row—the first time that has happened since Jan. 18, 2011.

Thomas Williams and Marcel Neil had 15 points apiece, and Trever Heinle had 13 points. It was all the better to combat Sycamore’s Devin Mottet, who scored the Spartans’ first 10 points of the evening and finished with 20.

Down 8-4 early, Heinle had a putback, Williams made two foul shots, and with 4.6 seconds to go, Dan Miller sunk a shot to go up 10-8.

Williams’ basket with 1:38 to go in the half made it 22-16 before a Spartan three just before the buzzer cut the margin to three at the half.

The offense started to click for KHS midway through the quarter on a Drew David three for a 31-21 lead with 4:21 to go. Tyler Heinle’s trey with 4.6 to go made it 36-27 by the buzzer.

The lead ballooned to 44-31 with 4:18 to go, and the free throws did the rest of the damage.

Tyler Heinle and Neil came up with pivotal three-point plays, as well.

“We knew coming into the game they’d been playing a lot better,” David said. “We knew we had to compete from the beginning.”

In the regular season finale, the Knights’ comeback fell short against the Hubs, 59-57—a reversal of fortune from the regular season finale a year ago that resulted in a Northern Illinois Big XII conference title.

The Knights were paced by Williams’ 15 points, Tyler Heinle’s 13 and Neil’s 12.

Rolling Thunder: Lady Knights’ season ends in 43-31 sectional final

in Featured/Girls Basketball by

Photo: Sarah Grams looks for someone to pass to in the third period of Kaneland’s Class 3A sectional title game against Belvidere North on Feb. 23 at Sycamore High School. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
SYCAMORE—Emotions on the faces of the Lady Knights as they came out of the game, one-by-one, told the story. It would prove to be a sad ending.

However, the Lady Knights basketball squad can be proud of the memories they forged in the most prolific season for the program since 2005-06, which came to an end on Thursday with a 43-31 loss to the Belvidere North Blue Thunder.

The Sycamore Sectional final concluded the season at 20-10, while Belvidere North’s season finally concluded at 23-10 with a 53-46 loss to Vernon Hills High School during Monday’s Elgin High School Super-Sectional.

Kaneland was buoyed by Ashley Prost and Kelly Evers, each with 11 points. Center Katie Dovenuehle had 12 points for the winners.

KHS was also nicked by a 5-for-12 night at the foul line, compared to 14-for-20 for BN.

“Belvidere North’s a good team,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “Defensively, we did some good things, but we had to start fouling at the end. I thought free throws hurt us tonight.”

Kaneland and the Blue Thunder were deadlocked at 7-7 after one frame. With a basket by Evers and a steal from Alli Liss leading to a lay-in by Allyson O’Herron, the Lady Knights were up 11-7 with 7:21 remaining in the second quarter.

However, BN’s offense and board attack showed dividends, and KHS found itself on the wrong end of an 8-0 run.

Down 18-12, Prost’s bucket with 28.4 remaining brought the halftime score to 18-14.

In the third, KHS enjoyed foul shots from Prost and a putback from Evers to tie the game at 22-22 with 2:59 to go, but that would be the last time Kaneland would sniff a lead.

Belvidere North went on a 9-0 run that went into the fourth quarter. The Blue Thunder were able to get to the foul line with frequency as the seconds ticked away. Sarah Grams and Prost found the net to close within 36-31 with 1:39 remaining, but the Blue Thunder hit seven-of-eight foul shots to close it out.

“Free throws sometimes deflate you, they hit a bunch at the end and their kids stepped up and that’s why they’re moving on,” Colombe said.

With a team that loses just two seniors, Kelly Evers and Liz Barnette, Kaneland has laid a winning foundation.

“The girls gave us everything they had all year. They enjoyed the atmosphere of the playoffs and got a lot of support from the school. They got a taste for it,” Colombe said.

Galvan a good sport

in Girls Basketball by

University of Wisconsin-Platteville women’s basketball junior forward Alyssa Galvan was named to the WIAC All-Sportsmanship Team on Monday. Galvan, of Maple Park, was recognized for her display of exemplary sportsmanship throughout the season. Courtesy of Wisconsin-Platteville Sports Information

Young Kaneland-area wrestlers excel

in Wrestling by

KANELAND—This past weekend a number of students from the Kaneland School District participated in the IKWF (Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation) Regional Championships held in Wheaton and Sycamore.

