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Super Fans

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On Saturday, Rich and Nancy Miller were presented with the “Friends of the Program” award from the Kaneland basketball program. Rich and Nancy are both Kaneland graduates and support Kaneland sports in every way possible. Varsity Head Coach Brian Johnson (left) presented the Millers with their award. Photo by John DiDonna

Lost weekend

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Photo: Kaneland Senior Emma Bradford goes up for a bucket in the first half at Sycamore on Friday. Photo by John DiDonna
KHS girls drop pair at Sycamore, L-P
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—Kaneland girls basketball went through a weekend they’d like to have back, or not go through again.

Friday had another hotly contested matchup with Sycamore, this time along Spartan Trail and going down to the final seconds, when Sycamore handed Kaneland a 49-48 OT loss.

Saturday saw a trip south to LaSalle-Peru High School and a slim 49-47 setback.

The twinbill of losses dropped Kaneland down to 12-9 (4-4 Northern Illinois Big XII Conference).

Against the Spartans, which Kaneland defeated in extra time last month, Aly O’Herron’s four three-pointers paced the team with 12 points, followed by Brooke Harner with 11.

Bailey Gilbert of Sycamore had a game-high 14.

Sycamore had a decided advantage in the charity stripe game, going 23-for-36, compared to 7-for-12 for the Lady Knights.

KHS had an 11-8 lead after one and a 24-18 lead at the break.

A three-point play 37 seconds into the third quarter by Marina Schaefer gave KHS a 27-18 lead. Sycamore powered their way back to close within 32-31 on a foul shot, but an offensive putback by Ashley Prost with 20.8 seconds left extended the edge to 34-31 before the quarter expired.

Sycamore kept at it in the fourth, and took a 39-37 lead with 4:43 remaining before a Harner basket with 3:26 to go tied the score.

A Gilbert trey with 1:04 to go put the Lady Spartans ahead 42-39 before Harner’s three-point play with 39.4 to go knotted it up at 42.

Sycamore had a chance for a lead, but a Julia Moll three-pointer was waved off due to a called timeout on Sycamore’s sideline with two seconds left.

Sycamore saw all seven of its points in OT come from the foul line, with the only lead coming on Kaneland’s side from a Harner lay-in with :31 to go to make it 46-45. Two Gilbert free throws with 1:09 cemented the home edge.

O’Herron’s three try was off, with a Sarah Grams putback able to close the margin to one with 1.9 remaining.

“I thought it was a good game,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We played real well tonight, and I thought it came down to the line. When the other team goes to the line 37 times, we probably shouldn’t have even been in this game, so I thought we played well. We executed for the most part; we had shots and looks at the end of the game but didn’t hit them.”

In the loss to the Lady Cavs, the Lady Knights had Prost’s 19 and O’Herron’s 12 in the effort.

L-P had a 13-11 lead after one and 23-22 at the half before KHS took a 33-30 lead after three. The hosts outscored Kaneland 19-14 to cinch the matter.

KHS looks forward to hosting the Sterling Golden Warriors on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 4 p.m. in crossover action.

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Girls hoops run over Redskin rival

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Photo: Brooke Harner (22) passes out of a crowd to teammate Vanessa Gould (14) in the first quarter against Morris on Tuesday evening. Photo by Patti Wilk

Second-half explosion neutralizes previous
loss to Ottawa

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Tuesday evening in Maple Park was exhibit “A” on how fortunes can change on a dime.

Kaneland and Morris met for the first time since their meeting in the Ottawa Holiday Tournament in late December, and were embroiled in a hotly contested Northern Illinois Big XII outing that saw the visitors up 26-25 at halftime.

Five steals and three three-point plays began the third quarter and shifted the contest into Kaneland’s favor as it outscored the Redskins 27-6 in the third, on the way to a 65-32 shellacking.

The win did its part to take the sting off of a 50-30 loss to host Ottawa on Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Knights are now 12-7 and 4-3 in the Northern Illinois Big XII.

