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
Photo: Drew David beats the defense to the basket in the first quarter against Sycamore on Tuesday. Drew went on to hit a 3-point buzzer-beater to win the game, 43-42. Photo by Patti Wilk
David’s clutch 3 beats rival Sycamore; KHS also downs L-P
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Your boys basketball team is 11-6, 5-1 in the Northern Illinois Big XII setting, and 10-2 in its last 12 contests.
Plays like the one that ended Tuesday’s win over Sycamore in Maple Park provide plenty of looks into why the Knights’ fortunes are turning positive.
With the Knights owning possession with 11.5 seconds remaining and down by two, Drew David eventually got the ball after several touches and sank a three-pointer with under two ticks left in the game.
The clock ran down before Sycamore could manage another play, resulting in a 43-42 win for the host Kaneland crew, which has won five straight.
“It’s a huge win, because they were a team we hadn’t beat yet,” David said. “We were trying to (get it to) Matt (Limbrunner) and try to get an easy layup, because they were switching the whole time, and they covered everything.”
David is used to similar finishes on the court, having helped defeat DeKalb with a late three pointer earlier in the season.
Sycamore enjoyed a 15-13 lead after one and a 28-21 lead after two frames.
Sycamore struck first again in the second half and had a 30-21 lead 31 seconds into the quarter, but two Limbrunner (12 points) buckets closed it to 30-25 with 5:42 remaining. Limbrunner struck again from inside with 3:56 to go to close within 32-27 with 3:56 to go.
Kaneland’s final flurry of the third frame included a David basket, Cole Carlson shot and a Limbrunner attempt off the glass to tie the score at 33 with 1:31 left. A Spartan three with 59.4 remaining to make it 36-33 before the buzzer.
The Spartans took a four-point lead in the fourth, but Limbrunner’s putback of a Tyler Carlson miss with 4:09 left closed it to 40-38, and a later attempt in the paint with 1:11 to go tied the score at 40.
Sycamore hit the front end of a free throw pair with 52.4 left, as well as with 22.5 left to enjoy a brief 42-40 edge before the final sequence.
“I told the boys at halftime that we had to try to get that lead to three going into the fourth and let the chips fall where they may,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “I think the boys did a nice job of doing that, and they were fighting and fighting. We had some key guys in foul trouble all night, and I thought some guys stepped up off the bench.”
In Saturday action, the Knights travelled to LaSalle County to face the L-P Cavaliers and left with a 34-32 win.
Only four Knights entered the scoring column, with Limbrunner totalling 14 and John Pruett 12
KHS had a 9-7 lead after one but went scoreless in the second quarter to fall behind 12-9 at the half. The Knights’ 19-10 flurry in the third had them up 28-22 at the horn before the final eight minutes.
The Golden Warriors of Sterling come through town on Saturday, Jan. 26, for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off.
Photo: Sonny Horn, wrestling at 138 pounds, fights hard against his Sycamore opponent at the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference Tourney on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk
Kaneland’s 145-pound entry, Dan Goress, wins NIB-12 bracket
by Mike Slodki
SYCAMORE—Seeing what the rest of the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference can offer provides a nice opportunity.
For Kaneland, it gave a chance to see how many points it could collect.
The Knights put up a nice showing on Saturday at Sycamore High School, collecting 133 points, good for fifth place.
A scoring error shuffled some places and was corrected on Tuesday. Kaneland originally was tied for fourth with DeKalb, and Sycamore was crowned original winner.
After the modifications, Yorkville (218), Sycamore (216) and Geneseo (154.5) took the top three spots. DeKalb took fourth at 141.5.
LaSalle-Peru (108), Morris (93) and Sterling (88) took sixth through eighth.
Rounding out the lower tier were Ottawa with 84, Streator with 60, Rochelle with 46 and Dixon with 22.
Dan Goress (30-3), at 145 pounds, emerged as the NIB-12 champ in his bracket with a 2:28 pin of Sycamore’s Dylan Foster.
