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Winter Sports - page 14

Yorkville gets the best of Knight boys

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: Drew David makes a mad scramble for the ball during a 62-51 setback against Yorkville. The Foxes executed a regular season sweep of KHS. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—After a long drive to Streator led to victory earlier last week, Kaneland was looking to ride the victory bus against Yorkville right in its own backyard.

As it was, the Fox roundballers put Kaneland in a rut on Friday.

With Kaneland struggling on the offensive end for an important portion of the game, KHS fell 62-51 to Yorkville.

The regular season sweep by Yorkville over the host Knights sunk the Kaneland record to 15-9 with a 5-4 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII conference action.

Kaneland has gone 6-4 in its previous 10 battles this season, and has not lost two in a row at any point through 24 games.

Thomas Williams produced a game-high 20 points, while Marcel Neil added 10 of his own.

The Knights were in decent standing after the first quarter with a 13-all tie, but the points came at a high premium in the next two frames.

Yorkville went into the locker room up 30-18, and found itself ahead 44-26 after the third quarter

The Knight offense found another gear with 25 points in the fourth, but the onslaught was too late.

The sophomores came away with a 53-51 overtime win over Yorkville, as John Pruett had 16 points in the win.

The freshmen lost to Morris, 35-26 in the NIB-12 tournament.

Just one more regular season game remains for the Knights—a home battle against Rochelle on Friday, Feb. 24.

Kaneland, the number-one seed in the Class 3A Rochelle Regional, faces either Burlington Central or Sycamore on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m.

State of excellence: Wrestlers bring 4 to Champaign

in Featured/Wrestling by

Photo by John DiDonna: Ben Kovalick

by Mike Slodki
STERLING—You’d have to go back to 1994 to revisit the last time Kaneland High School wrestling had more than three State qualifiers.

Back then, the older set of the current crew would be wrestling in their cribs.

A year after Kyle Davidson and Jimmy Boyle earned State berths, Kaneland sends 106-pounder Stephen Gust, 126-pound Esai Ponce, 138-pounder Dan Goress and 220-pounder Ben Kovalick to the IHSA Individual State tournament in Champaign, Ill., at Assembly Hall.

A senior, Kovalick waded through a tough sectional group in Sterling on Thursday and Friday at the home of the Golden Warriors. Kovalick (35-5) disposed of Peoria Richwoods’ Keith King in three minutes, 16 seconds, then pinned Freeport’s Malique Johnson in 5:21 before edging Marmion’s Alex Fritz in a 2-1 affair. East Peoria’s Lucas Joseph win the 220-pound group with a 15-6 major decision.

“As a team, we’ve really been focusing on these last three weeks and it’s paid off,” Kovalick said, “All across the board there were some really talented guys in that weight class, but I got the draw that I wanted and I thought this year was definitely the year.”

Kovalick takes on Niles Notre Dame’s Ryan Walsk (28-9) in the first round.

Gust’s (27-7) sectional began with a 7-3 loss to Anthony Bosco of Marmion, but continued with a 5-3 win over Rock Island’s Tyler DeHaven, and then the junior took care of East Moline’s Jeronnie Steward in an 8-1 decision. Gust then got past Washington’s Austin Wileman, 2-0, before losing to Sterling’s Isaac Anderson in the third-place match, 7-2.

“We just came out and sent as many as we could downstate,” Gust said. “After Friday, I was pretty discouraged and I didn’t know what was to come on the second day and I just thought, ‘Let’s wrestle.’”

Gust takes on Montini Catholic’s Tommy Pawelski in the opening bout in Champaign.

In the 138-pound category, Goress (32-4) pinned Peoria Notre Dame’s Scott Bousek in 4:34 and beat Yorkville rival Brennan Sharp by 17-9 major decision before losing the final to Marmion’s Angelo Silvestro 9-5.

“I felt confident I could get it done and get in the finals,” the junior Goress said. “Last year, I made the mistake of overlooking opponents I had beaten before. This year I wasn’t making that mistake, everyone’s 0-0.”

Goress takes on Lemont’s Bobby Bromberek in the first round.

Ponce (39-5) dealt with the crowded sectional by beating Peoria’s Pedro Garcia in 3:33 and beat first-round bye recipient Chase Wiggins of Rock Island, 7-0. Ponce then lost to eventual champ George Fisher of Marmion 5-1, before advancing via injury default over Belvidere North’s Erik Nord.