Vanessa Gould hit a basket on a putback, and Emma Bradford hit a foul shot to give Kaneland a 12-9 lead over Morris with 1:08 to go in the first until Morris launched a three-pointer with 42.1 left to tie the score at 12. The first quarter ended with the same score.

Morris withstood baskets by Brooke Harner (career-high 15 points) and a three-point play by Sarah Grams to tie it at 23 with 2:33 left in the half.

Bradford hit a basket to give KHS a 25-23 lead before a Morris trifecta with 1:44 to go in the half sent Kaneland down one.

The third quarter began with KHS on a 12-0 run thanks to a three by Aly O’Herron (22 points), a three-point play by Grams, a three-point play by O’Herron and a three-point play by Harner to give KHS a 37-26 lead with 5:45 to go in the frame. A second flurry with two Harner foul shots, a Bradford basket, a Caroline Heimerdinger shot and two more Harner free throws extended the lead to 45-28 with 3:35 to go.

“In the second half, we realized we were a better team than this, and we need to play better,” O’Herron said.

To add an exclamation point on the third-quarter, O’Herron caught an inbound pass with one tick left and nailed another trifecta to give KHS a 52-32 lead after three.

“I was supposed to screen and run across and I saw nobody around me, so I was like, ‘Caroline, here,’ and my eyes lit up,” O’Herron said.

Kaneland forced Morris into a scoreless fourth quarter and an 0-for-9 stretch from the field as the Lady Knights put up 13 more points of their own.

“I think the girls were disappointed in the first half and came out better on defense in the second half,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “They stepped up in the second half. Any time you hold a team to six points in a half at this level, it’s excellent.”

Ashley Prost led the Lady Knights with 10 points against the Ottawa counterparts, but KHS struggled with a 12-for-39 effort from the field, and 6-of-23 from the charity stripe.

KHS was down 17-9 after one and 28-14 at the half. Ottawa was up 36-21 after three before the final frame.

On Friday, Jan. 18, Kaneland faces host Sycamore at 7 p.m.

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Back to even

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Photo: Kaneland’s Brooke Harner played tough defense against Burlington on Saturday at home. Photo by John DiDonna

Comeback win over Rochelle evens KHS conference mark
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Bouncing back from adversity could be the difference in later games this season, and Kaneland girls basketball put it into practice this past Friday and Saturday as the calendar switched to 2013.

Friday saw a laboring battle against visiting Yorkville, and KHS fell 39-26. Kaneland rebounded on Saturday with a 56-53 win over Burlington Central.

Down five late against visiting Rochelle on Tuesday, the Lady Knights went on a 12-0 run spanning the fourth quarter and overtime in a 54-47 overtime win.

Kaneland now sits at 11-6 (3-3 Northern Illinois Big XII).

KHS shot just 10-for-41 against the Lady Foxes and scored just two points in the third quarter of play.

Aly O’Herron and Emma Bradford paced the Lady Knights with six points each, while Corrine Rowe had a game-high 10 points for YHS.

Yorkville was up 11-8 after one quarter and 22-19 after the first half of play before leaving the third quarter with a 31-21 lead. Yorkville outscored Kaneland 8-5 in the final eight minutes to cinch it.

Against BC, Ashley Prost and Bradford had 12 points each, while Sarah Grams added 10.

Despite shooting just 12-of-46 from the field, the Lady Knights converted 31-of-39 foul shots.

The two squads were tied at 8-8 after one, and Kaneland led 23-18 after a half before BC closed within 32-30 after three. BC sent it to an extra period by outscoring Kaneland 14-12 before KHS outscored the Lady Rockets 12-9 in OT.

Against Rochelle, Kaneland was down 24-22 at halftime. The two squads exchanged baskets until Grams hit two straight and O’Herron stole and converted to tie the score at 30.

