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Sports - page 61

Boys hoops puts clamp on Spartans, H-BR

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: Kaneland’s Dan Miller fights for control of the ball in the second period when Kaneland traveled to Sycamore on Saturday. Kaneland dominated, winning 70-42. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—Kaneland boys basketball is enjoying a three-game win streak dating back to last week—all three of the double-digit variety.

Coming into this week, the Knights held court with victories in Sycamore and Hinckley.

The Knights are now 5-3 on the season (2-0 Northern Illinois Big XII).

Expanding a tight halftime lead, the Knights went into overdrive against rival host Sycamore on Saturday.

In the 70-42 win over the Spartans, Kaneland welcomed 22 points from Marcel Neil, 14 from teammate Thomas Williams and 10 from Trever Heinle.

The Knights also launched six three-pointers, including three from Neil.

Sycamore produced no players in double figures.

The Knights’ 9-5 lead after the first frame increased to 26-20 at the halftime buzzer. Then, Kaneland turned it on in the third for a 51-31 lead after three quarters before adding a 19-spot in the fourth.

In sophomore action, Sycamore got past Kaneland 47-44 to drop the Knights to 4-2.

Along Route 30, the varsity Knights enjoyed a Tuesday win by getting off on the right foot, going up 14-2 after the first quarter, and holding a 31-17 advantage at the half.

Kaneland extended its sizable lead to 49-33 before the contest wound down.

The Knights were helped by Matt Limbrunner’s 13 and Thomas Williams’ 12.

The sophomore Knights also beat their H-BR counterparts, 61-26.

The varsity crew heads for a meeting against DeKalb on Friday, Dec. 16, in Maple Park.

KYSO signup a couple clicks away

in Community Sports by

ELBURN—Soccer enthusiasts between the ages of 4 and 17 years old can register online to play the KYSO spring season, which runs from April 28 through June 9. The registration deadline is Jan. 31, 2012. The fee, which includes a jersey, shorts and socks, is $85 for the first player and $60 for additional players from the same family. Register at www.kanelandyouthsoccer.com.

KYSO has open registration that serves players across northern Illinois. KYSO philosophy means everyone gets to play, coaches use positive coaching and training, and sportsmanship is promoted both on and off the field. All practices and games are located to the east of Kaneland High School.

Consider coaching your child’s team. Training is provided. Registration accommodates special needs players from ages 5-16, who play with “Buddy” assistance. The fee is $35.

Boys split against current, former conference mates

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: Thomas Williams (24) caters to his own southpaw strengths on a trip to the basket during Friday’s NIB-12 win over the visiting Morris Redskins. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Beginning 1-0 in conference play doesn’t just sound better—it is better.

With every meeting in the second-year Northern Illinois Big XII conference a premium, every win over evenly-matched opponents will fit nicely in the back pocket of Kaneland boys basketball.

Such was the case on Friday evening at Kaneland High School, with the Knight crew leading wire-to-wire in a 56-46 win over the visiting Morris Redskins.

The Knights fell back to earth against former Suburban Prairie Conference and Western Sun Conference-mate Glenbard South, 42-37 on Tuesday in Maple Park.

The Knights are now 3-3, and 1-0 in conference play.

KHS was buoyed by Marcel Neil’s 21 points and Trever Heinle’s 18 points against the Redskins. The Knights also sunk five three-pointers, including three from Neil. Also helpful was the 17-of-23 effort from the free throw line.

“They’re a tough team,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “We were maybe hoping to run a little bit more than tonight, but Morris did a good job of handling our press. We don’t have anybody that matches up to their size, but we fought hard.”

Neil offered up a field goal, plus two threes, and the Knights led 13-5 after one frame.

Despite going scoreless for over five minutes of action, Kaneland still managed to hold the lead, and Neil’s fifth straight bucket made the score 18-7 with 4:10 to go in the second.

A three-point play for Morris closed within 18-15 with 2:25 remaining, but a left-handed lay-in by Thomas Williams (nine points) and a foul shot by Dan Miller extended the lead before the teams entered halftime with KHS up 21-16.

Kaneland continued to hold firm and led 37-32 after three, thanks to key baskets by Heinle and Neil.

WIth Morris’ interior pressure stifling efforts to go to the basket, the Knights saw their advantage dip to 39-35 with 5:49 to go.