“In the past, I knew I lost to kids I know I shouldn’t have,” Ponce. “That’s been one of my goals, to wrestle my best this season.”

Ponce has Lemont’s Jake Latanski in the first round in Champaign.

“It was a good match last time, but I lost, and I’m going to go out there and just wrestle the best I can, and I feel I’ve improved a lot since the beginning of my season.”

The 2A festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16, with preliminary matches.

Kaneland girls go into regionals on winning note

in Featured/Girls Basketball by

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.

Knight hoops splits vs. Nazareth, DeKalb

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: Thomas Williams gets fouled in the fourth quarter of Kaneland’s 65-55 win at DeKalb on Friday. Williams led all scorers with 21 points. Photo by John DiDonna

Neil contributes 19 in comeback win vs. Streator
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Sometimes the losses that befell a team can reveal positive qualities.

Despite the Knights falling behind by as much as 15 points at the end of the first quarter, Kaneland charged back against Nazareth Academy on Saturday afternoon and showed resolve before losing 54-49.

That setback came off the heels of a season sweep-inducing win in DeKalb on Friday night, 64-55.

Kaneland also took it to host Streator on Tuesday by a final of 53-41.

The Knights are now 15-8 with a 5-3 record in Northern Illinois Big XII conference tussles.

The Wheaton Academy Shootout affair in West Chicago had Kaneland outscore Nazareth in the final three quarters, but had trouble at times with inside threat Tyler Jackson, who scored 16 points in the post.

Marcel Neil had a game-high 17 points, followed by Matt Limbrunner’s 13 and Thomas Williams’ 10.

Down 22-7 after the first eight minutes, the Knights gradually adapted to the athletic adversary and made five shots in a row, cutting it down to 35-30 with 4:18 to go in the third quarter, thanks to a Limbrunner basket.

Drew David’s basket with 1:52 to go in the third closed the deficit to 37-35.

Nazareth Academy hit five of seven shots, but Kaneland’s Limbrunner converted an offensive putback to close to within 45-44 with 3:35 remaining.

Nazareth hit a three to make it 48-44. Later, Neil’s offensive putback with 3:01 to go made it 48-46, which would be as close as Kaneland would get for the rest of the contest.

Coach Brian Johnson saw a team that was still recovering from a hard-fought win the previous night, and did its best with a versatile lineup from LaGrange Park.

“That seven-footer is a tough player,” Johnson said. “He really intimidated our guys early, but as the game went on, they decided to take it to the bucket more and Marcel and Limbrunner really stayed strong.”

Taking on the Barbs for the first time in their Dresser Road digs, a 21-point effort from Williams and 10 apiece from Neil and Trever Heinle did the trick.

The Knights took a 21-18 lead after one but saw the lead flip to a 31-30 DeKalb edge at the half.

Kaneland’s prolific output in the third gave the visitors a 54-48 lead before holding firm in the fourth quarter.

DeKalb fell victim to a 22-for-30 night from Kaneland on the foul line.

Taking on the Streator Bulldogs of the West Division, Kaneland was buoyed by Neil’s 19 points, a game-high. The former West Aurora product was the only Knight in double figures. Kaneland went 17-for-31 from the foul line.

KHS was up 9-8 after one but fell behind 22-19 at the half. The Knights climbed back within 35-34 before dominating the fourth.

KHS is slated to battle the visiting Yorkville Foxes in the penultimate regular season battle on Friday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m.

Wrestling sends seven to Sterling Sectional

in Featured/Wrestling by

Photo: Sonny Horn won his first match with a pin against Burlington Central during the IHSA DeKalb Regional on Saturday. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
DEKALB—When it comes time for postseason wrestling, a preferred mentality is “survive and advance.”

For KHS, it’s seven of its grapplers that put that mode of thinking to use and will live to pin another day.

At Saturday’s DeKalb Regional, the 2A grouping saw Kaneland finish third with 119 points, thanks to a couple of regional crowns to go along with second- and third-place finishes.

Sycamore’s 178-point total was king of the regional, allowing a sectional berth, while DeKalb was second with 145.5 points.

Rounding out the top five in the eight-team regional were Burlington Central with 109 and Belvidere North with 85 points of its own.