It was a nice honor for Goress at the tail-end of regular season action, with the team anchor having used his penchant for tech falls and major decisions quite well.
“They’re just as important, but from a personal standpoint, it’s toughness,” Goress said. “It’s getting a workout out of it and just physically breaking your opponent more than just going out there and pinning them. It’s about getting in their head.”
Kaneland got going with a third-place nod for Stephen Gust at 113 pounds.
Gust (25-7) took the honor by 3-0 decision over Yorkville’s Dan Cikauskas.
Gust, no stranger to late-season competition, planned to use Saturday to its fullest.
“It’s kind of like a gauge to see what you can do in regionals, because regionals are tough, obviously,” Gust said.
At 120 pounds, Connor Williams (22-5) made it to the finals before dropping a 9-0 major decision to Morris’ Kenny Baldridge.
At 132 pounds, Esai Ponce (25-4) took second, his lone defeat at the hands of DeKalb’s Doug Johnson with 11 seconds left in the match.
Nick Sharp (25-10) was given fourth overall at 220 pounds after making it to the third-place match, defeated by Streator’s Isaias Macias in 4-0 fashion.
Zach Theis (22-5) earned second place, losing only to Sterling’s Curtis Lilly, 2-1, in the final.
Kaneland heads to Batavia for a meet with an old rival on Friday, Jan. 25.
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.
KHS group also deals with tough NIB-12 field
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For their second win of 2012-13, Kaneland High School bowling didn’t have to go far.
In a meeting at St. Paul’s Lanes in Aurora, KHS earned a 2,280-1,989 win over Illinois Math and Science Academy in a match in which the top five scores were officially counted.
Kaneland saw its dual mark improve to 2-6.
Angela Charhut led the way with a 464 series, followed closely by fellow Lady Knight Morgan Wojciechowski’s 463. Christie Crews also contributed with a 441.
Wojciechowski paced KHS with a team-high 177 game, followed by Charhut’s 170.
Mikayla Petesch of IMSA was tops for the Lady Titans with a 466 series.
At the Northern Illinois Big XII meet hosted by DeKalb at Mardi Gras Lanes, Kaneland took 10th in the 10-team gathering, with a final total of 5,305 pins knocked down. Nearby Sycamore won the tournament.
“We did not have a bad day, but the other teams just seemed to be bowling exceptionally well,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said.
Wojciechowski’s 218 and 193 games and 1,012 series were team-highs on the day. Ellissa Eckert added a 188 game of her own.
Up next for the Lady Knights is a meet with visiting Lisle on Wednesday, Jan. 30.
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.
Photo: John Pruett executes a leaping lay-up in the fourth quarter of Kaneland’s 65-62 home win against Rochelle on Thursday. Photo by Patti Wilk
Limbrunner, Pruett combine for 40 in NIB-12 win
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Eight out of 10 isn’t bad.
Outside of two setbacks at last month’s Plano Christmas Classic, the Knights don’t have a blemish on the slate since junior guard Drew David saw his way back into the lineup from injury.
The narrative continued on Thursday evening against the visiting Rochelle Hubs, as the Knights staged a 65-62 comeback win.
The win raises KHS prospects to 9-6 (4-1 Northern Illinois Big XII).
“We still have a long way to go offensively. The nice thing about having Drew back is that we are taking care of the ball better. But our consistency needs to improve,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said.
Helped by a 16-for-24 evening at the line, compared to just four tries for the visitors, Kaneland beat its 2012 regional final opponent from a year ago. Matt Limbrunner had a game-high 23 points, to go with teammate John Pruett’s 17. Dan Miller added nine in the win.
The 65 points marks a team-high for 2012-13 thus far, and held up despite Rochelle’s mind-boggling 14 three-pointers. Grant Prusator had a team-high five treys.
Rochelle led 19-14 after one quarter and 40-29 at the end of the first half. Kaneland closed within 51-45 at the end of the third frame before making a 20-11 run spanning the fourth quarter.
