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Winter Sports - page 12

Kaneland begins Ottawa journey

in Girls Basketball by

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.

Bowling sees promising signs at Lisle Invite

in Bowling/Featured by

Photo: Christie Crews is trying to improve on her standout performance last year. Here she throws against LaSalle Peru High School on Tuesday at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Sometimes a weekend invite is all you need to see what can happen.

On Saturday, Kaneland bowling went to the Lisle Invite and came away with a second-place trophy in the “B” bracket.

Kaneland knocked down 1,308 pins in the morning session and 2,060 pins in the afternoon session for a total of 3,368.

The first matchups were traditional five-on-five formats, with the field divided into A and B brackets in the afternoon.

KHS was ninth out of 16 teams, and was placed in the “B” bracket.

Kaneland came away with wins over Lisle and then Willowbrook before losing to Rock Island in the final match of the day.

“It’s a game we should have won, but tiredness showed, and we just didn’t get the scores we needed,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “Still, we got a nice trophy for taking second place. It was good to bowl against several teams on the same day. As is often the case with us, we just seemed to tire out and lose the competitive spirit late in the day. We’ll have to work on that prior to our next tournament in January. All in all, I’m pleased with our performance, and I think the girls are, too.”

Kaneland played hosts to LaSalle-Peru Tuesday and fell in all three games by a total of 2,908-2,620.

Christie Crews led the Lady Knights with a pair of 181-high games and a 508 series. Ellissa Eckert followed with a 175 high game and 467 series.

Bowling picks up on Jan. 3, 2013, hosting Sycamore High School at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb.

Lady Knight streak ends

in Featured/Girls Basketball by

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.

Boys step into pressure cooker

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: Kaneland varsity head coach Brian Johnson (right) tries to settle down his players in the third period at Sycamore. Photos by John DiDonna

Sycamore ‘D’ too much; KHS nabs win over H-BR
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—There would be no duplicating the last-second magic of late November like the Kaneland boys basketball team had against Morris. The host Sycamore Spartans made absolutely sure of that on Friday along Spartan Trail.

However, another game came down to the wire on Tuesday against Hinckley-Big Rock (H-BR), and this time the Knights came through in a 44-42 win.

Against Sycamore, a stingy press meant Kaneland was playing catch-up for the entire duration of the Northern Illinois Big XII meeting between the rival Knights and Spartans, with Sycamore earning a 60-46 win.

For Sycamore, Devin Mottet had 17 points, while KHS was paced by Matt Limbrunner’s 19. Dan Miller added nine.

Kaneland was 7-for-10 from the foul line.

A Tyler Carlson jumper with 4:24 remaining in the first deadlocked the affair at four apiece, but Sycamore went 4-for-5 from the field and made six foul shots to go up 19-7 at the end of the first, and continued its run into the next quarter to go up 23-7 before Miller’s offensive putback with 4:53 remaining in the half. Kaneland’s scoring drought lasted 5:20.

Down 27-11, the Knights went on a 9-2 run to close the half, thanks to a three-point play by Limbrunner, two foul shots by Bailey Harvell, two foul shots by Carlson and a basket by Limbrunner.

Sycamore’s fortunes were lifted by a fast tempo and key baskets by Mottet to go up 41-22 with 3:36 left.

Kaneland closed the third frame on an 8-2 run, stamped by a Cole Carlson putback with 22.6 to go.

Sycamore saw its lead go up to 15, but Kaneland got within 10 on four occasions, only to get no closer.

KHS coach Brian Johnson surveyed the difficult task with an improved Spartans contingent.

“This isn’t the Sycamore of the last few years; they’re a good team,” Johnson said. “They’re well coached and played extremely hard. We have to stick to our philosophy in beating those types of presses, and we didn’t really do it.”

Against H-BR, Kaneland used an 11-4 third quarter advantage to overcome a three-point halftime deficit to propel them to a much needed victory.

Matt Limbrunner led the team with 14 points, including three three-pointers. John Pruett added 12 points, and Carlson chipped in 10.

Kaneland now sits at 2-4 on the season. The Knights will battle host DeKalb Barbs on Friday, Dec. 14.