The two Knights claiming regional titles were heavyweight Zach Theis and 138-pound entry Dan Goress.

For Kaneland, the junior Theis continued Kaneland heavyweight fortune staked by graduate Jimmy Boyle and won the group with a pinfall in four minutes, 37 seconds over Rockford East’s Michael Estergard.

“Zach and Jimmy have a similar wrestling style,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “Theis is a bit bigger, about four inches taller and there’s not much difference in their footwork.”

Meanwhile, Goress, a junior, snagged his second consecutive regional nod with a 12-3 major decision victory over DeKalb senior Jacob Sommer in the final.

In the 220-pound final, senior Ben Kovalick lost to Sycamore’s Matt Copple in :43, but still moves on to Saturday’s action.

Stephen Gust secured a third-place finish in the 106-pound category after edging Belvidere’s Alex Ramirez by a 2-1 decision.

Teammate Connor Williams’ third place came as a result of a 7-5 win over Belvidere North’s Psalm Fambro in the 113-pound clash.

KHS 126-pound cornerstone Esai Ponce continued his strong season with a third-place win over Burlington Central’s Jon Wright by pinfall in 2:57.

Sonny Horn punched his ticket to Sterling, Ill., with a 12-4 major decision win to earn third place over Sycamore’s Zach Munro.

The next stop for Kaneland is the Sterling Sectional on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Bowling season comes to an end at DeKalb

in Bowling by

by Mike Slodki
DEKALB—Postseason action is ripe to provide unlikely performances leading to a sectional berth.

Unfortunately for the roster of Kaneland High School bowlers, that good fortune went to select other squads.

KHS competed gamely in a 19-team logjam out at its home turf of Mardi Gras Lanes off of Route 23 in DeKalb.

With 4,321 pins dethroned, Kaneland finished 13th overall, with no individuals having a high enough total to advance.

Kaneland outbowled Barrington High School by 58 pins. Meanwhile, DeKalb took the sectional title with 5,830 pins, followed by Marengo with 5,799—both punching their tickets to the State final in Rockford, Ill. Jacobs just missed a berth by 93 pins. Northern Illinois Big XII counterpart Sycamore took eighth with 4,887.

The top three individuals were DeKalb’s Savanna Myers with 1,288 pins, followed by St. Charles East’s Katherine Sulaitis’ 1,281 and Becca Czlapinski of Marengo with 1,267.

Kaneland’s totals were highlighted by Christie Crews’ 896 day total, with series of 413 and 483, as well as Angela Charhut with an 893 day total, thanks to series of 455 and 438.

The top game of the sectional for Kaneland was Crews’ 183 in the p.m. session.

The final regular season clash took place in the form of a matchup on Feb. 1 in Lisle against the host Lady Lions.

The Lady Knights’ 2,400 was short of Lisle’s 2,697.

Kaneland finished with a dual mark of 2-15 for the 2011-12 season.

For KHS, top series were bowled by Seleana Isaacs with a 479 total, followed by a 410 from Ellissa Eckert. Top games were bowled by Isaacs at 170 and Eckert at 157.

With the conclusion of the season, Kaneland bowling says goodbye to seniors Isaacs, and JV members Alex Hornback and Madi Bluml, part of an JV squad that finished 11-7.

Knight boys take pitfall vs. Sycamore

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: Drew David drives with determination against Sycamore defenders. Kaneland lost at home against Sycamore 51-42. Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—There shall be no sweep of the Spartans in 2012.

Dealing with a double-digit lead at halftime, Kaneland fell victim to playing catch-up ball and found itself on the wrong end of a 51-42 result against the visiting Spartans on Saturday afternoon.

The lone game of the week had Kaneland drop to 13-7 on the season, with a 4-3 record in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play.

The game was in stark contrast to the 70-42 win on Dec. 10, 2011, in Sycamore.

Marcel Neil supplied a game-high 14 points, despite being on the losing end.

KHS was also stung by a 6-for-14 shooting night at the foul line, compared to 16-for-23 by Sycamore.

Sycamore went on top early, 14-7, before expanding the lead by the halftime buzzer to 24-14.

The margin remained steadfast at 34-24 by the end of the third, before Kaneland’s offense came alive in the fourth, but it only served to bring the deficit to nine.

The sophomores lost their battle with Sycamore by a 52-42 clip. Tyler Carlson had 15 points.