Kaneland hopes the effort shows on the court in this second half of the season.
“The boys are buying into our defensive philosophy. They also work hard on a consistent basis,” Johnson said.
Kaneland travels to conference crossover adversary LaSalle-Peru on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 6:30 p.m.
Photo: Junior Zack Russell won the championship in the 160 pound weight class against a Prairie Central opponent. Photo by Patti Wilk
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Fourth time is a charm for local wrestlers.
For the fourth straight season, KHS wrestling was crowned king of its own mat at the Margarett Flott Memorial Tournament held in Maple Park on Saturday.
The Knights also took down Morris in a slim 40-35 encounter on Thursday, raising their dual mark to 13-12.
The Knights’ improvement in 2012-13 is already tangible, with the Kaneland group eclipsing last season’s dual meet mark of 11-12.
“We’re a better tournament team than a dual team, but we did well and we’re down to an important part of the season,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said.
Kaneland’s total of 227 beat Elgin (156), Prairie Central (141), Ottawa (128.5) and Niles North (105) to round out the top five in the 10-team invite.
Connor Williams captured the 120-pound mantle with a 4:12 pinfall over Ottawa rival Christian Boswell. Williams reached the final with a 14-2 major decision over Elgin’s Daniel Easter.
Esai Ponce conquered the 132-pound group with a 6-2 decision over Bradey Weinrich of BC. Ponce reached the final with a 3:11 pin over Prairie Central’s Nick Kauffman.
Sonny Horn won the 138-pound gathering with a 4-1 win over Marian Catholic’s Nick Remke. Horn made the final via 4-2 decision over PC’s Ben Traub.
Kaneland standout Dan Goress captured the 145-pound title with a 3-1 decision over Evan Bahler of PC, after a 15-1 major decision over Larkin’s Alex Duran.
Zack Russell staked the 160-pound claim by 5:35 pinfall over PC’s Jake Adams. Russell made the final by 6-5 win over Niles North Calvin Rosenburgh.
Zack Theis captured the heavyweight final with victories over Alex Vara of Ottawa (1:20) and Grant Ricketts of PC (1:30). Teammate Justin Diddell had a 9-2 victory over Ottawa’s Sean Taulbee in the same bracket.
113-pound asset Stephen Gust made it to the finals of his bracket by a technical fall over Ottawa’s Alex Brown before dropping a 3:50 fall to Zachery McCullough in the final.
At 126 pounds, Dane Goodenough beat Burlington Central’s Michael Metz in :57 before losing in the final to Larkin’s Duke Bogicevic by 6-2 count.
At 220 pounds, Nick Sharp made it to the finals with a :49 pinfall of PC’s Cody Parks before dropping the final to Ottawa’s cornerstone Cyrano Rayfield in 5:15.
At 106 pounds, Knight Adam Mish defeated Jacob Meyers of Rochelle by 6-5 decision to secure third place.
At 152 pounds, Austin Parks made it to the third-place match with an overtime win over BC’s Brad Roberts before losing to Niles North’s Stephen Heilman by 3:05 pinfall to finish fourth.
Against Morris, Mish won via pin in 1:30, Gust took a 5-0 win over Jake Crowther and Goodenough won a 5-3 decision over AJ Vota.
Kaneland’s David Barnhart won a :24 pin in his 132-pound encounter, and Horn’s 12-2 major decision also helped the KHS effort.
Dan Goress, at 152 pounds, beat Andrew Olson in 1:44, while Parks also managed a 3:35 pinfall over Kyle Abney.
Theis also earned a 2:52 pinfall over Morris’ Dalton Ness in the win for heavyweight supremacy.
On Saturday, Jan. 19, the eyes of the NIB-12 wrestling landscape will be in Sycamore for the conference meet.
“They just have to push themselves,” Jahns said. “We need to focus on every meet and every match like it’s our last.”