Tough week for Knight matmen

in Featured/Wrestling by

Photo: Kaneland’s Stephen Gust doesn’t let his opponent attack him during his match
at DeKalb on Dec. 6. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—If a team is going to have a difficult week, it is much better to have them in early December than in February.

Kaneland High School dual action through 2012-13 has it at a 4-5 record, after losses to Cary-Grove 66-12 and host Crystal Lake Central 46-18 back on Dec. 5, as well as a Thursday loss to DeKalb.

At the still-new digs along Dresser Road in DeKalb, the NIB-12 offering featured three key wins by the Knights.

At 145-pounds, Dan Goress took a technical fall, while 220-pounder Nick Sharp earned a pinfall, as did 285-pound teammate Justin Diddell.

Kaneland’s odds were more daunting with four forfeit loses on the night.

The Knights also learned their individual postseason assignment, as they’ll head to Sycamore.

The grouping also features Belvidere, Belvidere North, Burlington Central, Glenbard South, Rockford Boylan, Rockford East, Sycamore and St. Francis of Wheaton.

Top finishers in the regional head to Rochelle for the sectional.

In the thick of things by the end of the season could be those included in the current Class AA illinoismatmen.com rankings, like 113-pounder Stephen Gust (No. 4), 132-pounder Esai Ponce (No.2), Goress (No. 5), Sharp (No. 7) and heavyweight Zach Theis (No. 12).

The Knights strap on the singlets to host fellow conference cornerstone Yorkville on Thursday, Dec. 13.

Kaneland senior Sonny Horn (138 pounds) tries to pull down his opponent at DeKalb on Dec. 6. Sonny went on to win this match. 											           Photo by John DiDonna
Kaneland senior Sonny Horn (138 pounds) tries to pull down his opponent at DeKalb on Dec. 6. Sonny went on to win this match. Photo by John DiDonna

Too much for Morris

in Featured/Girls Basketball by

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.

Tylertown!

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: Senior Dan Miller works some defense during the varsity boys exciting 32-31 comeback victory over Morris on Friday. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

Carlson’s putback buzzer-beater gives KHS win No. 1
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was a case of right place, right time for Kaneland junior Tyler Carlson.

But that ending sequence couldn’t have taken place without a battling mentality, which helped the Knights crawl back the entire game against Morris on Friday night.

Carlson’s (four points) rebound and putback off the glass after a John Pruett (11 points) three-point miss gave Kaneland a 32-31 win over Morris in Northern Illinois Big XII action.

It was the first win of the young season for the Knight unit after a hard-luck 0-3 start.

“I just saw the shot go up and it was the right place at the right time,” Carlson said. “It was my first buzzer-beater and it felt pretty good.”

Morris fell to 2-2 with the setback.

The fourth quarter marked the first time Kaneland actually had a lead after a three-point play by Dan Miller made it 27-26 with 6:20 remaining. Pruett connected on a foul shot with 4:47 to go to make it 28-26 before a Ben Ortiz basket with 4:10 to go tied the game.

Ortiz’ three-pointer with 1:18 to go gave Morris a 31-28 edge, setting up the final exchange.

Two missed shots by Kaneland hindered a comeback attempt, but Miller’s two charity stripe shots with 57.5 to go made it 31-30.

KHS got the ball back, but a time out was called with 17.7 seconds to go after no shot opportunities opened up, setting the stage for the final sequence.

“The last one was a lucky one,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “Ty just happened to crash and got the ball and barely got it off. We’re very fortunate to come away with the win.”

Morris led 13-7 after one quarter. A three-point play by Pruett with 2:38 remaining closed within 10-7 before an Evan Bjelland three with 58.7 to go upped the lead to six.

Morris led by as much as seven in the second quarter, but baskets by Pruett and Matt Limbrunner closed it to 18-14 with 34.9 remaining in the half.

Kaneland kept matters close, and a Miller basket with 3:15 to go in the third made it 23-22 before a Bjelland three with 33.3 to go set the stage for the final frame.

Sycamore represents the next challenge for KHS, in a match-up along Spartan Trail on Saturday, Dec. 8.