A full week greets the Knights varsity contingent with a trip to DeKalb on Friday, Feb. 10, a jaunt to the Wheaton Academy Shootout on Saturday, Feb. 11, and a drive to Streator on Tuesday, Feb. 14, for some NIB-12 hoops.

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

in Featured/Girls Basketball by

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.

Seed of success

in Girls Basketball by

Last week brought a bit of good news for Kaneland girls basketball.

But KHS coach Ernie Colombe stresses the “bit” part.

With the news handed down at the end of last week that Kaneland earned the number one seed in the approaching Yorkville Regional, Colombe acknowledges the hard work put into the season and the program as a whole by the girls, but says the group can’t be satisfied.

“I’m happy for the kids, but we’re not settling. We’re spending time talking about the last few games of the regular season,” Colombe said.

For KHS girls hoops, this marks the first time that the girls have been the high seed in a regional group since 2006, when the 22-win juggernaut led by Lyndsie Long, Jessica Lund, and current Lady Knights assistant coach Kelsey Flanagan earned the four-seed in the sectional, only to be upset by an East Aurora squad on Feb. 14, 2006, 46-40.

“I’ve been happy with the progress we’re making. We took this on as a goal to build the program and win at all levels,” Colombe said.

With six years cemented on his KHS coaching tenure, Colombe believes it goes all the way from the top down, and earliest to current.

“It’s kind of interesting, because it’s girls like Emily Heimerdinger and Andie Strang that maybe didn’t get the wins, but set a tone with their hard work,” Colombe said.

With Kaneland set to face the winner of four-seed IMSA and five-seed Sandwich on Wednesday, Feb. 15, the groundwork is being laid even now.

“If we’re not playing, we’re scouting. Tom (Dillavan) and Kelsey are out scouting games and gathering as much information as possible,” Colombe said.

If KHS beats either IMSA or Sandwich, it’s a date with two-seed Yorkville or three-seed Rosary in the Yorkville Regional title match on Thursday, Feb. 16.

“Well, we have to get there first,” Colombe said. “We caught Yorkville on a bad night and it came when we were firing on all cylinders. Rosary plays a very tough schedule with Montini, St. Edward and Aurora Central Catholic. We have to take care of our own business and perform at a high level.”

Lady Knights roundball (14-8, 5-2) drops pair

in Featured/Girls Basketball by

Photo: Lady Knight Kelly Evers (34) gets to the ball before DeKalb’s Taylor White during Tuesday’s loss to DHS. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—While Kaneland girls basketball has reached regular season heights not seen in quite some time, sometimes plateaus are hit.

Such was the case this past week of competition for the Lady Knights, as they fell to host Geneseo in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference action by a 32-14 clip, and trekked to DeKalb, where they lost 46-31 on Tuesday.

The two-game slide brought KHS down to 14-8 (5-2 NIB-12).

With the minor slide, the Lady Knights failed to add on to a four-game win streak, which has now been accomplished twice in 2011-12—the first instance taking shape in Kaneland’s 4-0 start to the campaign.

With three games remaining in the regular season and two conference games left, Kaneland is two games back of DeKalb’s spotless conference record. The Lady Barbs are 19-4.

Tuesday’s final saw Allyson O’Herron lead the way with nine points. Kaneland was plagued by less-than-stellar shooting from the field, going just nine-for-29, although the Lady Knights did go 14-for-20 from the free throw line.

KHS was down 9-8 after one, while seeing the halftime deficit increase to 24-14. DeKalb enjoyed a 32-20 lead after three before the final eight minutes of play.

Sophomores improved to 16-5 with a 34-27 win over DeKalb, while the freshman finished 19-2 with a 37-24 win over Morris on Monday.

It pays to pin: Kaneland grapplers edge Batavia

in Featured/Wrestling by

Photo: Knight Esai Ponce tries to leverage Batavia’s Kamran Khamissi during Friday’s 31-30 mat win. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—A roller coaster of emotions set upon the Kaneland wrestling mat at the end of Friday evening’s clash between the Knights and Batavia.

But with the tiebreaker rule of most pins going the way of the black-and-white, Kaneland’s trajectory toward postseason fortune is on a straight line.

Despite Batavia getting a pin to end competition and tie matters at 30 apiece, the pin edge went to Kaneland, giving the Knights a 31-30 win.