Rochelle scored with 1:56 to go to take a two-point lead before Brooke Harner’s offensive putback tied the game with 3.8 left in the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Michelle Dobbs of Rochelle hit a bucket and then hit one-of-two foul shots for a 36-32 edge with 4:33 to play. The Lady Hubs hit four of six free throws down the stretch for a 41-36 lead with 47.6 seconds remaining in the game. O’Herron responded by launching a rainbow perimeter attempt that connected with 40.3 to go, making it 41-39. Prost tied the game at 41-41 with a basket converted off a steal with 20.9 to go, and Rochelle missed on two shot attempts near the end.

In the extra four-minute session, Emma Bradford made good on a lay-up, and O’Herron launched a trey for a 46-41 lead with 2:49 left. Prost nailed a pair of free throws to give KHS a 48-41 lead that completed the 12-0 run.

Dobbs hit a bucket and a pair of free throws to close within 48-45 with a minute to play, but a Prost basket, as well as foul shots from O’Herron and Grams, put the contest away after much tension.

“The key to the game was really our composure,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said following the second consecutive OT win. “We got down early. Dobbs is a dynamic scorer, and we wanted to make her work a little bit harder.”

Kaneland plays in Ottawa on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 2:30 p.m.

Photos by John DiDonna:
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Girls leave Ottawa with split

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The Kaneland girl’s varsity basketball team ventured to Ottawa for the Holiday Tournament. They beat Morris 38-29 and lost to Pontiac on Saturday, 43-39. File Photo

Colombe contingent nbeats Morris, takes loss vs. Pontiac
by Mike Slodki
OTTAWA—It’s hard to get accustomed to new digs for the holiday season.

Kaneland girls basketball had spent the previous six seasons hooping it up at Oswego East’s tournament in late December, and made its way to Ottawa’s Holiday tournament in 2013.

After splitting the first two contests a week ago in downtown Ottawa, the Lady Knights once again beat conference rival Morris on Friday afternoon by a final of 38-29, before losing to Pontiac, 43-38, in the seventh-place game on Saturday afternoon.

Kaneland’s eighth-place mark out of 12 teams brings the mark to 9-5 as the 2012 part of the season closes out. The Lady Knights have lost five of seven contests after a solid 7-0 beginning to the season.

Joliet Catholic won the tournament after a 49-26 handling of the host Lady Pirates, while Yorkville beat Geneseo, 39-29, in the third-place encounter.

Ashley Prost had 11 points to lead the Lady Knight attack in the win over the Morris, while Amber Winquist-Bailey had eight points off the bench in key minutes.

“It’s nice to stop the slide,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We knew it was going to be a different game, and they moved up a freshman to varsity and she’s one of Morris’ best players.They did a real nice job of defense on us, just getting in there battling.”

Kaneland emerged with a 12-11 lead after the first quarter, but fell behind quickly until Prost’s basket put the lead back to 14-13 just 38 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Sarah Grams’ jumper with 4:35 to go made it 16-13, while Winquist-Bailey’s basket 27 seconds later made it 18-15 and marked the final score of the quarter until a Morris foul shot with 38.3 seconds remaining.

Morris tried its best to push through to the lead, but junior center Kelly Wallner’s free throw, Prost’s bucket and Emma Bradford’s shot had KHS at a 23-20 advantage with 4:56 to go in the third. Later, Morris sliced the lead to two, but another Winquist-Bailey basket made it 27-23 with 17.9 remaining, closing out the third frame’s scoring.

Yet another key Winquist-Bailey conversion gave KHS a 29-23 lead with 6:24 to go, and the Lady Knights never looked back. Grams’ shot with 4:48 to go gave KHS a 10-point lead with 4:48 left, and her two foul shots with 52.2 left gave the Lady Knights their largest lead of the night at 37-26. Kaneland was 4-for-5 from the field and hit six of eight from the charity stripe to seal it.

“Amber had a nice spark in the game, and we all just cleared our heads and we focused on what we needed to do,” Prost said.

The Lady Knights’ break continues until Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, when they host rival Yorkville.