Knights power through

in Featured/Wrestling by

Photo: Kaneland Senior Sonny Horn gets the upper hand on his opponent at Sycamore on Nov. 29. Horn went on to win the match. Photo by Patti Wilk

Wrestlers slammed by Sycamore, split Saturday triangular
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Area teams know when they’ve been on a mat with the Sycamore Spartans—the KHS grapplers are no different.

The Knights traveled to Spartan Trail on Thursday for a Northern Illinois Big XII matchup and fell 55-16 in head-to-head action. Kaneland acclimated itself better with a triangular meet that led to a 36-35 slim loss to Plano and a 54-21 handling of the Lemont Indians on Saturday in Maple Park.

Through six dual encounters, the Knights are 4-2.

Against the Spartan program that had a top-tier finish in the IHSA dual meets in February, Kaneland fell victim to an onslaught that began with a 6-1 loss by Adam Mish to Bryce Hansen in the 106-pound match, a 17-1 technical fall win by Kyle Akins over 113-pound Stephen Gust, and a forfeit in the 120-pound match.

David Barnhart lost to Jesus Renteria 10-1 in the 126-pound clash, and George Strang was pinned in the 132-pound match in 2:40.

Kaneland’s first positive development happened with Sonny Horn’s 3:28 pin of Andrew Larsen at 138, followed by Dan Goress’ 12-4 decision over Dylan Foster at 145.

Sycamore went on another roll with an Austin Culton 19-4 tech fall over Knight Austin Parks at 152, an Austin Armstrong pin of Knight Zach Russell in :51 at 160, a major decision by Ren Swick over KHS rep Zach Parker at 182, followed by two forfeits.

The final two matches of the evening had 220-pounder Nick Sharp of Kaneland lose to Martin Malone by 13-5 major decision, but heavyweight Zach Theis pinned Devin Knight in 3:20.

“We weren’t on the attack like we were in the (practice) room the last couple of weeks,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “We’ll get it back. They’ve got it, they just didn’t bring it tonight. We wrestled well last Saturday. Sycamore’s a different caliber team, but I expect us to wrestle much better the next time.”

Indicative of Theis’ importance to the squad, the anchor knew he had to come through, regardless of the team score.

“I was in the mindset that I needed to do something good,” Theis said. “I was working on moves all week in practice. I’m just going to keep moving and keep learning.”

Jahns said he hopes the Knights don’t serve up a repeat performance of the Knights-Spartans skirmish anytime soon.

Saturday’s encounter with the capable Plano Reapers contingent began with an 11-2 major decision loss by Mish to give Plano an early edge, but Kaneland went on a roll thanks to a Gust tech fall (15-0), a 15-12 win by 120-pound rep Diego Lobo, a forfeit, a 9-0 major decision by 132-pound Esai Ponce, a 2:56 pin by Horn and a tech fall 20-5 win by Goress.

Plano closed the deficit after a pin of Parks at 152, a 3:10 pin of Zach Russell by state-qualifier Wes Brown, a loss by Zach Parker in 9-6 fashion at 170, two forfeits and a 10-2 win by Derrick Maisonet over Sharp.

Theis had a 5:20 pin of Junior Nunez in heavyweight action, but the tiebreaker edge of decisions went to Plano for the razor-thin win.

Kaneland regained its footing with a win over south suburban fixture Lemont, beginning with a forfeit and a 4:56 pinfall win for Gust.

After a Lemont forfeit win, Barnhart picked up a 5-0 decision to lift Maple Park’s spirits. Ponce acted on a 1:20 pinfall, but Horn fell victim to a 7-2 decision in the next two matches.

Goress earned a quick :30 pinfall at 145, and Parks followed up with a 1:28 pinfall. Russell pinned Mike Fragner in 3:52 to send KHS on its way. Kaneland took a forfeit win followed by two of the same for Lemont, before Sharp won a 5-2 matchup at 220, and Theis won a forfeit.

Kaneland was set to head to Crystal Lake Central on Wednesday, with results unavailable at press time. The Knights will then face host DeKalb on Thursday, Dec. 6.

Bowlers secure non-conference win

in Bowling by

Lady Knights solve Lisle, dropped by Dixon
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—Kaneland bowling had a rougher start than they would have liked, but it no longer has to wonder where its first win will come from.

