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Winter Sports - page 6

End game

in Girls Basketball by

Photo: Sophomore Camri Conley and the Lady Knights dispatched hosted Plano on Feb. 19 regional semifinal, but fell to rival Sycamore in the final 40-20 on Friday. Photo by Ben Draper

Lady Knights finish 14-15 after Plano Regional final loss
PLANO—For the span of the second quarter on Friday night, the Lady Knights looked like they could pull off a sizable comeback and regional final win over Sycamore.

Then the bottom fell out of the court.

A 14-2 comeback spurt spanning the second and third quarter, which tied the game at 18-all, gave way to a 20-0 run by Sycamore to finish the third frame.

Kaneland was unable to recover and fell to the No. 1 seed Lady Spartans, 40-20, ending their season in the Plano Regional.

The loss came just six days after a 40-35 win on Kaneland’s Senior Night.

After the win over No. 3 Kaneland, Sycamore was ousted by Burlington Central in the Belvidere Sectional semifinal on Monday evening. BC was scheduled to play Rockford Lutheran in the sectional final.

Kaneland’s 2013-14 campaign ended at 14-15 and won five of its last seven, after two consecutive years of winning records. In a positive development for KHS girls basketball, the Lady Knights were able to get back to a regional final after a one-point loss to Plano in the Burlington Central Regional semi of a year ago.

To some measure, KHS earned a bit of hoops of revenge last Wednesday with a 43-27 win over No. 2 Plano, which finished at 14-15.

Against Sycamore, the Lady Knights were just 7-of-38 from the field the entire game, including an 0-for-22 slide to finish the game after Ally Van Bogaert’s game-tying three-pointer in the third. Van Bogaert and Morgan Weber had five points each to lead the Lady Knights. Sycamore was paced by Morgan Picolotti’s 11.

The first quarter had the Lady Knights down 9-2 after the first eight minutes, and Kaneland fell behind 16-4 with 4:28 to go in the second quarter.

A Kelly Wallner foul shot, followed by a Caroline Heimerdinger three, a Wallner basket, a Weber trifecta and an Amber Winquist-Bailey bucket off a Heimerdinger steal, closed it to 18-15 just before the half.

After the Van Bogaert three just 20 seconds into second-half play tied the score, Sycamore went 6-for-8 during third quarter play and added a foul shot to complete the 20-0 run. Marina Schaefer would end up converting the final points of the season for Kaneland on two foul shots with 2:47 to go that closed the deficit to 38-20.

“Overall, we were pretty happy with our defense. We held them to 40 points and Bailey Gilbert to five. I thought we played our butts off on defense, but we couldn’t hit a shot. One out of 22 in the second half, you’re not going to beat many people,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said.

In the semifinal against Plano, things went more swimmingly for KHS, with 13 points from Wallner and nine from Heimerdinger. Equally as key was holding 6-foot-3 center Clarisa Martinez, a 1,000-point scorer for the Lady Reapers, to just eight points. Kaneland was 13-for-49 from the field and 14-for-22 from the foul line.

“We were pretty happy, defensively,” Colombe said. “(Martinez) is a load down there, and we had a couple of cold spells on offense, and it’s tough to play against her because she alters a lot of shots.”

Leading Plano 15-11 after one, Kaneland used quick offense and backcourt play to keep Plano’s frontcourt out of rhythm. A Heimerdinger trey made it 19-14 with 3:21 left in the half. Another three by Heimerdinger and a basket by Wallner with 2:03 left in the half made it 24-14 before a late Plano basket cemented Kaneland’s halftime lead at eight.

Heimerdinger’s long-range game was enough to give the Lady Knights a boost.

“It was good in the first-half, I guess,” Heimerdinger said. “I was looking to see if I had a little bit of room, but I was mostly looking to get it inside.”

A Schaefer basket down low with 25.2 ticks left in the frame meant a 31-21 edge going into the fourth quarter. Schaefer and Bailey Crimmins were responsible for the only field goals of the fourth quarter. With 3:21 to go, Martinez fouled out, effectively ending a Plano comeback bid.

With the Sycamore loss, the Lady Knights say goodbye to six seniors: Wallner, Heimerdinger, Winquist-Bailey, Schaefer, Brittany Kemp and Katie Brinkman.

“They set a great tone for the kids coming up,” Colombe said. “Probably the thing we’re most proud of is how they acted as teammates.”