Kaneland begins Ottawa journey

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3-game skid ends with win over Sandwich
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland Lady Knights basketball endured a three-game skid last week, but still has enough of a pedigree to be a highly looked at team from the area.

KHS began the current season winning its first seven.

Then came last week’s losses to DeKalb and Antioch, and the Lady Knights had to endure another loss to Geneseo High School on Saturday as part of the Ottawa Tournament.

However, the ship was righted with a better result against Sandwich later that day.

The Lady Knights sit at 8-4 (2-2 Northern Illinois Big XII).

“We played solid defensively in all three losses, we played against three tough teams,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We had a chance in all three games; it came down to missing some shots at key moments in the game.”

Kaneland slogged through a 37-33 loss in pool play down in Ottawa to NIB-12 crossover foe Geneseo.

Geneseo led matters 11-6 after one, but KHS tied the score at 15 going into the break. The Maple Leafs were up 25-20 after three before the Lady Knights outscored Geneseo 13-12 to no avail.

Kaneland was 11-for-36 from the field and committed 14 turnovers on the game.

Ashley Prost had a team-high 12 points, while Aly O’Herron had 11 points supplied in part by three three-pointers. Teammate Brooke Harner had five steals on the defensive end in a losing effort.

More up the KHS alley was the 60-30 win over the Interstate Eight Conference stalwart Sandwich program.

Kaneland was 23-for-41 from the field and led by Prost’s 16 points, with 11 Lady Knights seeing the scoring column.

Kaneland’s Sarah Grams added five assists in the win. Reserve Marina Schaefer had eight points and five boards, as well.

Tuesday saw Kaneland drop its second game in a week to DeKalb in a 38-22 loss at home.

The DeKalb “D” was too much for the Lady Knights, as they saw a 10-7 first-quarter deficit extend to 19-7 at halftime. KHS was unable to come back in the second half.

Prost led Kaneland with 8 points and 4 rebounds.

The Ottawa gathering resumes on Friday, Dec. 21, with Kaneland set to square off against Joliet Catholic, LaSalle-Peru or Morris at 3 p.m.

KHS had previously called Oswego East High School its holiday tournament home since the 2006-07 season before hitting Ottawa this season.

Lady Knight streak ends

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Photos by Patti Wilk

Kaneland’s season-opening win streak falls in loss to DeKalb
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—The opening season unbeaten streak for the Lady Knights basketball team came to an end Tuesday against DeKalb, but not before earning a tough overtime win over Sycamore last Thursday.

After navigating through a tough and tight battle and seeing the game almost slip away with under a second remaining, the Lady Knights used an extra quarter to dispense of visiting Sycamore on Thursday, 44-37.

Middle presence Ashley Prost paced the Lady Knights with 11 points, while Lauren Goff of Sycamore had a game-high 12.

Kaneland was 15-for-40 from the field on Thursday, but 13-for-18 from the foul line.

The fourth quarter began with Kaneland up 24-22, and a Sarah Grams pull-up jumper eventually gave KHS a 32-27 lead, but two baskets by the Lady Spartans made it 32-31 with 2:58 remaining.

Two foul shots by Grams with 1:41 to go extended the lead to 34-31, but an SHS basket with 28.3 to go made it 34-33.

Sycamore would get one last possession, and a Prost foul sent the visitors to the line with .1 second left.

“It wasn’t a position we wanted to be in,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We just got fortunate and caught a break.”

After the front end of the two shots was made, it was on to overtime, where Brooke Harner scored the first two baskets and KHS kept the lead doing with foul shots from Aly O’Herron, Prost and Grams.

“Our main goal is to make the other team take a time out within the first two minutes and keep up the defense, and the offense will follow after,” Harner said.

Kaneland led 10-8 after one quarter, and trailed 14-13 at halftime.

“They had us dribbling too much early on, kind of got us frustrated. They had us throwing the ball for longer passes than we wanted to, and they got to us that way,” Colombe said.

In the third, baskets by Prost and Harner, along with a free throw from Emma Bradford, gave KHS a 20-16 lead.