The regular season ended on a high note and closed the dual meet mark for KHS at 11-12, an improvement over a year ago.

Coach Monty Jahns will take all the good news he can get, with Kaneland and Batavia always good for action.

“I’m looking for big things, and the kids are wrestling well. Our goal is to win, but we see Sycamore again in a week and other teams we’ve met, and they’re tough,” Jahns said.

Batavia went out to an early 24-4 lead before Kaneland scored 26 straight points.

The 106-pound match went Stephen Gust’s way via technical fall over Matt Patton. Teammate Connor Williams handled business in the 113-pound match by an 8-6 tally.

Esai Ponce won his 126-pound match over Kamran Khamissi in 3:10, but it could have easily gone Batavia’s way had Ponce not cleverly kept his balance.

“A lot of the times, it’s not just one move it comes down to,” Ponce said. “If one move doesn’t work, you have to keep going.”

Sonny Horn won the 132-pound match by 10-6 decision, and teammate Dan Goress won his 138-pound match by 9-4 clip.

Senior cornerstone Ben Kovalick won a major decision over Connor McKeehan 10-0 in the 220-pound match.

KHS now heads to the DeKalb individual regional on Saturday, Feb. 4. Teams accompanying Kaneland are Belvidere, Belvidere North, Burlington Central, DeKalb, Boylan Catholic of Rockford, Rockford East and Sycamore.

IMSA bests KHS bowling

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AURORA—A chance to string together another late January win over rival IMSA was not to be for KHS bowling.

While the Lady Knights were able to take care of Geneva and IMSA in late-season matchups a year ago, the second half of the equation didn’t go Kaneland’s way in 2012, with the Lady Titans winning on Thursday by a final of 2,620-2,506.

With one more regular season lane tussle remaining, the Kaneland troops needed to beat host Lisle in a meet scheduled for Wednesday in order to match their win total from a year ago.

The loss brought KHS down to 2-14 through the first 16 meets of the season.

Encouraging for the DeKalb sectional on Saturday, Feb. 4: the Lady Knights’ last two cumulative totals of 2,506 and 2,596 (win over Geneva) have been the second and third highest totals of the season, thus far. The highest total occurred in an early season loss in Sterling on Nov. 29, 2011.

Boys conquer home floors of Rochelle, Geneseo

in Boys Basketball by


Photo: Marcel Neil takes the route less travelled during Friday’s 60-56 comeback win in the land of the Hubs. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Last year’s Northern Illinois Big XII Conference East division champions are playing at quite the competitive level.

That piece of aggravating news is not exactly, what future opponents wished to hear, and it’s what foes Rochelle and Geneseo experienced first-hand this weekend.

With a 60-56 comeback win in Rochelle on Friday, followed by a two-hour trip west on Interstate 88 and a 55-46 win in Geneseo, the Knights currently sit at 13-6 (4-2 NIB-12). Kaneland is now in the midst of a three-game win streak, and has won seven of its last 10 contests.

The past two years at this time, the Knights have been 11-8.

The last two contests between the Knights and Hubs featured an energized battle for conference supremacy in Ogle County in February 2011, and a 16-point comeback win on the Knights floor the month prior.

This time, it was Drew David leading the way for Kaneland against the Hubs with 17 points, followed by Marcel Neil with 13, Thomas Williams with 12 and Dan Miller with 10.

Rochelle went on top early with an 18-15 edge after one quarter, and increased the lead to 32-27 at halftime, before staking out a 43-37 lead after three.

With a 23-13 in the fourth, KHS emerged victorious.

The Knights were also helped by the foul line advantage, going 14-for-17 from the charity stripe. Rochelle was just 1-for-3.

At the home of the Maple Leafs, Kaneland once again found balanced scoring in the form of Tyler Heinle’s 13, Matt Limbrunner’s 10 and David’s 10.

Kaneland also benefited from five three-pointers—three from Heinle and two from David.

KHS went out to a 15-12 lead, and stifled the Maple Leafs on the way to a 27-19 lead at the break.

In the third, Kaneland extended its lead to 42-27 before Geneseo closed the gap somewhat.

“We are lucky to have a really balanced scoring attack,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “Not a single player on the team feels as if they need to ‘get theirs’ when it comes to scoring. Our players are very unselfish and truly put the team first. They have a knack of getting the ball to the hot hand and to the right person during those late-game situations.”