KANELAND—The KHS bowling team dropped a pair of matches this week, both by narrow margins.
Kaneland hosted fellow Northern Illinois Big XII outfit Ottawa in DeKalb, and after Tuesday’s loss at Rochelle on Tuesday, fell to 1-7 on the dual campaign tour.
Against Ottawa, Kaneland suffered through a slim 2,803-2,757 setback on the lanes.
Ottawa’s best individual series was a 603 total. Kaneland was lifted by Angela Charhut at 508. Amanda Strayve added a 487.
Teammate Morgan Wojciechowski added a 484 series of her own.
Charhut had the team-high game effort of 224, while Wojciechowski supplied a 172 for second-best.
In JV action, Ottawa bested KHS by a 2,437-2,102 score. Dominique Lee had a team-best 393 series.
Kaneland came out with a game-one victory at Rochelle on Tuesday, 938-894, before dropping the next two games and the match overall, 2,715-2,688.
Ellissa Eckert notched the Kaneland high game with a 168 in game two. Wojciechowski put up the team’s high series with a 482.
Kaneland’s JV squad posted a victory at Rochelle, 2,059-1,859. The team swept all three games, led by Karizza Sotelo’s high game of 172 and Dominique Lee’s high series of 419.
On Thursday,. Jan. 17, the Lady Knights face host Illinois Math and Science Academy, with a 4:15 p.m. start.
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:
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland bowling is trying to up the competitive fire against good teams, and its opponents are making sure it’s a difficult ride.
Facing familiar adversary Huntley on the road on Monday evening, KHS fell with a 2,978-2,728 loss in the first meet of 2013.
For KHS, Christie Crews had a team-high series total of 545 and a high game of 205 and Morgan Wojchiechowski added a 527 total and high game of 189.
Kaneland played hosts to visiting Sycamore on Tuesday and pulled out a tight 933-925 win in game three, although the team fell overall, 2,923-2,759.
Annie Salerno led the team with a 204 high game, and Angela Charhut paced the Lady Knights with a 519 high series.
Kaneland travels to Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb to battle crossover foe Ottawa on Thursday, Jan. 10.
“On Thursday, we face Ottawa at home, and that match could go just about any way,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “They appear to be a bit inconsistent with their scores, just like us. They’ve had some amazingly high games, but they’ve also shown weakness at times, so it should be a good match.”
Photo: Kaneland’s Austin Parks (152 pounds) gets the upper hand on his Rochelle opponent during wrestling Senior Night home match on Jan. 3. Photo by Mary Herra
Wrestlers battle through Sycamore Invite field, stifle Rochelle
KANELAND—Nothing like a tough Sycamore Invite and a Northern Illinois Big XII battle against a familiar foe to measure your team’s progress.
In the usual early-January stop, the Knights finished ninth at the furious Sycamore Invite with 363.5 points.
Kaneland also evened up its dual mark at 12-12 with a 43-15 win over visiting Rochelle on Thursday.
Rockton’s Hononegah High School took first in Sycamore with 679 team points, followed by Grant at 591.5 and the hosts with 567.5.
Noteworthy finishes began with 120-pound asset Connor Williams, who nabbed third place overall with a 5-0 win over Grant’s Troy Parent.
Teammate Esai Ponce did well with a third-place finish, capped with a 2:39 pin over Marian Catholic’s Frank Voltattorni.
Dan Goress continued his trajectory and made it to the 145-pound final before losing to McHenry’s Wade Lardy by 5-2 count.
Against the Hubs, wins were plentiful, including 113-pound rep Stephen Gust winning a 3-1 decision and Williams taking a 5-0 win.
Ponce took a major decision by 8-0 count, and the KHS crew collected two pins from the efforts of Sonny Horn at 138 pounds (2:58) and Goress (1:28).
Austin Parks won an 8-6 OT victory in the 152-pound match, while Nick Sharp added a 1:15 pin.
Kaneland will wrestle at the Flott Invite on Saturday, Jan. 12.