A Nov. 28 dual hosted by Lisle resulted in the first win of the 2012-13 campaign for KHS, while a loss followed in Dixon against the host Duchesses on Thursday.

Kaneland’s head-to-head mark sits at 1-4.

KHS defeated the Interstate Eight Conference staple Lady Lions by a final of 2,731-2,363 in varsity action.

Kaneland was led by Morgan Wojciechowski and her 515 series. She was followed closely by Amanda Strayve’s 492 and Dominique Lee’s 488 efforts.

High games went to Wojciechowski at 236 and Lee at 219.

For Lisle, Shelby Jensen had the high series at 481.

In JV action, KHS took home a 1,976-1,796 win.

“It was a great win for us at Lisle. It was a very busy week, with competition Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, so it was great to see the girls bowl well at Lisle. Morgan Wojciechowski’s 236 and Dominique Lee’s 219 really lifted the team,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said.

Against Northern Illinois Big XII crossover foe Dixon, KHS ended up on the wrong side of a 3,086-2,637 loss.

Wojciechowski’s 520 series and a 513 series from Christie Crews were tops for the Kaneland lineup, and high games went to Wojciechowski at 205 and Crews and 176.

“It’s no wonder they’re right up there near the top of the conference. It was our fourth contest in as many nights, and the girls were showing their tiredness. We actually bowled pretty well, all things considered, but Dixon simply bowled better,” McKnight said.

The Lady Knights host Illinois Math and Science Academy on Monday, Dec. 10, at 4 p.m.

3’s a welcome crowd

in Featured/Wrestling by

Photo: Senior varsity wrestler Esai Ponce gets pulled down during his winning match against Freeport on Saturday. Kaneland hosted a quad tournament against Freeport, Wheaton-Warrenville and Burlington Central. Photo by Patti Wilk

Wrestlers get on right side of mat with sweep at KHS
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Coaches and wrestlers have often said the Knights tend to be a different tournament team than a dual team.

Freeport, Wheaton-Warrenville South and Burlington Central probably wish neither showed up on Saturday in Maple Park.

The Knights took it to the Pretzels 54-18, the Tigers 51-16 and the Rockets in a slim 34-33 affair to go 3-0 on the young 2012-13 season.

In last year’s head-to-head clashes, the Knights went 11-12.

Against the NIC-10 staple Pretzels, two forfeits gave the Knights an early 12-0 lead before Adam Mish was beaten 7-2 in the 106-pound encounter. KHS 113-pound entry Stephen Gust continued his trajectory from a year ago with a pin, and teammate Connor Williams won his 120-pound encounter in :50 over Brett Spradlin to go up 24-3.

Williams felt good about the ending, with his skills ready to give the team a boost.

“I’m feeling good; I’m taller this year,” Williams said. “The chance for six points is always there. We have to fill out a lot of weights, but I think we’ll be a pretty solid tournament team.”

Adding to the solid nature of the Kaneland group is Gust, who looks to capitalize on the sixth-place finish at 106 a year ago.

“It’s the first meet and so you get kind of nervous, but as soon as the whistle blows, you just start going,” Gust said.

After David Barnhart dropped a 5:26 pin against Nate Anderson in the 126-pound match, four more forfeits went the Kaneland way.

Zach Parker lost a 4-2 match against Brian Meiborg in the 170-pound match, with a double forfeit and a forfeit in the 195-pound match completing the scoring.

Against the DuPage Valley Conference rep Tigers, Kaneland got on the board with three straight forfeit wins for an 18-0 lead before Barnhart was pinned to make it 18-6.

Dane Goodenough emerged with a 7-5 win in 132-pound action, followed by a Sonny Horn win by 7-0 count at 138 to make it 24-6.

Knight 145-pounder Dan Goress took a 3-1 win for a 27-6 edge before a forfeit win and a 160-pound pin by Kaneland’s Zach Russell in 2:54 for a 33-6 lead.

After WWS secured a major decision, followed by a double forfeit and a 195-pound forfeit, 220-pounder Nick Sharp pinned his way to a win in 1:48, and Zach Theis’ 3:13 pin in heavyweight action closed the scoring and 35-point margin.