The top six finishers at each weight class advance to Sectional Meets in Elgin, Ill. and Rochelle, Ill. Ten of the wrestlers are members of the Martinez Fox Valley Elite Wrestling Club, and all qualified for this weekend’s Sectional Meet in Elgin, Ill. Those who qualified were: Nathan Orosco (3rd place – Novice), John McCaffrey (2nd place – Novice), Zack Farris (5th place – Novice), Jacob Shear (3rd place – Senior), Matthew Redman (5th place – Senior), Hayden Patterson (4th place – Senior), Trevor Jones (4th place – Novice), Luke Eggenberger (5th place – Novice). Riley Vanik (2nd place – Novice), and Mitchell Jones (3rd place – Senior).

The Knights Wrestling Club had 12 wrestlers advance to their Sectionals in Rochelle. Those who qualified were: Jace Black (4th place – Intermediate), Brenden Parks (3rd Place – Intermediate), Jack Certa (6th place – Intermediate), Brandon Bryan (6th place – Intermediate), Colin Gussman (5th place – Senior), Diego Lobo (5th place – Senior), George Strang (4th place – Senior), Tommy Kumar (2nd place – Novice), Austin Parks (4th place – Senior), Ben Long (5th Place – Senior), Connor Hoeft (4th place – Novice), and Zach Parker (1st place – Senior).

The Sectional meets have 12 wrestlers at each weight, and the top three finishers will move on to the State Championships in Rockford, Ill., on Friday and Saturday, March 9-10.

Carter navigating Whitewater football in ‘12

in Football by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Based on the last two football seasons, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football program can be glad they’ve added a solid piece to its receiving core.

In February, Sean Carter, wideout and track weapon for Kaneland High School, committed to the Division III program.

Carter was a deep threat for a Kaneland squad for the last two undefeated seasons of KHS football—a team that has advanced to the Class 5A quarterfinals in consecutive years.

“Knowing all your accomplishments mean something and that you can continue to play after getting used to doing that for so many years,” Carter said on Tuesday. “It takes a lot of pressure off finally having that decision made.”

An all-conference player, Carter hopes to help a Warhawks squad that ran roughshod over the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on its way to its fourth Division III championship in five years.

“Last year, we had a lot of big weapons. This year, Quinn (Buschbacher) and I were the seniors. It was a position we weren’t in the year before, and we were big targets,” Carter said. “Just being a big target gets you into a mindset.”

Carter was debating Wisconsin-Platteville, Minnesota State-Moorhead and St. Joseph’s (Ind.) before making his decision.

Teammate Buschbacher committed to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

And the award goes to …

in Girls Basketball/Kaneland/Volleyball by

The 1979 Girls Basketball was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Friday evening. Coach Rick Schairer (left to right), Cathy (Thompson) Bluma, Kathy (Turk) Claesson and Jeanette Decker. Not pictured were Kathy Brandt, Lorna Schlechte, Diane Beebe, Margie White, Betsy Beyer, Kim Keller, Christa McLeland, Lisa Underwood, Missy Olmstead, Nancy Fedderson, Raquel Slay, Margaret Berry, Martha Weydert, Lea Ann Machias, Marcia Withey, Paula Beyer, Brenda Miller, Tina Perry, Susan Baldridge and Dede Sanchez. Photo by Patti Wilk           

The 1977 Girls Volleyball team was inducted during halftime of the varsity girl’s basketball game on Feb. 10. Kathy (Turk) Claesson (left to right), Coach Judy Hulka, and Colleen (Hanson) Peto.Not pictured were Sue Ott, Cari Claesson, Margie White, Sarah Anderson, Julie Fabrizius, Lorna Schlechte, Marcia Davids, Cathy Hanson and Diane Beebe.

Photo by Patti Wilk

A must see Thursday

in Featured/Girls Basketball by

Regional crown down, sectional final to go for girls after three wins

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For a squad that has gone largely untested for the position it’s in, Kaneland girls basketball showed it belongs in a mid-February basketball setting.