Marina Schaefer’s two baskets made it 24-19 with 1:14 left, setting the state for the final quarter.

The streak ended at seven games when DeKalb stifled the Lady Knights offense. Kaneland fell 31-17 in a game that saw just three Kaneland players change the scoreboard.

Bradford led the way with 11 points, O’Herron contributed five points, and Marina Schaeffer added one.

Kaneland sits at 7-1 (2-1 Northern Illinois Big XII). The team gets set for a new holiday tourney entry beginning Saturday, Dec. 15, with the Ottawa Tournament.

Too much for Morris

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Photo: Senior Ashley Prost fights for the ball in the third period of Kaneland’s easy 56-27 win at Morris on Friday. Photo by John DiDonna

Lady Knights lay hurt on rival Redskins in NIB-12 tilt
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—Lady Knights basketball doubled its pleasure on Friday evening in Grundy County.

They did it by doubling the point total of host rival Morris.

Tipping off the third-ever Northern Illinois Big XII season, the Lady Knights put up double figures in every frame en route to a 56-27 win.

KHS now sits at 5-0 (1-0 NIB12).

“Our strong start has allowed us to get to see a lot of players early on. This has allowed us to focus in on ways to improve both individually and as a team,” KHS head coach Ernie Colombe said. “This is a great group of players. They work real hard and have great attitudes.”

Leading the way point-wise was Aly O’Herron, who nailed four three-pointers for a 12-point night. Kaneland hit five treys on the evening.

Kaneland also saw eight points from teammate Amber Winquist-Bailey. Eleven players found the scoring column on the night.

On the defensive side of the floor, Sydney Strang had a team-high three steals in an effort that produced nine overall.

KHS was ahead 14-1 after one quarter, and 34-11 at the halftime buzzer. The Lady Knights were up 46-18 at the end of the third before outscoring Morris 10-9 in the final eight minutes.

Meanwhile, the sophomores also got the best of Morris by a 33-22 margin. Ally VanBogaert had a team-high nine points.

Kaneland varsity sharpshooters host familiar foe Sycamore on Thursday, Dec. 6.

Great beginning for Lady Knights

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Clean sweep of IC tourney brings 4-0 start
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It might be too early to see if the season-opening Immaculate Conception tournament in Elmhurst, Ill., is an accurate indicator of things to come for Kaneland girls basketball.

The Lady Knights will take it just the same.

With wins over Lisle on Nov. 21, and Immaculate Conception on Friday, the Lady Knights went 4-0 at the gathering and took their second consecutive tourney plaque.

Over the Interstate Eight Conference mainstay Lady Lions, Kaneland’s 34-23 victory was paced by Ashley Prost’s 10 points, while Aly O’Herrons’ four steals and Brooke Harner’s three steals keyed the defensive effort that included 14 steals in total.

Kaneland led through the first eight minutes by a tally of 6-3 before maintaining a 14-12 edge going into the break.

KHS was able to pull away and lead 25-19 after three before outscoring Lisle by five in the final frame.

In the tourney championship, Kaneland relied on “D” once again in a 33-27 victory. Emma Bradford’s 11 was tops for the Lady Knights. Up 18-8 at the halftime buzzer, the Lady Knights withstood a 14-4 charge in the third quarter that tied the game, before outscoring IC 11-5.

KHS coach Ernie Colombe feels his rotations did the job in Elmhurst.

“Our bench did a great job at the IC tournament,” Colombe said. “We have noticed early on that both our starters and bench have taken pride in trying to lock down our opponents defensively. We also feel like we have some players currently coming off the bench who have the potential to put up some numbers on the offensive end.”

Recent sophomore action had Kaneland trounce Marengo 39-10 on Nov. 21 at Kaneland’s Thanksgiving tournament to finish 2-1. Shay Goldwaite and Bailey Crimmins had 11 points each.

The varsity crew enters Grundy County to face Morris on Friday, Nov. 30.