Facing the Rockets, KHS enjoyed an opening 17-0 lead after an 11-9 overtime win by Mish, a 13-2 major decision by Gust, an 8-2 decision by Williams, a 12-4 major decision for Barnhart and a 4-0 decision for Esai Ponce at 132 pounds.

Sonny Horn dropped a 7-3 encounter at 138 to make it 13-3, before Goress’ 1:51 pin gave KHS a 23-3 edge.

BC then went on a tear, earning pins at 152, 160 and 170 before taking forfeits in the 182 and 195 categories.

Down 33-23, Sharp stuck a three-minute pin at 220 to make it 33-29 before Theis’ 11-0 major decision tied the score, allowing the tiebreaker of most decisions to go Kaneland’s way for the win.

Ahead for Kaneland is a trip to Sycamore for dual action on Thursday, Nov. 29.

Great beginning for Lady Knights

in Girls Basketball by

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.

Knight boys have early uphill climb

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: Tyler Carlson goes up for a shot to close up the score against Crystal Lake South on Friday at Batavia. Photo by John DiDonna

KHS drops first 3 contests as part of Windmill Invite
KANELAND—Good news for Kaneland boys basketball is that it’s still November.

The bad news is there will be time spent negating the rough start in November.

With the season beginning in Batavia as part of the popular Windmill City Basketball Classic, Kaneland dropped a 47-45 game to the host Bulldogs on Nov. 21, a loss to Crystal Lake South, 63-55 on Friday, and a 63-50 loss to St. Francis on Saturday to set its mark at 0-3.

Against Batavia, Tyler Carlson led KHS with 13 points, followed by nine from Connor Fedderly.

Batavia was enjoying a 9-2 lead after one quarter before the Knights stormed back to 21-21 at the halftime buzzer. Hoops matters were deadlocked at 34 apiece going into the final frame.

KHS was 12-for-16 from the foul line on the evening.

The Knights couldn’t solve the Gators of Crystal Lake South despite the best intentions of Matt Limbrunner, who had 26 points, leading to the encounter with the Wheaton-based Spartans.

In the 13-point setback, John Pruett had 20, while Limbrunner added 11, including two three-pointers. The Knights were 17-of-25 from the charity stripe.

Kaneland and St. Francis were tied at 15 after one quarter of play, but the Spartans took a 33-26 lead at the end of the second quarter. The Knights saw the lead balloon after three to 57-38 before the final shrinking margin.

KHS coach Brian Johnson isn’t dismayed with the effort put forth, and the prospect still exists in the young 2012-13 campaign to turn the team’s fortunes.

“At this point in the season we are still trying to mix and match and see what line-ups have success during different times of each game,” Johnson said. “The boys have done a nice job of staying focused and putting forth their best effort thus far.”

Up next for Kaneland: a home matchup with Grundy County rival Morris on Friday, Nov. 30.

Bowlers stopped by Marengo

in Bowling/Featured by

Photos: Senior Amanda Strayve stays calm under pressure during Kaneland’s home match against Marengo on Monday. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—The Kaneland High School bowling team dropped a pair of meets this week, starting out the season 0-3.

Looking to get its first win in its second meet, Kaneland bowling instead fell victim to a high-powered Marengo unit.

The Indians took a 3,099-2,524 win at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb on Monday. Their high game was 1,048, compared to 868 for KHS.

Marengo’s Dominique Bailey’s total knockdown of pins was 607 to lead the winners. Kaneland was paced by junior Christie Crews with a 480 series and senior Angela Charhut with 458.

Kaneland dropped Tuesday’s meet against visiting Sterling, with the Knights hosting at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb.

Sterling won all three games by a combined total of 3,267-2,795.

Christie Crews led the Lady Knights with a high game of 192 in game three, as well as with high series with 537.

Kaneland travels to Dixon on Thursday, Nov. 29, for Northern Illinois Big XII crossover action.

Photos: Preseason warm ups

in Wrestling by


The Kaneland Knights high school and middle school wrestling teams spent the day at Johnson’s Mound on Nov. 17. The goal was to help get in shape for the upcoming season. They carried weights, ran up and down hills and performed a series of exercises. The event was organized and run by coach Bob McCaffrey and varsity head coach Monty Jahns. Doing pushups after carrying the weights was just part of the fun. Photos by Patti Wilk

Winter Sports Preview: Lady Knights look for more

in Girls Basketball by

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.