The home squad found a way to get to the line, however, with Heinle and Drew David making good from the charity stripe in the final frame.

Williams, whose bucket gave Kaneland a 43-37 lead with 3:48 to go, felt good about the effort that led to victory.

“It feels real good,” Williams said. “Just to know you can overcome the defense and being tough, and still score and come out with the win is good.”

Against the visiting Raiders, Heinle was the only Knight to reach double figures with 11 points.

Kaneland and Glenbard South were tied at eight apiece after one, and the Raiders had a slim 17-16 advantage at the break before Kaneland’s 15-5 run in the third had KHS ahead 31-22.

Then, Glenbard South turned it on the fourth, and turned the Knights off, outscoring Kaneland 20-6 in the fourth quarter.

Ahead for Kaneland is a Saturday, Dec. 10, meeting at the home of the Spartans in Sycamore, while Hinckley-Big Rock High School is the site of a Tuesday, Dec. 13, meeting.

Sophomoric!
For a glimpse at some of the future Knights, just turn to the Adam Wickness-coached sophomores.

This week, John Pruett’s 27 points were key in the 55-49 win over the Redskins.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Connor Fedderly’s 21 and Pruett’s 18 helped KHS
enjoy a 61-47 result vs. the GS Raiders.

Grapplers solved by Sycamore, split Saturday excursion

in Featured/Wrestling by

Photo: Connor Williams (113 lbs) controls his opponent during his match on Thursday when Kaneland hosted Sycamore. Photo by Mary Herra

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—While there were some encouraging duels on Thursday, “some” won’t get it done against Sycamore wrestling when “all” are needed.

Sycamore beat Kaneland 52-12 on Thursday in Maple Park.

The Spartans went out to a 35-0 lead over Knights wrestling before 220-pound asset Ben Kovalick earned a pinfall in four minutes, 30 seconds.

“We’ve got stuff to work on, look at everything tomorrow and hope we come out a lot better than that (Saturday). We want to remember this and use it,” Kovalick said.

The next win for KHS (2-4, 0-1 NIB-12) came with 106-pounder Steve Gust taking a 3-2 decision to close within 38-9.

In the final match of the evening, 132-pounder Esai Ponce took an 8-0 shutout win.

The Knights recovered somewhat on Saturday, defeating Lansing’s T.F. South High School on its turf, 48-24, before losing to the Lemont Indians at the same location, 44-21.

Gust got the mat rolling vs. T.F. South with a 4:59 pinfall in the 106-pound match. At 126, Ponce emerged with a 3:25 pinfall. Sonny Horn contributed with a pin in 4:11, while 285-pound entry Zach Theis took a 3:17 pin home.

Gust continued his hot streak against Lemont with a 5:05 pinfall, and Connor Williams took a 2:48 pinfall. However, the only accompanying victory on the mat was 138-pounder Dan Goress, with a 7-1 win.

Girls hoops stifles Morris, IMSA counterparts

in Featured/Girls Basketball by

Photo: Allyson O’Herron (32) keeps the ball inbounds during Friday’s 43-33 win over visiting Morris. O’Herron had a team-high nine points in the winning effort. Photo by John DiDonna

Six wins at early juncture for Colombe’s crew
KANELAND—Lady Knights girls basketball continues to go along at its desired pace, and came up with two victories this week.

After a game plagued by fouls and execution snags on Friday, the Lady Knights held firm in the fourth quarter against visiting Morris and rallied for a 43-33 win.

Tuesday saw the Lady Knights conquer Illinois Math and Science Academy of Aurora by a 47-31 final score.

The Lady Knights’ 6-1 start is the best in six seasons for the program.

Facing the Redskins, Allyson O’Herron had a team-high nine points on a roster of balanced scoring. Emma Bradford supplied eight.

From the field, the Lady Knights were 13-for-42, and 15-for-25 from the foul line, but also had 14 steals in the winning effort.

Morris went atop KHS 5-1 after the first eight minutes and 16-11 at halftime. Kaneland came back to close within 24-23 after the third and blazed a 20-9 trail in the fourth for the win.

The sophomores improved to 5-0 with a 35-31 win over Morris. Caroline Heimerdinger had a team-high 10 points.

Tackling the Titans, Ashley Prost and O’Herron each had a game-high 11 points, while Prost also added seven steals.