Photo: Kaneland’s Tyler Carlson passes as a Burlington player goes down during Kaneland’s home contest on Saturday. The Knights defeated the Rockets 38-30. Photo by John DiDonna
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—The silver-and-black-clad Knights are making good on committing to excellence in 2013.
After splitting the last competition of 2012 in the 50th running of the Plano Christmas Classic, Kaneland got off to a nice start with the new year.
Kaneland handily solved a visiting Yorkville squad on Friday evening by a final of 51-30 and stifled a lineup from Burlington Central in Maple Park on Saturday by a final of 38-30.
KHS sits at 8-6 (3-1 Northern Illinois Big XII) on the year, having won seven of its last nine.
In NIB-12 action against the Foxes, the Knights were paced by John Pruett’s 14 points, Matt Limbrunner’s 10 and Tyler Carlson’s 10.
After taking a 12-8 lead after the first eight minutes of play, YHS hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 12-11 23 seconds into the second quarter.
Limbrunner then hit two baskets, including one on a crisp pass down low from guard Drew David, to take a 16-11 lead with 6:10 to go.
Baskets by Dan Miller and Cole Carlson and two foul shots from Tyler Carlson gave KHS a 22-18 edge with two minutes to play in the half, the Foxes’ basket with 1:19 left closed the first-half scoring out at 22-20.
The third quarter saw the scales tip even more in the Knights’ favor as a mid-quarter flurry of baskets from Tyler Carlson, Limbrunner and a three-pointer from Pruett made it 31-22 with 2:28 to go. Yorkville missed six straight shots in the quarter at one point, while Limbrunner converted on two baskets and David hit a shot, giving KHS a 37-28 lead with 1:02 to go that closed out the scoring.
Yorkville hit just one of four shots in the fourth quarter, while Pruett hit the first three baskets of the quarter for KHS to give the hosts a 14-point lead.
“We know they ran their 2-2-1 press, and we were pretty much game planning that all week,” Pruett said. “Yorkville is good at getting pressure and turnovers, and we were just getting the ball down the floor.”
The lead grew to 21 on a three by freshman Dylan Vava with 1:26 to go, while Yorkville scored just two points in the frame.
“(Yorkville) did a good job early on at causing us to make some mistakes and not necessarily take care of the basketball, but it was nice to get a little bit of breathing space in the fourth quarter,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said.
Limbrunner led the Knights with 16 in the comeback win over visiting BC, but the visitors enjoyed an 8-6 lead after one quarter. Kaneland powered through for a 19-16 lead at halftime before BC emerged with a 25-24 lead after three. KHS went on a 14-5 run encompassing the fourth quarter for the win.
Kaneland hosts rival Rochelle on Thursday, Jan. 10.
Photos by John DiDonna:
WORCESTER, Mass.—Holy Cross junior forward Dave Dudzinski, an Elburn resident and Kaneland High School alum, was named the Patriot League/Anaconda Player of the Week, for competition from Dec. 17-23. This marks the first time Dudzinski has won Patriot League Player of the Week honors during his collegiate career.
In two contests that week, Dudzinski averaged 26.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots per game, while hitting 69.2 percent (18 of 26) of his field goal attempts, 80.0 percent of his three-pointers (four of five) and 92.9 percent (13 of 14) of his free throws. He opened the week with a career-high 31 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in the 73-63 victory at San Francisco on Dec. 18. Dudzinski then totaled 22 points, two assists, two blocks and two steals in the 72-65 loss at Harvard on Dec. 22.
On the year, Dudzinski has averaged a team-best 15.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shots per game. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has totaled 577 points, 336 rebounds and 53 blocked shots, while connecting on 50.2 percent (211 of 421) of his field goals and 80.6 percent (133 of 165) of his free throws.