Winter Sports Preview: Lady Knights look for more

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With a large group of returning players, Kaneland looks to exceed last year’s stellar season
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Could this be a lucky seven for coach Ernie Colombe and crew?

Last year, the Kaneland Lady Knights basketball program brought its skills to the floor in a way not seen in quite awhile, ending with a berth in the Sycamore Sectional final and a 20-10 overall record.

Now in his seventh year at the helm and with a glut of returning talent, Colombe and the Lady Knights are looking to put their plans into execution again for an even better year.

Despite the loss of post presence Kelly Evers, Kaneland returns several assets like seniors Ashley Prost, Emma Bradford, Allyson O’Herron and Sarah Grams.

With four projected starters returning, it’s time to hold court.

“It’s a change in terms of having this many kids back,” Colombe said. “It’s also a challenge to make sure we don’t get complacent. We’ve got a great group of kids that work really hard in practice.”

Also returning to help the KHS cause are returning personnel like senior guard Ashley Castellanos, senior forward Brooke Harner and junior forward Marina Schaefer.

“Things look pretty good early on, but that doesn’t always translate on the court. You’ve got to get stuff done on the court and this team’s very capable of doing that,” Colombe said.

New varsity additions take the form of junior guards Caroline Heimerdinger, Sydney Strang, Katherine Brinkman, junior forwards Jessica Jablonski, Amber Winquist-Bailey and Brittany Kemp, and junior center Kelly Wallner.

Two underclassmen fill the roster out: sophomore center Ally VanBogaert and freshman guard Vanessa Gould.

“We have a bunch of kids that can play coming off the bench.We think the younger players are going to help us, and this is a good group of seniors to bring up a young kid with,” Colombe said.

Kaneland looks to be right in the thick of things when it comes to the Northern Illinois Big XII layout.

“I think our conference is really good and improved,” Colombe said. “DeKalb had a great run and we had a nice run; Rochelle’s returning a co-conference player of the year. Sycamore’s improved, and the competition should be good. Morris is improved and we had a nice rivalry with Yorkville, and it’s a shame they got moved up to 4A, but our whole conference is pretty strong.”

Kaneland already got past Wilmette’s Regina Dominican on Saturday by a 47-38 clip at the pre-Thanksgiving Immaculate Conception stop.

After tournament play, the NIB-12 slate begins at Morris on Friday, Nov. 30, with the first home conference matchup against Sycamore on Thursday, Dec. 6. Kaneland also hits the Ottawa Tournament for holiday play after spending that week at Oswego East High School the past six years.

Hoops rules committee says no to shot clock

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Participation and fan interest in high school basketball remain strong throughout the nation, and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Basketball Rules Committee voted to retain one aspect of the sport that makes it unique from other levels of play.

At its April 16-18 meeting in Indianapolis, the committee considered a proposal to add a shot clock to the high school rules but agreed that the sport played by about one million boys and girls in approximately 18,000 high schools is functioning well without it.

Although a shot clock has been employed at the college level for many years, results of the questionnaire that is sent to coaches, officials and state association administrators across the country did not indicate a strong desire to use the clock at the high school level.

“In addition to the fact that there is some concern about the costs associated with the use of a shot clock, the committee also expressed a belief that the game is typically played with an up-tempo style even without a shot clock,” said Kent Summers, director of performing arts and sports at the NFHS. “In addition, the committee believes that coaches should have the option of a slower-paced game if they believe it makes their team more competitive in specific situations.

The committee did approve one rule change, which subsequently was approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Rule 2-12 requires the official scorer to wear a black-and-white vertically striped garment. Previously, this was a recommendation for schools.

“The players, coaches and officials need to be able to easily identify the official scorer, and making this a requirement should assist in that regard,” Summers said.

Colombe honored as 3A/4A coach of the Year

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KANELAND—The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) selected Ernie Colombe as the District 5 Girls Basketball 3A/4A Coach of the Year. The IBCA honors the Coach of the Year at the IBCA Hall of Fame Banquet in April.