Kaneland was 18-for-56 from the field, and made 11-of-17 shots from the charity stripe.

KHS went out to an early 9-2 lead and enjoyed a 28-9 advantage at the break. While IMSA closed within 32-22 after three, Kaneland righted things in the fourth and finished with a 15-9 fourth quarter.

In the sophomore tilt, Kaneland emerged victorious with a 42-26 win.

Kaneland now prepares for host Sycamore in a NIB-12 tussle set for Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m.

Raising the bar
Looking back at this point a year ago, the Lady Knights were 5-5.
The last two years mark a significant improvement from two years ago, when KHS began 2-8.

Bowling not spared by Dixon

in Bowling by

DeKALB—At Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb, the Lady Knights fell victim to a 2,951-2,451 result at the hands of Northern Illinois Big XII crossover foe Dixon on Thursday.

The Lady Knights have begun the season 0-4.

Tops for Dixon was Autumn Day with a 545 series.

The Lady Knights’ top series was bowled by Amanda Strayve with 456, followed closely by Christie Crews at 435. Strayve had the top game efforts with 158 in two instances.

The next highest was bowled by Crews with 150.

After a scheduled meeting in Geneva on Wednesday, the Lady Knights were gearing up for visiting Streator on Thursday, Dec. 8, and to host IMSA on Monday, Dec. 12.

KYSO signup a couple clicks away

in Community Sports by

Soccer enthusiasts between the ages of 4 and 17 years old can register online to play the KYSO Spring Season, which runs from April 28 through June 9. The registration deadline is Jan. 31, 2012. The fee, which includes a jersey, shorts and socks, is $85 for the first player and $60 for additional players from the same family. Register at www.kanelandyouthsoccer.com.

KYSO has open registration that serves players across northern Illinois. KYSO philosophy means everyone gets to play, coaches use positive coaching and training, and sportsmanship is promoted both on and off the field. All practices and games are located to the east of Kaneland High School.

Consider coaching your child’s team. Training is provided. Registration accommodates special needs players from ages 5-16, who play with “Buddy” assistance. The fee is $35.

Boys hoops split first four encounters

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: Marcel Neil goes skyward for a bucket during Saturday’s 55-42 win at the Windmill Classic against host Batavia. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Not a terrible start for a lineup with plenty of turnover and a new opening tournament setting.

Despite a one-point loss to St. Francis in the first game of the 2011-12 season on Nov. 23, the Kaneland Knights boys basketball roster rallied for a 10-point win over Crystal Lake South on Friday and a 13-point win over the Ken Peddy Windmill Classic host Batavia Bulldogs. Tuesday featured a loss to visiting Metea Valley.

The Knights, under third-year head man Brian Johnson, begin at 2-2 after their new opening arrangement, and first week of action.

For years, the Knights began the Thanksgiving weekend at the Strombom Tourney in Sycamore.

Against the eventual tourney champ St. Francis Spartans, the Knights lost 56-55 and were paced by sophomore Thomas Williams’ 13 points, Trever Heinle (All-Tournament Team member) with 10 and Tyler Heinle’s 10.

St. Francis took a 16-13 lead after one, and led 32-30 at halftime, before seeing its lead increase to 45-39 after three. KHS closed the margin some, but couldn’t break the barrier.

Against the Gators two nights later, the Knights were fortunate to have 27 points from Trever Heinle at their disposal, plus 11 from West Aurora transfer Marcel Neil.

After a deadlocked 12-12 first quarter, KHS went ahead 26-23 at the half and 37-33 after three before making the lead stick and then some in the fourth.

Against former conference rival Batavia, which was missing scoring threat Cole Gardner, KHS found twin 17-point efforts from both Neil and Trever Heinle.

“One of our goals is to pressure teams, and I think we’re hard to guard, especially for teams that aren’t used to more athletic guys,” Johnson said. “That helps us, and gives us an edge at times on the offensive end.”

Heinle and Neil made three straight shots for the Knights for an early 8-2 lead with five minutes, 42 seconds to go in the first. Once the Bulldogs tied the score at 10, Heinle jacked a three and converted on another field goal for a 15-10 lead with 19.1 seconds to go that closed out the first frame’s scoring.

The second quarter also went the Knights’ way.