Sports recap

in Boys Basketball by

Sophomore Boys Basketball
Feb. 19 vs. Geneva—It was a tough night at KHS, with the sophomores falling 53-29 to visiting Geneva. Jack Marczuk led the way with 12 points, while Tanner Robertsen supplied six and Mitchel Groen had five.

Feb. 21 at Morris—The Knights bounced back in Morris Friday, and improved their sparkling NIB-12 Conference record to 8-1 with a 57-48 win over the Redskins. Marczuk led the way with 16 points, followed closely by Robertsen’s 15 and Mark Lilly’s 13. Kevin Fajardo had seven and Groen had six points, as the Knights improved their overall record to 18-6. Next up, the Knights host DeKalb Friday night 5:30 p.m.

Just one try for Justin

in Wrestling by

Heavyweight Knight’s opening match his only one as part of State field
CHAMPAIGN, ILL.—There would be no repeat performance for KHS wrestling in 2014’s version of the State tournament.

On the State Farm Center mats on the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign, Ill., the Kaneland presence didn’t include an individual state title, like Dan Goress at 145 pounds a year ago.

However, the Knights still boast a state qualifier in heavyweight senior and future Indiana State Sycamore Justin Diddell, now by definition one of the top 16 285-pounders in Class 2A.

Diddell, who was a first-time qualifier, finished his 2013-14 campaign with a record of 32-9 after a Friday first-round loss to Taylorville competitor Blake Hooper. Hooper bested Diddell 3-2, and was the eventual sixth-place finisher at 285.

The finals of the heavyweight field came when Highland’s Tanner Farmer beat Montini Catholic’s Michael Johnson with a pinfall in 2:25.

Lone Knight Diddell had originally advanced to State thanks to a second-place finish at the Pontiac Sectional, while teammate Austin Parks was the next-best finisher for Kaneland in the 160-pound field at fifth.

A year ago, the Knights sent Goress, Stephen Gust, Esai Ponce and Zach Theis, Diddell’s predecessor, to the Champaign dance.

With the end of the 2013-14 season in the books, Kaneland says goodbye to seniors Brian Endrenal, Cullen Murray, Dane Goodenough, Jonathan Terry, Diddell, Kegan Workman, Sam Madriz and Zach Russell.

Encouraging for the Knight attack is the potential return of the remaining eight sectional qualifiers in juniors Nick and Adam Mish, freshman Matthew Redman, freshman Riley Vanik, sophomore George Strang, Parks, junior Tom Price and sophomore Zack Parker.

Inaugural Day and Knight event raises over $5,000

in Boys Basketball/Kaneland by

KANELAND—On Feb. 15, nearly 1,000 basketball players and fans filled the gym at Kaneland High School as the boys basketball held its inaugural Day and Knight of Basketball to benefit Wounded Warrior Project. Varsity and sophomore basketball programs from Hillcrest, North Chicago, St. Charles North, Peoria Richwoods and Larkin (Elgin) joined the Knights in thrilling the crowd with galactic three-pointers, stifling defense and thundering slam-dunks.

Most important, the event celebrated our nation’s veterans as proceeds went to Wounded Warrior Project to honor and empower wounded veterans.

“It was a really special event. In addition to great basketball action and bringing the community together, we celebrated veterans and recognized those who serve. This is an important lesson to reinforce with the players, parents and fans. Thanks to the volunteers and sponsors that made it happen,” said KHS head coach Brian Johnson.

More than 100 sponsors—businesses and individuals—made the event possible. Net contributions of more than $5,000 dollars will go to Wounded Warrior project. And the event website will remain open and accept donations – https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/individual-fundraising/hoopsforheroes.

The event organizers plan to hold the second annual event in February 2015.

A better State

in Wrestling by

Diddell powers through for lone Knight Champaign berth
KANELAND—Pontiac’s Class 2A Sectional can dampen the dreams of most any wrestler wishing to advance to the individual State tournament this weekend.

Fortunately for Kaneland High School, the wrestling dream remains alive for one.

Heavyweight contender Justin Diddell was the lone Knight to make it through the Pontiac gathering to become the 285-pound runner-up.

“I just knew I had to wrestle my hardest every step of the way,” Diddell said. “I had great friends there backing me up that weren’t even wrestling, which helped a lot with the nervousness and calming me down. Then I had to go through two honorable mention kids to make it into the finals.”