Photo: Kaneland boys varsity beat Newark 54-35 on Dec. 27 at the Plano 50th annual Christmas Classic tournament. No. 22 Dan Miller goes up and over his opponents for a score. Photo by Patti Wilk
by Mike Slodki
PLANO—Kaneland boys basketball is slowly but surely gelling again.
At the 50th running of the Plano Christmas Classic, that reality stood as an ominous warning to some teams and a statement of fact to the teams that bested the Knights.
Kaneland finished in fourth place, one spot worse than in 2011, but still continues to make strides with a healthy lineup and new faces.
Coupled with a win back on Dec. 22 against Sandwich, the Knights returned to action with a handy 47-29 win on Dec. 26, against sixth-seed Lisle. On Thursday, they handed Newark a 54-35 loss before losing to Ottawa on Friday, 60-50. Saturday’s third-place game saw Aurora Christian hand Kaneland a 54-46 loss.
Ottawa, a 10th seed, won the entire tournament with a 55-53 win over top-seed Belvidere on Saturday night.
With the 3-2 showing at the tourney, Kaneland’s record is now 6-6.
Against the Lisle Lions, Kaneland was led by Matt Limbrunner’s 23, Tyler Carlson’s 11 and John Pruett’s 10.
Two Limbrunner hoops gave KHS a 10-5 lead with under a minute left, but a technical foul on the Kaneland bench gave Lisle four foul shot attempts, only to convert on one of the tries. Kaneland led 10-8 at the first-quarter horn.
It was once again the Limbrunner show in the second quarter, with four of the five team baskets.
The senior was able to power down low to make it 19-12 with 3:02 to go in the half. After Lisle’s hoop 19 seconds later, Limbrunner went low for a 21-14 edge with 2:21 to play, closing out the first-half scoring.
KHS then went on a 13-4 run, taking care of the entire third frame. Back-to-back three pointers by Carlson grew the lead to 14 points with 29.1 left, and two Pruett foul shots with 15.8 to go made it 34-18 as the quarter wound down.
Baskets by Pruett and Limbrunner within the fourth quarter’s first minute made the lead 38-18, while free throws from Limbrunner, Dan Miller and Connor Fedderly iced the game.
Limbrunner and crew persevered against a higher seed and an up-tempo style of play for a handy win.
“It was nice; we knew they wanted to play fast,” Limbrunner said. “So we wanted to play our game, slow it down, and it worked out really well.”
KHS coach Brian Johnson was wary of the No. 6 seed in the Classic.
“We wanted to make sure we could control the tempo,” Johnson said. “Lisle is pretty athletic and big, and they want to get out and run.”
In the win over the Norsemen, Carlson paced the Knights with 16. Kaneland was ahead 15-3 after one frame and 26-18 at the halftime buzzer before leading 41-26 after three. KHS shot 17-for-38 in the win and 17-for-22 from the foul line.
In the loss against the eventual champ Pirates, Miller had a team-high 12, while Ottawa’s JD Bryant had 16 of his own.
Kaneland was plagued by a 19-for-53 day from the field. Ottawa was ahead 15-12 after one and 30-18 at the half before the Knights closed to within 39-33 after three.
Miller had a team-high 15 in the loss to the local rival Eagles in the tourney conclusion. Cory Windle had a game-high 16.
Kaneland was plagued by a 19-for-50 night from the field.
AC went up 22-9 after one frame and 36-24 after the first 16 minutes of play before the Knights closed to within 45-36, but a 10-9 fourth in favor of Kaneland wasn’t impactful enough.
Kaneland continues Northern Illinois Big XII action on Friday, Jan. 4, against visiting Yorkville.
Photo: Kaneland sophomore Adam Mish puts an arm lock on his Burlington rival during the DeKalb Invitational on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk
DeKalb gathering lifts KHS; sees dual mark at 10-11
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—A usual late-December stop offered a glimpse as to what caliber the Knight wrestling squad is at right now.
Friday and Saturday marked the familiar Don Flavin Invite, hosted by DeKalb High School.