Up 21-17, Neil had an offensive putback, while Tyler Heinle hit a three for a 26-17 lead with 2:10 remaining in the half. A Trever Heinle bucket made it 28-18 just before the halftime buzzer.

Kaneland used a strong quarter by Neil to go up by as many as 17 points, and the frame ended with Kaneland up 39-22.

A Neil basket elevated KHS to its biggest lead of 44-24 with 6:18 to go in the game. But Batavia converted on shots it hadn’t previously and closed the lead to nine, before the Knights exhibited ball control and clock management beneficial to the winning cause.

Neil’s effort was key in the win, and it had to do with letting the game come to him.

“Some of my shots weren’t falling, and then I just attacked the rim and (started) making things happen and we got a lot of buckets,” Neil said. “We just started breaking the defense down and taking our time, relaxing and playing as a team.”

In the 87-65 setback to Metea Valley, KHS kept it to a 43-35 deficit at the half, and 59-50 after three, but then saw the fourth quarter get out of hand for the final deficit.

The Knights were paced by Williams’ 14, Neil’s 12 and Drew David’s 10.

Kaneland now heads into NIB-12 play with a home date against the Morris Redskins on Friday, Dec. 2.

Lady Knights take IC crown, drop to EA

in Girls Basketball by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—If you asked Kaneland girls basketball its favorite activity during this opening juncture of the season, it might just offer an answer of collecting hardware.

With two more wins at the continuing Immaculate Conception Tournament against Lisle and the host, the Lady Knights took home their first tournament plaque since the heyday of Lyndsie Long, Jessica Lund and current assistant coach Kelsey Flanagan six years ago.

“We feel like this team still has a lot of room to improve, especially offensively,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “The key for us in the tournament was that defensively we played as a unit the entire tournament. We were able to create a ton of turnovers and wear down our opponents by continuing to pressure the ball with a deep rotation.”

The four-game win streak stopped on Tuesday night in East Aurora, with a 52-33 loss.

Regardless, Kaneland girls can boast of a 4-1 start.

Against the Lady Lions of Lisle, the Lady Knights held the opponent to 13 points in the first half en route to a 31-23 win.

Kaneland was 10-for-31 from the field, and 10-of-20 from the foul line. Post player Kelly Evers was tops with 10 points.

In the tourney final, a 12-10 halftime lead for Kaneland quickly turned into an 18-17 hole after three before exemplary defense and free throws down the stretch helped toward a win.

KHS had a 13-3 edge in successful foul shots. Ashley Prost had a team-high eight points followed by tourney MVP Evers’ seven and Brooke Harner’s seven.

East Aurora went out to a 26-11 lead on Tuesday, but saw Kaneland cut it to 30-22 in the third before the Lady Tomcats went up 42-25 after three.

Allyson O’Herron had a team-high 12 points for the Kaneland crew.

The Lady Knights kick off their NIB-12 season by hosting Morris on Friday, Dec. 2.

Postseason honors kick in for soccer

in Boys Soccer by

Four Knights named to elite squad after regional final run
KANELAND—Kaneland High School soccer saw more benefits roll in even after this last season.

Having made it all the way to the regional final before being ousted by Marmion Academy, the Knights’ squad saw four of its own named to the Northern Illinois Big XII East division All-Conference team, as handed down in November

The Knights had junior midfielder Alex Gil, junior defender Alec Koczka, senior forward Jordan Escobedo and sophomore forward Anthony Parillo named to the elite group.

Meanwhile, sophomore forward Tyler Siebert and senior defender Pedro Perez earned honorable mention nods for their season.

Rochelle brought the most East division honors with five players, and DeKalb’s midfielder Sammy Lake, a senior, won the division MVP.

In the West division, Sterling’s Bryan Gutierrez won the MVP honors.

The Knights finished 12-7-1, and fell short of their quest to clinch a second straight regional title.

Buschbacher tops in NIB-12 with offensive MVP honors

in Featured/Football by

KANELAND—Honors for Kaneland Knights football are now coming as frequently as a monster gain on a Friday night in Maple Park.

Senior wideout Quinn Buschbacher was one of an NIB-12 -best 11 Knights to earn all-conference honors in the East division, with the senior captain earning offensive MVP honors, as well.

Morris’ Hunter Barry took defensive MVP honors.