Underclass action this week featured Kaneland sophomores beating Geneseo 57-34 and Rochelle 73-53.

Kaneland freshman fell to Morris 39-26 in the “A” tussle and 38-34 in the “B” game.

The next varsity task is Sycamore coming to town on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Ottawa stops Kaneland on lanes

in Bowling by

KANELAND—Not even snow and hazardous travel conditions from a week prior could delay the end result of Thursday’s Kaneland-Ottawa bowling matchup.

Finally making it out for the Northern Illinois Big XII crossover matchup, the Lady Knights (2-13) fell to their Pirate counterparts by a 2,854-2,596 margin.

For KHS, the high series were bowled by Angela Charhut at 476 and Christie Crews at 447. Meanwhile, top games were had by Charhut with 181 and 171, and Anne Salerno’s 166.

In JV happenings, the Kaneland girls lost 2,385-2,288.

Also occurring this past week was the second annual Northern Illinois Big XII Conference meet, hosted by Sterling High School.

Kaneland finished in 10th place with a pin total of 4,985 pins felled. Morris, with 6,528, took the conference crown, while DeKalb finished second at 6,385 and Sterling third at 6,380.

Crews had high game, while Amanda Strayve and Elissa Eckert had high series.

The varsity bowlers head to IMSA in Aurora on Thursday, Jan. 26, where they picked up a late season win a year ago.

Anne Salerno has emerged as a bright spot for the Lady Knights, tallying series total of
1,319 pins in Kaneland’s last three encounters.

KHS wrestlers take third at NIB-12

in Wrestling by

Gust, Goress secure conference bragging rights
STERLING—If looking for incremental improvements that could go a long way, look at this year’s Northern Illinois Big XII conference meeting.

The Knights finished fourth as a team in the inaugural meet a year ago. This year, behind steady performances from a handful of Knights, Kaneland finished third with 164 team points, just two ahead of DeKalb High School.

Sycamore was crowned NIB-12 champs with 222.5 points, followed by Yorkville at 220. Rounding out the top five was LaSalle-Peru at 117.

Kaneland can boast 103-pound rep Stephen Gust as a conference champ with a 4-0 win over DeKalb counterpart Jackson Montgomery. Gust got to the finals with a 5-1 effort over Rochelle’s TC Hager.

Joining Gust on the first-place perch was teammate Dan Goress, who took the 138-pound class with a 13-6 win over Dixon’s Zach Lehman. Goress entered the final after beating Sycamore’s Thomas Ernster 9-2.

Making it to the finals was KHS junior Esai Ponce, who pinned Tyler Hermann of LaSalle-Peru in one minute, 23 seconds before losing 14-7 to DeKalb’s Doug Johnson in the final.

Ben Kovalick made it to the 220-pound final by virtue of a pin with 13 seconds left over Ottawa’s Cyrano Rayfield, and dropped a 7-3 match to Sycamore’s Matt Copple to end the day.

The regular season concludes with a home matchup vs. old rival Batavia on Friday, Jan. 27.

Boys stifle Pirate attack in Saturday win

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Tyler Heinle (32) (above) goes up high for a shot in the fourth quarter of Kaneland’s 59-40 home win against Ottawa on Saturday. Ready for a rebound are Thomas Williams (24) and Dan Miller (22). Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—KHS boys hoops posted a win on Saturday evening—a nice change from a hard loss the week prior to Morris.

With balanced scoring and home court advantage, the Knights took care of Northern Illinois Big XII West Division opponent Ottawa by a final of 59-40. The positive result raises Kaneland’s mark to 11-6 (3-2 NIB-12).

With Marcel Neil’s game-high 12 points and Tyler Heinle’s 10, Kaneland achieved its second-straight win over the Pirates, this after a 45-38 comeback win on Ottawa’s floor a year ago.

Kaneland led 11-7 after one and 25-22 at the halftime break. The margin increased to 42-33 and put the cinch on for the fourth quarter as the lead increased.

The Adam Wickness-coached sophomores also handled Ottawa with a 57-41 win, with Tyler Carlson supplying 18 points.

The sophomores are now 12-4.

In freshman action, the Knights took on Aurora Central Catholic on Thursday with the “A” side winning 34-30, and the “B” team falling 45-36.