Six other Knights’ seasons were stopped in their tracks after tournament action.

In 2012-13, three Knights made it, including 145-pound State champ Dan Goress.

At 32-9, Diddell, bound for I-AA Indiana State for football, is set to face Taylorville entry Blake Hooper at 36-5, according to brackets released on Sunday.

Hot off capturing a Belvidere Regional title the previous week for the third-place Knights, Diddell got down to business with a quarterfinal win over Pontiac’s Andrew Mays in 2:59. In the semifinals, the Kaneland rep took a pinfall over Peoria Notre Dame’s Dom Tudor with 34 seconds remaining in regulation.

The final brought sectional glory for Diddell, despite the loss in 2-1 fashion to Geneseo’s Nick Verbeck.

At 113 pounds, Adam Mish lost in the consolation second round by 9-3 decision to Lincoln-Way West Larry Cozzo. In the 145-pound consolation bracket, Knight Riley Vanik was defeated by Dixon’s Kylian Lally by 12-4 major decision to see his season end. At 152 pounds, George Strang was ousted by Belvidere’s KC Pavlak by 5-0 count in the consolation second round. In 160-pound action, Knight Austin Parks defeated Morton’s Kartal Bakirdan by 10-0 major decision, but lost in the semi to eventual State-goer Rigo Fraire of Sandwich by 3:45 pinfall. 170-pound transfer Tom Price got a 6-0 win over Scott Schulte, but lost in the consolation semifinal to Crete-Monee’s Brandon Hannigan, 6-3. At 182 pounds, Zach Parker saw his season end by 10-3 decision to Sterling’s William Canales.

While the entire 2A field is, by definition, great, Diddell views everyone on somewhat equal footing.

“This is the first time I’ve qualified, and I’ve been wrestling since my sophomore year. If you just get in, you have an equal shot because everybody can be beat. Nobody is a God,” Diddell said.

The State tournament goes from Thursday to Saturday, Feb. 20-22, at the State Farm Center mats in Champaign, Ill., with tickets either $8 or $10 per session. The action can also be viewed on www.IHSA.tv.

Getting in their shots

in Girls Basketball by

Late-season run brings Lady Knights mark to 13-14
KANELAND—Four out of five isn’t bad.

In fact, it might be coming at the right time for Kaneland girls basketball.

After a five-game losing skid that lasted from Jan. 11-31, the Lady Knights began righting their victory ship two weeks ago with a win at Morris. After two more conference wins, the Lady Knights’ final regular season week featured a 52-39 loss to visiting DeKalb last Thursday, and a regular season finale win over Sycamore on Senior Night, 40-35.

The uptick in play means the Lady Knights final regular season tally sits at 13-14 (5-5 Northern Illinois Big XII).

The homestretch set up the IHSA Class 3A Plano Regional grouping, which was set to feature Kaneland facing Plano on Wednesday, with results unavailable for press.

With the postseason still remaining, the Lady Knights finished the regular campaign with a losing record for the first time since the 2010-11 slate, which ended 13-16, with the last loss coming at the hands of Wheaton Academy in the playoffs.

Kaneland had executed consecutive winning seasons, most notably a sectional final appearance in 2011-12.

In the double-digit loss to DeKalb, Kaneland was led by Kelly Wallner’s 12 points. KHS was 11-of-35 from the field, and 15-of-22 from the foul line on the evening.

DeKalb stormed out to a 16-5 lead and kept a 23-12 lead going into the locker room. Kaneland was able to close to 37-30 by the end of the third before the Lady Barbs added to their lead with a 15-9 fourth frame.

In the five-point win over the Lady Spartans on Valentine’s Day, which secured a regular season split between the two schools, Kaneland was paced by Caroline Heimerdinger’s 14 points. The total included a six-for-six stretch on free throws in the final two minutes. Wallner had seven points to go along with her 13 rebounds.

KHS was 11-of-33 from the field and 15-of-20 from the foul line.

The Lady Knights led 10-6 after the first eight minutes and 17-13 at the half. Sycamore inched closer and trailed just 26-24 before KHS held firm.

The postseason journey for third seed Kaneland held a familiar obstacle in the Plano Regional setting in the form of the host Lady Reapers, the No. 2 seed.