The Knights’ 11-deep all-conference roster will see the return of six for the 2012 season. Coach Tom Fedderly mentioned in August that a big key to projected success was the return of a handful of all-NIB-12 personnel.

KHS can now boast senior Buschbacher, along with seniors Sean Carter (WR), Ryan Noel (DL), Ben Kovalick (DL) and Jacob Razo (DB). Juniors are OL Nick Sharp, DB Kory Harner, LB Ryan Lawrence and LB Blake Bradford. QB Drew David was one of only three sophomores in the conference to earn top honors, along with OL teammate Alex Snyder.

Morris added 10 members to the list, followed by Sycamore with eight.

Bowling falls to DeKalb in opener

in Bowling by

by Mike Slodki
DeKALB—In the confines of Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb, the Lady Knights (0-3) probably felt like it was unfriendly surroundings in a loss to fellow tenant DeKalb on Nov. 22.

In the 3,228-2,422 season-opening loss to the Lady Barbs, the top score of the meet went to DeKalb’s Jessica Eberly with a 576 series.

For Kaneland, the charge was led by senior Madi Bluml, who bowled a 469 series, followed by junior teammate Amanda Strayve’s 431 effort.

Top games were bowled by Strayve at 182 and Bluml at 179.

Strayve will be relied upon, along with select other Lady Knights, to supplant the loss of graduate Holly Thomas.

“It’s going to be a challenge, but I think I improved over the summer,” Strayve said.

Against their Route 23 rivals, Marengo, the team that calls Glo-Bowl home got the upper hand in a 3,196-2,362 affair on Monday.

Christie Crews led the KHS charge with a 491 series, followed by Seleana Isaacs at 465.

Top games were bowled by Crews at 214 and Isaacs at 176.

Tuesday featured a visit to Blackhawk Lanes in Sterling, where the Lady Knights fell 3,433-2,672.

Strayve bowled a team-high 524 series, while she and Crews bowled team-high 213 games.

NIB-12 volleyball accented with Siebert MVP tag

in Featured/Volleyball by

Senior leads East Division honors, joined by three teammates
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was a productive year for Kaneland volleyball, much like last year.

But this year, the Lady Knights can not only boast 38 wins in the last two seasons, but can now trumpet a conference MVP in its ranks.

Kylie Siebert, a senior, who provided stability at the libero position, was voted by coaches to be the NIB-12 East division MVP.

“It’s an honor that we were able to have both Kylie and Katy make the All Conference Team,” KHS coach Todd Weimer said. “And another step further, Kylie is our first All Conference, MVP, Player of the Year. Most MVP’s are setters or hitters and the liberos and smaller players get overlooked. Kylie has done a tremendous job of laying everything on the court.”

Kaneland also welcomed senior Katy Dudzinski to the first team. Dudzinski is bound for the Wichita State University volleyball program.

In the east, the Lady Barbs of DeKalb produced the most first-team nominees with three.

KHS was also happy to add senior Grace Fabrizius and junior Lauren Banbury to the honorable mention list.

In the West, LaSalle-Peru senior Sammi Herron earned the MVP tag.

Wrestlers see some success in Saturday meet

in Wrestling by

KANELAND—The season opener featured a 45-34 loss to Wheaton-Warrenville South, a 34-28 win over the Pretzels of Freeport, and a 42-36 loss to Burlington Central.

The Saturday festivities yielded a 1-2 start for KHS.

Against the Tigers, the Knights saw encouraging victories, to be sure. 106-pound entry Steve Gust came away with an 8-3 win, while three of his fellow Knights secured pinfall victories.

113-pounder Connor Williams won in one minute, 56 seconds. Esai Ponce, at 132, won in 1:01. 195-pound rep Steven Hlatko pinned his adversary in 32 seconds, while 285-pound entry Zach Theis followed quite admirably in 2011 grad Jimmy Boyle’s tracks, earning a :31 pinfall.

In the win over Freeport, Gust won 11-0, while Williams won 10-1. 220-pound cornerstone Ben Kovalick won 6-1, Ponce earned a :39 stick, and Hlatko took a fall in 3:17.

Taking on the Rockets, the Knights saw an 8-3 win for Gust, an 8-2 win for Williams, a 1:21 pinfall for Ponce, a 3:55 win for 145-pound entry Kyle Ocasio, a 1:06 win for Hlatko and a 2:57 pinfall by Theis.