Knight varsity hardcourt time continues on Friday, Jan. 28, in Rochelle—the site of last year’s conference clinching win.

Kaneland girls drill Bulldogs, Indians

in Featured/Girls Basketball by

Photo: Ernie Colombe gathers the troops during a timeout in the midst of Kaneland’s 41-27 win over Lemont on Tuesday. The Lady Knights are enjoying a 14-6 record through 20 games. Photo by Patti Wilk

Lady Knights secure first winning record since 05-06
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Looks like the KHS girls basketball crew can get used to this modified schedule.

Much like last week’s snowstorm forced the Lady Knights into an extra day of rest only to come back with a win in Morris, Kaneland’s scheduled contest on Friday was shelved and the action continued on Saturday afternoon vs. Streator.

KHS handed the crossover foe Bulldogs a 60-22 shellacking, and followed that win with a 41-27 win against visiting Lemont, and improved its record to 14-6, and 5-1 in the Northern Illinois Big XII.

With five games remaining in the 2011-12 regular season, the Lady Knights have eclipsed last year’s win total and clinched the program’s first winning record since 2005-06, and the first in coach Ernie Colombe’s six-season tenure.

On Saturday, the defense forced the visiting Lady Bulldogs into 40 turnovers and 27 percent shooting, while 23 steals supplanted the effort, as well. Allyson O’Herron and Brooke Harner led the squad with five each.

Despite shooting 21-of-61 from the field and 14-of-24 from the foul line, Kaneland was the recipient of a supremely balanced scoring attack. Alli Liss had a game-high 14 and Ashley Prost had 10 points and five boards.

Kaneland led 19-8 after a quarter of play and clamped down on the visitors once again to have a comfortable 34-11 lead at the half. The margin was upped to 46-17 after the third quarter.

Meanwhile, the sophomores (14-4) had an easy time against Streator with a 42-6 win. Sydney Strang had 15 points.

Freshmen girls beat Yorkville on Monday, 43-35, and handled DeKalb on Thursday, 33-19, to improve to 16-2 on the year.

On Tuesday, Prost contributed a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards.

Despite the Indians storming to a 7-0 lead, Kaneland closed to within 8-5 by the end of the quarter.

Kaneland’s 10 steals came in handy the rest of the contest, with plenty of breakaway opportunities and crisp passing producing success.

Down 13-11 in the second frame, Kaneland’s Marina Schaefer’s baseline jumper and Aly Harner’s three-pointer in the last 66 seconds gave Kaneland a 16-13 edge at the break.

In the third, Prost and Brooke Harner hit baskets to go up 27-15 with 1:48 to go, but Lemont closed to within 27-19 by the end of the half.

Cutting the lead to 29-23, Lemont had Kanreland reeling until a 9-0 run keyed by an Bradford pass to Prost made it 38-23 with 2:30 to go.

“We all just tried to put a lot of pressure on them,” Bradford said about the effort on both sides of the floor. “We wanted to force turnovers, and we were really getting into their guards’ heads.”

Ahead for the varsity group is a trip to Maple Leaf country to face Geneseo on Saturday, Jan. 28.

Kaneland wrestlers own Flott Invite

in Featured/Wrestling by

Photo: Senior Ben Kovalick goes for the win in his match on Friday. Kaneland emerged with a 38-36 dual win in NIB-12 action.
Photo by Patti Wilk

KHS surge highlighted by 1st place, plus win vs. Morris
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—A recent seasonal trend with Kaneland wrestling is an uphill climb at first, but once Kaneland gets tournaments under its belt and conference season hits the homestretch, things look better.

It’s no different this year.

A marquee Friday evening matchup against rival Morris yielded a close 38-36 win over the Redskins, while Saturday’s annual Margaret Flott Memorial Tournament showed a first-place effort for the Knights, their third in a row for the gathering.

The Knights have now eclipsed last year’s dual win total, and sit at 10-12, with the IHSA Class 2A Regional taking place in just over two weeks.

“To have seven wrestlers even get into the finals and having every one of them win says a lot about their drive and determination at this point in the season,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said.

Against the Redskins, Luke Kreiter earned a decision victory over Morris’ AJ Vota by a 9-7 clip.