The event was ultimately won by Hononegah High School over Naperville North, and the Knights went 2-2 in the weekend. Hononegah improved on its second-place finish of a year ago.
Kaneland finished eighth in 2011 and sixth in 2010.
After a 41-30 win over Burlington Central, a 54-24 win over Stagg, a 44-32 loss to 2011 champ Neuqua Valley and a 40-26 loss to Glenbard West—plus a loss to Pewaukee of Wisconsin—the Knights sit at 10-11 in head-to-head competition.
In the win over the rival Rockets along Dresser Road, the Knights saw a 7-0 decision from 106-pounder Adam Mish and a 2-0 decision for 120-pounder Connor Williams. Teammate Dane Goodenough managed a pin in the 126-pound outing in two minutes, 31 seconds.
Kaneland 138-pounder Sonny Horn won a 2:32 pinfall, and 145-pound teammate Dan Goress took a technical fall by 20-4 count.
BC found wins in the 152-through-182 classes, but the twin towers of Nick Sharp and Zach Theis took pins home to secure a win.
Sharp won in 1:27 for 220-pound glory, and Theis managed a 1:53 pin in the heavyweight category.
In the win over the Stagg group, Mish’s 8-5 win paved the way for pins from Williams, Goodenough, 132-pound Esai Ponce, Horn and 152-pound Austin Parks. Goress also nabbed a 24-9 technical fall, as well.
Sharp won his match in 3:53, while Theis scored a 12-2 major decision.
In the 12-point team loss to the Naperville, Ill.-based outfit, Mish (:43) and Williams (2:32) took pins, while Stephen Gust won a 7-6 squeaker.
Horn won a pinfall in 1:36, while Goress won a third technical fall of the competition in 18-3 fashion.
In the 14-point loss to the Hilltoppers, decision wins came by Gust (2-0), Williams (6-3), Ponce (9-8), Horn (6-5) and Sharp (6-1).
Goress earned a fourth technical fall win by 21-6 count, while Sharp took the lone team pinfall by 3:14 time.
KHS head coach Monty Jahns said Goress has served as a spark plug for the team.
“He got the ball rolling and was fun to watch,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “As a senior, he sets the tone for us.”
GW’s winning trail through 152-195 country was the difference.
Kaneland gets back into the Northern Illinois Big XII swing of things on Thursday, Jan. 3, against the visiting Rochelle Hubs.
Follow the Plano Tournament at
Kaneland’s Tyler Carlson (10) steals the ball from the Sandwich players during the 50th annual Plano Classic on Saturday. Kaneland handled Sandwich easily in this game, winning 52-31. Photo by Patti Wilk
KHS boys trounce Sandwich in Plano Classic’s first round
KANELAND—It’s a tall order for an 11th seed to find glory in the Plano Christmas Classic, so Kaneland had to take it one step at a time at the tournament setting.
They did so on Saturday against Sandwich with a 52-31 victory during the first afternoon of the 50th edition of the tournament.
Winners of the entire tournament in 2009, KHS played No. 6 seed Lisle at 3:30 p.m., on Wednesday, with results unavailable at press time.
Kaneland (4-4) went 17-for-42 from the field and was paced by Tyler Carlson’s 19 points, John Pruett’s 12 and Matt Limbrunner’s 11.
Liam Crotty had eight for Sandwich.
Key in the winning effort was the Knights going 18-for-21 from the foul line, compared to 5-for-5 for the Indians.
KHS went 10-for-22 from the field in the second half.
Kaneland was up 10-8 after the first quarter, and 18-13 at the half before upping the lead to 30-22 after three. The Knights’ 22-9 run spanning the entire fourth quarter iced the first-round contest.
KANELAND—Work never seems done for the Kaneland High School wrestling unit.
While the final school bell of 2012 rang the previous day, the wrestlers headed up to Woodstock High School for a quadrangular meet.
After the day’s activities, the Knights came away with a 52-18 win over the hosts, a 37-30 setback at the hands of Mundelein, and a 51-9 win over Richmond-Burton.