On the horizon for Kaneland is a meeting with visiting rival Sycamore on Thursday, Dec. 1.

Pitcher Crosby added to 40-man roster

in Baseball by

DETROIT—Left-handed pitcher Casey Crosby, a member of Kaneland’s Class of 2007, was added to the Detroit Tigers’ 40-man roster for spring training, and will attend camp with the MLB outfit in Lakeland, Fla., in spring 2012.

A fifth-round pick, Crosby will attend the camp with other highly touted prospects; a summer after going 9-7 for Class AA Erie.

White Knights of the gridiron

in Community Sports by


The Kaneland Youth Football league’s White Knights 9U took first place in the MYFC conference tournament. Team members are, front row (from left): Kolby Roye, Max Gagne, Trevor Carlson, Will Giffney, Jimmy Marczuk, Ryan Vanplew, Guy Sreenan, Will Niedzwiecki; Middle row: Tom Eberhardt, Carter Johnson, Max Drancik, Zack Beatty; back row: Water Girl Nicole Sreenan, Andrew Lindow, Mason Sweeney, Colton Doll, Ben Durbala, Seth Nosek, Connor Collins, Bryce Ebert; last row: Head Coach Danny Sreenan, Coach Brian Beatty, Coach Brian Roye. Not Pictured is Coach Scott Niedzwiecki, and Hans Griesinger. Courtesy Photo

Informational meeting for Kaneland Travel Baseball Feeder Program Dec. 7

in Baseball/Community Sports by

The first-ever informational meeting concerning the Kaneland Travel Baseball Feeder Program is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 7, from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Kaneland High School Library.

The meeting will discuss: Information in regards to the start of the 2013 Summer Travel Baseball Teams for U-10 through U-14, philosophy, guidelines, and general information and the direction of the high school baseball feeder programs and the endorsement of the high school baseball program and coaches.

The Meeting will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 7, in the High School Library at 7 p.m. Parents and coaches are encouraged to be in attendance to find out about the future direction of the new feeder system by the State Champion Kaneland Knights Baseball Program.

If you have questions about the meeting, contact Brian Aversa at Brian.Aversa@kaneland.org.

Semifinal sting: Montini edges KHS, 35-31

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Receiver Sean Carter hauls in a pass during Saturday night’s Class 5A
playoff semifinal battle with defending champion Montini. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Sequels can be more entertaining and gripping than the original, but for Kaneland football and its fans, the ending to this particular drama was still hard to take.

Jordan Westerkamp’s touchdown catch with 2 minutes, three seconds remaining in the game was the final blow in a 35-31 loss to Montini Catholic on Saturday night, ending the Knights’ quest for Class 5A State glory at 12-1.

Kaneland held the lead for nearly 25 minutes going from the second quarter to late in the fourth, but as it stood, Montini tries for its third straight title against the Hilltoppers of Joliet Catholic on Saturday, Nov. 26, at the University of Illinois.

Kaneland still has won 24 of 26 contests, and hasn’t lost in the regular season since Week eight of 2009.

Montini outgained Kaneland by a 407-366 yard margin, but it was more of the toe-to-toe fight Knight faithful were looking for after last year’s 27-14 setback in the semifinal to the Broncos.

“Our kids played their hearts out,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “I’m so proud of our team, they came out and didn’t back down.”

Montini’s John Rhode was 20-for-35 for 230 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Counterpart Drew David was 16-for-31 for 165 yards and a touchdown.

Bronco Joseph Borsellino was the leading receiver with 123 yards on nine catches. Knight Jesse Balluff was the leading target out of the backfield with 69 yards. Balluff added a prolific 143 yards rushing, a game high. Bronco Dimitri Taylor had 111 of his own.

Montini got on the board first with a one-yard run out of the wildcat formation from Borsellino with 1:13 left in the opening frame for a 7-0 lead. Balluff tied matters soon after with an 81-yard scoring scamper down the sideline just 23 ticks later, and Taylor came back 36 seconds after that with a 48-yard TD run for a 14-7 deficit.

The second quarter belonged to KHS, thanks to a Balluff TD run from 18 yards away with 7:51 to go and a tie-breaking 26-yard field goal from Matt Rodriguez with 3:14 left, and the Knights went into the locker room up 17-14.