Winter Sports Preview: Season of change

in Boys Basketball by

Knight cagers hope returnees lead team full of newcomers
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There seems to be a wrinkle at the beginning of every Kaneland High School boys basketball season.

In 2009-10, Dave Dudzinski ran roughshod over the area, while in 2010-11, the Knights captured their first conference title since the Reagan administration. And in 2011-12, the Knights benefited from all-Northern Illinois Big XII selection and West Aurora transfer Marcel Neil and secured a Regional plaque.

Now, coach Brian Johnson has to prepare a group for a similar postseason run like the one that advanced to the Sycamore Sectional semifinal, but without personnel like Neil (at Kishwaukee Junior College) and junior Thomas Williams, who transferred to Texas.

“There’s been a lot of change, even from just the summer when we had Thomas, but we have some boys that have put in a lot of hard work,” Johnson said.

Among the group of hard-workers Johnson is talking about are senior guard Dan Miller and senior forward Matt Limbrunner, the two oldest reps on the Knight squad. The Knights will also expect heavy contributions from junior forward John Pruett and junior guard Tyler Carlson.

“Those guys have put in a lot of time. They’re good athletes and good kids. People ask me what type of team we’ll have and I don’t know yet,” Johnson said. “Last year, we could attack the rim, and we rebounded fairly well. I don’t know if we’ll be able to do all those things this year.”

Adding to the question pile is the health of third-year point guard Drew David, still on the mend after football bumps and bruises.

“It’ll be nice having Drew back in his third year at the point, and Tyler and John practiced with us all year and they know what we’re expecting,” Johnson said.

Also looking to contribute with varsity minutes in 2012-13 are sophomore guard Connor Fedderly and fellow sophomore guard Ben Barnes, junior forward Tom VanBogaert, junior guard Bailey Harvell and junior forward Cole Carlson, who saw quality summer minutes.

The Knights also bring a freshman guard into the mix in the form of Dylan Vaca.

“They’ll fill their roles as best they can and see some successes. This year, we’re going to have to be a team in every meaning of the word. That’s one thing I’ve really noticed, is we don’t necessarily have those go-to guys; they all work really well together,” Johnson said.

When it comes to the hierarchy of the NIB-12 and the odds of getting to a second conference title in three seasons, Johnson knows Kaneland must wade through several capable teams.

“DeKalb’s coming back with a really nice player in Andre Harris. Rochelle has their two guards that are very solid players. They’re good teams and are at the top of our league, and Yorkville did a really nice job last year,” Johnson said.

Action got underway on Wednesday at the Batavia Windmill Classic, with results unavailable as of press time against the hosts. The home opener is Friday, Nov. 30, against Morris, with the Knights once again making a stop at the Plano Christmas Classic, beginning on Saturday, Dec. 22.

Winter Sports Preview: Grapplers count on experienced core

in Wrestling by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Last year brought a handful of success for Kaneland High School wrestling.

In 2012-13, the Knights are looking for more good fortune than they are able to carry.

KHS improved its dual meet mark from the previous year to finish 11-12, and was fortunate to have a sizable postseason presence.

Three of those people return as seniors, including the sixth-best 106-pounder in the state, Stephen Gust, plus Dan Goress (138 pounds) and Esai Ponce (126).

Out of last year’s State qualifiers, Ben Kovalick is gone to graduation, but the returning personnel also includes wrestlers like senior Regional champ Zach Theis, as well as fellow Sectional qualifiers Connor Williams and Sonny Horn.

“Absolutely, these seniors are going to lead the way for us,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “We are going to need points anywhere we can, with us giving up some weights in dual meets. The senior guys take over the room.”

Not only do the senior guys provide talent and leadership, but the wrestlers also have an extra added bonus.

“We were able to get the football players in a little earlier than in the past two years. They are busting their butts right now,” Jahns said.

Additional members of the Knights crew who look to duplicate more positive success to build on include Dane Goodenough and Luke Kreiter.