Kaneland’s Esai Ponce stuck a pin in :57 over Brandon Walker. Teammate Dan Goress took the 138-pound matchup with a 21-6 technical fall.

In the 152-pound meeting, Knight Zach Russell pinned Kyle Abney in 3:03, and 170-pounder Austin Brummel won his matchup via 3:21 pinfall.

Ben Kovalick staked his claim to the 220-pound category with a 1:20 pin on Dalton Ness, while Zach Theis conquered John Guistat in 46 seconds for the heavyweight bragging rights.

The Flott Memorial Tournament, hosted by Kaneland, provided some home mat advantage in the form of seven first places and a 163-point total for the Knights, just four points better than Burlington Central. Addison Trail took third with 143 points in the 10-team clash.

Sonny Horn defeated Rochelle’s Josh Ankeny in overtime, 6-4, then beat Larkin’s Joshua Brooks in a 4:12 tech fall before beating BC’s Jordan Fillmore in a 16-4 major decision for the 132-pound crown.

Goress beat BC’s Andrew Brown in 1:44, beat Addison Trail’s Koani Smith in a technical fall outcome and beat Prairie Central’s Evan Bahler in an 8-3 meeting for the 138-pound nod.

Knight Steven Hlatko was declared champion of the 195-pound group after beating Rochelle’s Tyler Voegler, 5-1, and beating Ottawa’s Alex Fuentes, 7-2.

Kovalick shelved Ottawa’s Cyrano Rayfield in 1:48 and Rochelle’s Logan Sutton in a 4-2 final.

Theis beat Marian Central Catholic’s Scott Taylor in 4:59 and Devontate Joshua of Larkin with :14 left in regulation before handling Danny Robles of Addison Trail in 1:10 in finals action.

Connor Williams took the 113-pound mantle with a 3:32 fall over Larkin’s Tyler Vonnessen and a 13-8 win over Addison Trail’s Jake Plekavic.

Ponce took the 126-pound grouping by shutting out Rochelle’s Joe Goshko 5-0, and then outlasting Prairie Central’s Ben Traub, 6-2.

The ‘82 crew

in Wrestling by


On Friday, Kaneland High School honored the 1982 wrestling team before the varsity match against Morris. The team had a record of 16 wins and only 6 losses, with five of those losses being by eight points or less. Pictured are (L to R) Gary Baum, Kevin Callaghan, Coach Terry McCoy, Tom Medernach, Roger Stockl, Greg Stockl and Coach Joe Thorgesen. Not Pictured: Mike Castello, Pat Rink, Chuck Hare, Mike Krider, Don Flynn, Reagan Mack, Dan Vicars, Kent Goff, Tom Sauber, Joel Huggins, Jeff Apgar, Todd Michels, Mike Hooey and Coach Jim Butler. Photo by Patti Wilk

Rochelle tops Kaneland bowlers

in Bowling/Featured by

Photo: Madi Bluml launches on the lane during Kaneland’s JV win over Rochelle on Tuesday. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—After a Thursday snowfall shelved Kaneland’s meeting in Ottawa, the Lady Knights took to the lanes on Saturday as part of the IMSA Invite, and on Tuesday when they hosted Rochelle.

Outscoring teams like Chicago outfit St. Ignatius, the Lady Knights (2-12) got some valuable time out on the lanes before heading into Tuesday’s home finale against Rochelle, where Kaneland was edged 2,590-2,452.

In IMSA, bowlers were grouped according to season average, and KHS was treated to a first place in division 7 by Angela Charhut, a second place by Amanda Strayve in division 6 and a first place for Seleana Isaacs in division 6.

Isaacs had high game for the day at 214 and high series in 508.

Taking on the Hubs for Senior Night, the Lady Knights took solace in a 458 series from Anne Salerno and a 448 series from Strayve.

High game was bowled by Salerno at 177.

Senior Isaacs thinks the overall game for the Lady Knights is improving, and felt no added pressure on her last home matchup.

“I tried not to let it mess me up and just tried to focus on the game,” Isaacs said. “I tried not to worry about it. I think we’re getting better throughout the year slowly, and aren’t losing by as much. We just want to be consistent with the regional coming up.”

Kaneland’s JV squad earned a 2,230-1,957 win over its Hub counterpart.

KHS was scheduled to travel to Ottawa on Thursday, Jan. 21, for a snow makeup date.

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