Colombe took over as coach of the Lady Knights in the 2006-07 season and took Kaneland to its first regional championship and sectional final berth in 2012.

KHS hoops squads can brandish honors

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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.

Van Bogaert enjoys new courtside role

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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.”

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

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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

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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

And the award goes to …

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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

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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.

Kaneland girls go into regionals on winning note

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Photo: Kelly Evers carries Emma Bradford, who just made the winning free throw. Kaneland defeated Rochelle 52-51 on Friday to finish the regular season at 17-9 (7-3 NIB-12). Photo by Patti Wilk

Bradford’s late foul shots give KHS close win over Lady Hubs
KANELAND—Quite literally, that’s why they play the final 1.2 seconds.

In a game that saw Kaneland’s 14-point lead evaporate, it was two free throws by Emma Bradford that brought Kaneland into the winner’s circle on Friday night, in a 52-51 affair against Rochelle on Senior Night.

That end-of-game pull-through is something that might not have been pulled off by previous incarnations of this girls group, and shows strides just in time for the regional journey.

With the win, the Lady Knights finished their regular season at 17-9, with a 7-3 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII conference play.

It’s the highest win total since 2005-06 for the girls team, and the highest in coach Ernie Colombe’s tenure.

Kaneland was paced by Ashley Prost’s 13 and Allyson O’Herron’s 12, in a contest that took the sting out of a close loss to Yorkville the previous week.

KHS raced out to an 18-4 lead, only to see it dissipate to a 24-22 halftime edge. Rochelle closed to within 36-35 at the end of the third before the final quarter.

The sophomores closed their season with a 45-36 loss at the hands of Rochelle, but finished with an 18-7 mark (5-5 NIB-12).

The freshman defeated LaSalle-Peru on Feb. 8, to finish their season as NIB-12 tournament champs and with a 23-2 record (10-0 NIB-12).

Kaneland was scheduled to tip off against Illinois Math and Science Academy of Aurora on Wednesday as part of the 1-4 matchup at the Class 3A Yorkville Regional.

IMSA defeated the fifth-seed Sandwich Lady Indians on Monday by a 42-35 final.

The winner of Kaneland-IMSA battle faces either Yorkville or Rosary in the final on Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m. The Lady Foxes were 19-6 headed into playoff action, while the Royals were 9-15.

Lady Knights rattle off two wins after hard-luck loss to Yorkville

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Photo: Lauren Zick crashes into a Yorkville defender on the way to the basket during the third period of Kaneland’s 45-42 loss at home on Friday. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—When a team has to endure a three-game losing skid, the mentality of the next win being so far away can creep into the team.

Fortunately for Kaneland, the so-far-away win occurred Saturday against Sycamore, and then on Tuesdsay against Marengo.

The Lady Knights improved to 16-9 (6-3 NIB-12) after a 54-44 Tuesday solving of the visiting Indians, and a 52-37 win over the rival Lady Spartans. This happened after a loss on Friday in which the visiting Yorkville squad took a lead with 1:06 to go in a 45-42 setback.

Against Marengo, KHS came back from a 27-24 halftime deficit in a big way, going on a 17-6 run in the third quarter before outscoring the Indians 13-11 in the fourth.

Ashley Prost had 17 points and six rebounds, while Allyson O’Herron had 12 points and five boards.

Facing the Lady Spartans, KHS went 22-for-40 from the field, and increased a 23-13 halftime lead to a 41-23 third-quarter chasm. Leading the way was Emma Bradford with 13 points and seven boards, while Brooke Harner had five points and six boards.

Against Yorkville, the Lady Knights played catch-up the whole night until Prost’s bucket with 1:57 to go made it 42-40. But with 1:09 left, Corrine Rowe hit a foul shot and Alicyn Hester’s reeling putback put YHS ahead to stay three ticks later.

O’Herron and Prost missed three-point tries at the end.

“We missed a lot of easy shots on offense and capable of playing much better defense than we did tonight. It was a big game. We know what they do, they know what we do,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said.

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