With the third-place finish in the Northern Illinois Big XII tournament plus additional success as the postseason wore on, Jahns trusts the returning Knights to use those experiences for motivation.

“It makes a big difference to go toward a goal like that, and you include that going into this year and try to be as solid as you can,” Jahns said.

Kaneland will aim for another top-three finish, but has to battle other capable schools.

“Yorkville is pretty dominant even though they lost some seniors. Sycamore is always solid, but they lost a couple people, and you can’t count out DeKalb. This year, we need to get as many wins as we can in the upper and lower weights to make up for a couple forfeits, but the kids are doing what we ask them to do,” Jahns said.

Saturday, Nov. 24, brings the first test with a home quad meet against Burlington Central, Freeport and Wheaton-Warrenville South. The first NIB12 tussle is on Thursday, Nov. 29, at Sycamore.

Winter Sports Preview: Senior-laden KHS bowlers hope to lay hurt to pins

in Bowling by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Bowlers representing Kane-land High School are taking to the local lanes with a love of the sport.

For the 2012-13 season, the Lady Knight lineup benefits from a heavy presence of seniors in the journey.

Varsity seniors include Angela Charhut, Elissa Eckert, Anne Salerno, Amanda Strayve and Morgan Wojciechowski. They also get a lift from junior talent, as well.

“Christie Crews, a junior, is also back after recording the second-highest average on the team last year,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “We look to Christie and the seniors to lead the team this year. Charhut, Salerno, Strayve, and Wojciechowski can break loose with a high game at any time. Eckert, had varsity time last year and is looking good in practice this year.”

The Lady Knights are joined by sophomore teammate Dominique Lee, with new varsity additions Eckert and Lee being looked upon for big things.

“They both are showing remarkable consistency in practice, so we hope to see some good and consistent scores from them in competition, as well,” McKnight said.

Kaneland bowlers will need to bring that consistency to the lanes on meet day in order to improve on a 2-15 dual meet record from a year ago.

“The better they bowl, the more fun it is for them. It’s usually better to take it slowly when teaching them during the first few weeks,” McKnight said. “It takes time to make new friends and become comfortable playing the game. A good attitude is absolutely essential for instruction and enjoying the game in the short and long term.”

When it comes to the widescale Northern Illinois Big XII conference landscape, Kaneland is preparing to deal with tough forces in the group.

“Our conference is always highly competitive, and this year will be no exception. DeKalb, Sterling, Dixon, Streator and Morris should all be tough this year,” McKnight said. “In addition, Sycamore, Rochelle and Ottawa have the capabilities to roll some very high scores. It should be very interesting to see if any one school starts to dominate the conference. We’re in a position where we just hope we can be competitive.”

Kaneland already had a meet with fellow Mardi Gras Lanes tenant DeKalb on Tuesday, with results unavailable as of press time. The first home meet of the season takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 26, against Marengo.

Photos: Scoring some spaghetti

in Boys Basketball/Featured/Kaneland by

The Kaneland boys basketball program held it’s fourth annual spaghetti dinner on Nov. 15 at the high school cafeteria. Proceeds benefited the program, and the food was served by the basketball players. Marty Scialabba, 11 (right), gets his helping of food
during the dinner.


A group of kids make a party out
of the dinner by acting silly and
eating treats.

Photos by John DiDonna

Vanik takes 2nd at USAW Pre-Season Nationals

in Middle School/Wrestling by

Iowa—Riley Vanik of Sugar Grove nearly pulled off a championship victory in the USAW Pre-Season Nationals at the University of Northern Iowa inside the UNI-Dome Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Nov. 4.

The tournament drew 2,594 wrestlers from 38 states. Vanik entered the 152-pound weight bracket in the Seventh/Eighth-grade Middle School Division.

Because of Vanik’s performance the previous year, he earned a first-round bye in this year’s tournament. He took a tight match, 3-2, in his second-round opener.

Vanik found himself in another hard-fought battle in the next round, taking his Iowa opponent into overtime. He secured the 5-3 victory with just 19 seconds remaining in the overtime period.

He battled the eventual tournament champion into the second period, where he lost by pin, securing second place in the tournament.

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