With a regional semfinal win over IMSA on Feb. 15, followed by a regional title win over Yorkville on Thursday, the Lady Knights improved to 20-9, thus far with perhaps their most impressive late-season win—a 40-31 stifling of fellow one-seed Hampshire on Monday evening in the Sycamore Sectional.

The stars are set to collide in a Thursday, Feb. 23, sectional final against the Blue Thunder of Belvidere North High School at 7:30 p.m. Belvidere North defeated NIB-12 stalwart Sterling in the opening matchup of Monday’s doubleheader, 41-40.

Against the Lady Whip-purs, the Lady Knights were paced with 12 points from Allyson O’Herron and 11 points from Ashley Prost. The Lady Knights employed sound passing and making the most of opportunities on the offensive end, while confounding Hampshire on the defensive end. That led to an 11-2 lead after the first quarter and a sizable 21-6 lead after the first half.

The first half was indicative of winning performances all year, but not on this important a stage.

“We’re not going to set any records on offense, but we can lock you down on defense when we feel like it,” Colombe said.

Colombe felt more of the same needed to happen in order for Hampshire, very unlikely to be stuck at six points for the duration of the game, not to find itself back in the contest.

“That’s exactly what we told the girls at halftime. They’re going to score more than six points. We’re going to have to weather the storm a little bit and keep communicating on defense,” Colombe said.

The deficit got up to as much as 18 points when Prost’s baseline jumper made it 26-8 with 5:13 remaining in the third.

Hampshire then went on a 9-0 run over the next four minutes before O’Herron sunk two free throws with 53.8 ticks left.

After Sarah Grams stole a Hampshire pass and converted on a layup and three-point play, the Lady Knights enjoyed a 31-17 lead as the third frame ended.

Strangely, it would be the final field goal for KHS on a night in which the Lady Knights went 12-for-24 from the field.

In the fourth, it was a matter of possession and getting to the line, and Kaneland went 8-of-10. While Hampshire cut it to 37-29 with 1:53 to go, it would get not closer thanks to the free-throw efforts of O’Herron, Prost and Lauren Zick.

Keyed by the first-half, O’Herron thought the game was one of of the most complete efforts all year by Kaneland.

“We just went after them on defense, and we didn’t let them have anything,” O’Herron said. “That was a big part in holding them to six points in the first half; that was incredible.”

In Thursday’s 37-34 final win over Yorkville, the Lady Knights snagged revenge from the 45-42 frustration suffered at the hands of the Lady Foxes on Feb. 3. Prost was the only KHS player in double figures with 10, while Yorkville’s Jordan Dhuse had a game-high 20.

Kaneland benefited from two long-range bombs by O’Herron, coupled with a pair of foul shots and a late basket from Brooke Harner on the way to a 16-7 advantage after one quarter.

A Grams layup gave KHS its biggest lead of 18-8 with 6:02 remaining in the half, but a rally by Yorkville closed the game to 20-16 by halftime’s buzzer.

A Yorkville basket tied the game with 4:34 remaining in the third, but a three by O’Herron and three consecutive baskets by Prost gave Kaneland a 29-22 lead going into the fourth.

However, a furious Lady Foxes rally threatened to overwhelm Kaneland, and a 10-0 run by the two-seed made it a 32-29 deficit with 5:12 remaining.

Two Yorkville foul shots made it 34-31 with 2:32 remaining, but Kelly Evers’ putback with 2:19 to go closed it to within one.

The tide-turner was Emma Bradford’s putback in traffic of her own miss with 1:33 remaining, for a 35-34 lead.

“I just kind of took what they gave me. We didn’t have a lot of time left, and I had to keep composed,” Bradford said.

The scoring was capped with an outlet pass to Grams, who converted the bucket with 17 ticks left for the three-point edge.

Against IMSA in the regional semi, KHS was helped by a balanced scoring column and Grams’ nine points.

“We’re all excited, I mean it was one of our goals to get to a regional championship,” Grams said after the IMSA win. “We wanted to work on rebounding tonight and try to improve ourselves.”

Kaneland’s 30-15 halftime lead paved the way for better things. The Lady Knights were 24-of-47 from the field.

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