Kaneland’s dual mark sits at 8-8.
Against the Streaks of Woodstock, three of the lightest four weights ended in forfeit wins, while 113-pound entry Stephen Gust took a pin in two minutes, 59 seconds.
Teammate Esai Ponce, at 132 pounds, won a 15-0 technical fall, while Sonny Horn won a 9-5 decision at 138.
At 145 pounds, Dan Goress took a 12-4 major decision, and teammate Austin Parks ended up with the same type of win in 11-2 fashion for the 152 bragging rights.
Woodstock took the 160, 170 and 182 wins by two pins and a forfeit, while 195 ended as a double forfeit.
Nick Sharp and Zach Theis had the final two wins in the heavier weights by forfeit.
Against Mundelein, Kaneland fell victim to losses in every class from 152 to 195. Pins in the Knights favor went to Connor Williams at 120 over Jonathan Avela in 3:26, Horn at 3:52 over Joe Lavree and Theis in 1:15 over Ed Olmos. Goress took a major decision over Javeen Dominguez, 20-5, while Sharp won a major decision over Cesar Obespo, 11-0. Ponce won 5-3 for a win over Matt Hvoenson.
Against Richmond-Burton, victories included a 6-0 win by Gust, a 126-pound win for Dane Goodenough in :40 and a :45 pin by Sharp. The remainder of the wins were of the forfeit variety.
The Knights prepare to hit the 14th annual Don Flavin Tournament at DeKalb High School Friday and Saturday, Dec. 28-29.
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 point guard Drew David returned to the lineup after his injury that kept him out of the first six games. He helped the Knights come back against DeKalb, winning 50-45 on Friday. Photo by Patti Wilk
Key 3 fuels comeback win at Barbs
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—Perhaps the only group unhappy to see the return of Kaneland point guard Drew David was the group hosting the boys basketball game on Friday night.
It was David’s first game back from a wrist injury suffered during football season, and he lofted a successful three-pointer to give KHS a 46-45 lead with 43.6 seconds remaining.
The shot gave the Knights the lead for the rest of the contest and resulted in a 50-45 win over the host Barbs.
Kaneland is now 3-4 (2-1 Northern Illinois Big XII).
The game featured Kaneland playing catch-up since the first quarter, facing as much as an eight-point deficit in the game.
The fourth frame saw KHS go 7-for-10 from the field and a string of six made shots in a row.
Matt Limbrunner paced the Knights with 16 points, followed by Tyler Carlson’s 11, John Pruett’s 10 and David’s eight.
“We were down the whole game, but the boys fought really hard,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “Drew came up big toward the end, and it was a team effort. It was obviously nice having Drew back.”
DeKalb entered the fourth up 34-29, and Kaneland’s run began when Pruett’s putback off of a Dan Miller miss made it 39-35 with 4:05 remaining.
DeKalb made the first of two foul shots to make it a five-point game. Pruett’s shot made it 40-37 with 2:50 to go, and David hit his first trifecta with 1:58 remaining to neutralize a previous Barb three and make it 43-40.
Tyler Carlson’s basket 20 seconds later made it 43-42.
Miller’s foul shot tied it with 1:27 left before a Barb conversion tilted the lead back to the home team with 1:05 left.
David then hit the crucial three from the wing, and a similar attempt by DeKalb was for naught, allowing Pruett and David to hit four foul shots to cap the win.
“I don’t know, I’m pretty out of shape, but I was just trying to help the team win,” David said. “I just got cleared the other day and it’s (my hand is) pretty weak, so it’s kind of foreign for me, shooting right now.”
DeKalb had a 10-7 lead after one frame, and was up 20-16 after two quarters.
Kaneland sets off against Sandwich at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Dec. 22, in the first round of the Plano Christmas Classic. The winner faces Lisle on Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 3:30 p.m., while the loser faces either Newark or Burlington Central at 6:30 p.m.