In the second half, things improved for KHS when Zach Martinelli made an acrobatic touchdown catch from 18 yards away, giving Kaneland a 24-14 lead with 9:01 to go in the third. Borsellino scored again from two yards out with 5:53 to go to close within 24-21. David’s four-yard plunge with 1:38 to go in the third marked the last Knight score of the season, and a 31-21 lead.

Zach Martinelli has made his share of integral catches. It was time for No. 11 to make an exceptional catch. Shifting his body to get the edge on Bronco defenders, Martinelli grabbed the ball in mid air and fell to the end zone with 9:01 to go in the third quarter, giving the Knights a 24-14 lead

With 12 minutes to go before the Knights conceivably could start their Champaign journey, the Broncos’ Taylor completed the ensuing drive after David’s TD with a 31-yard scoring run just 30 seconds into the quarter, making it 31-28.

In crunch-time, Montini’s drive stalled at the Knight 46, leading to a punt. The Knights, however, went three-and-out, giving the ball back to the Broncos. Montini went 52 yards, ending with Westerkamp’s 19-yard paydirt play.

KHS then stalled at its own 47, on an incompletion to Sean Carter.

“We wanted to be close and have it come down to the fourth quarter, and it didn’t happen tonight,” Fedderly said.

The Knights, who still had a season to remember, have now lost their last three State semifinal games. Their 2006 nemesis, Marian Central Catholic of Woodstock, lost in this year’s quarterfinal to Montini.

Knight boys hoops hope to repeat NIB-12 glory

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: Trever Heinle looks to give KHS a lift at guard. File Photo

“Kids know what the expectations are,” says Johnson
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—In KHS coach Brian Johnson’s first year, he had the pleasure of Dave Dudzinski in the post.

His second year featured the first conference title for Knight hoops since the Reagan years.

What wrinkle shows itself in the 2011-12 campaign?

“I think its the group that’s been with us now three years,” Johnson said. “Practices go a lot smoother. There’s not as much downtime. Kids know what the expectations are.

Those that are counted on to take up the slack with departure of personnel like Chaon Denlinger, Zach Ringhouse, Tyler Callaghan and Daniel Helm will be returnees like guards Trever Heinle, Drew David, Tyler Heinle as well as senior forward Bryan Van Bogaert.

“Nothing’s a surprise to these kids and they are ready to help,” Johnson said. Tyler made a name for himself in the Rochelle game last year and Trever has put so much time into being a better player.

New varsity additions that are counted on to make an impact for Knight hoops are senior transfer Marcel Neil, formerly of West Aurora, at guard, and junior guard Dan Miller.

“The new guys on varsity this year have already improved in a short time,” Johnson said.

New varsity additions also include sophomore Tyler Carlson, sophomore John Pruett, junior Clay Denlinger, guard Thomas Williams, junior Noel Delgado and junior Matt Limbrunner.

Johnson takes pride in the team’s court awareness.

“Losing guys from last year like we had isn’t good for any program, but the kids have resilience and want to continue to get better,” Johnson said.

The Knights begin their quest to improve their 17-9 mark and conference title from a year ago beginning with the Windmill Classic in Batavia on Wednesday, Nov. 23.

Bowling welcomes influx of new blood

in Bowling/Featured by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—While the Lady Knights will miss record book-rewriter Holly Thomas, and the team finished with a dual mark of 3-12, there are reasons to be optimistic.

KHS took its last two regular season clashes of the year, while coach Jim McKnight is excited about the pieces fitting together in the lineup puzzle.

“It looks like our varsity is going to start out with quite a battle for the six positions. At this point, the contenders are: senior co-captains Seleana Isaacs and Madi Bluml, returning senior Kayley Larsen, returning juniors Amanda Strayve and Morgan Wojciechowski, and newcomers like junior Ellissa Eckert, sophomore Christie Crews, and freshman Mandy Felella,” McKnight said.

McKnight knows that it’ll take a team effort to supplant the talented Thomas.

“Fortunately, we do have much of last year’s team back, and we also have some exciting new players to watch. We have lots of girls who can compete.” McKnight said.

The Lady Knights will have to deal with its usual brand of worthy competition.

“Last year, when our varsity was able to win, it was because we had the combined high scores of Holly, Isaacs, Wojciechowski, and others,” McKnight said.

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