A year ago in the Burlington Central Regional semi, Kaneland was a missed three-pointer away from pulling off a stellar fourth-quarter comeback from 15 points down in a 52-51 loss.

Last year’s Plano crew finished at 22-7, compared to 14-14 in 2013-14.

The winner was set to face either No. 1 Sycamore, No. 4 Rochelle or No. 5 Sandwich in the regional final on Friday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m.

Bowling season ends, but new territory carved

in Bowling by

KANELAND—In the first year of a new postseason setup, Kaneland Lady Knights bowling did well for itself.

With an exemplary performance at the Metea Valley Regional on Feb. 8, Kaneland was able to send senior cornerstone Christie Crews to the Saturday Freeport Sectional. Crews became the first Kaneland bowler to advance to the next weekend of postseason play since Tannya Serrano in 2003.

With the new regional-sectional setup, the Lady Knights representative was able to compete at the Freeport Sectional for a chance at the State gathering in Rockford.

Crews’ total of 979 pins throughout the morning and afternoon sessions was not enough to emerge as an individual qualifier for next weekend. The lowest individual qualifier was Belvidere North’s Haley Solberg at 1,236. Crews’ average was a 163, with a morning session of 496.

“She was happy to be there and did a great job representing our team and school,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said.

The top overall score was Metea Valley’s Jordan Newham at 1,398.

Freeport (5,867), Harlem (5,808), Rockford Guilford (5,651) and Metea Valley (5,630) were the advancing teams out of sectional play.

With the end of 2013-14 play, Kaneland bowling says goodbye to Crews and fellow senior Michelle Bohanek.

Warrior week

in Boys Basketball by

Photo: Sophomore Dylan Vaca scored 12 points against Hillcrest Saturday, following up his 10-point output the night before at Yorkville. Photo by Patti Wilk

Knights host gathering for a cause after getting upper hand on YHS
KANELAND—It was a week of the familiar and unfamiliar for Kaneland boys basketball.

Although it wasn’t a perfect slate, the boys got to see how they measured up against the conference and other respected programs.

On Tuesday, the Knights hosted St. Charles North and lost in the final seconds 62-59.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the Knights hosted a day-long event, the Kaneland Day and Night of Hoops, that benefited the Wounded Warrior Project (woundedwarriorproject.org). In the nightcap, the Knights fell victim to Hillcrest by a final of 81-60. On Friday, Kaneland traveled down Route 47 to Yorkville High School and earned a 63-55 win.

Kaneland sits at 13-9 (4-3 Northern Illinois Big XII).

Against the North Stars, Tyler Carlson led the way with 17 points, but St. Charles North’s Alec Goetz’ 22, including a last-second trey, broke a late 59-point tie. Drew David had a strong game with 14 points, hitting two three-pointers and going 6-6 from the free throw line.

Head coach Brian Johnson awarded Donna and Bob Harner the “Friends of Kaneland Day & Knight of Basketball” award prior to the Kaneland/Hillcrest game Saturday evening. See boys basketball story on page 3B.     Photo by Patti Wilk
Head coach Brian Johnson awarded Donna and Bob Harner the “Friends of Kaneland Day & Knight of Basketball” award prior to the Kaneland/Hillcrest game Saturday evening. See boys basketball story on page 3B. Photo by Patti Wilk

Facing Country Club Hills program Hillcrest on Saturday, the Knights made five-of-nine shots to give KHS a 10-7 lead with 4:14 to go in the frame, until Hillcrest blitzed out to a 10-0 run. Carlson’s basket with 40 ticks left closed the first quarter scoring out at 17-12 in favor of the visitors.

In the second quarter, the deliberate pace and feeling-out process ceased and action picked up with the Knights converting on five of six shots, ending with a John Pruett putback to close it to 29-26 with 2:43 left in the half.

Pruett’s bucket with 2:21 left closed within 30-28, but that’s when the margin chasing stopped for KHS. Hillcrest closed the half on a 9-3 run to lead 39-31 at halftime.

The third quarter featured a flurry, including two foul shots from Pruett, a three-point play from Carlson, two more foul shots from Carlson and a free throw from Cole Carlson to close to within 47-40 with just over four minutes to play. Hillcrest then stretched the floor and went on a 9-2 run, ending with 1:56 to go. Hillcrest led Kaneland 56-44 by the end of the third. Kaneland’s deficit was as much as 25 at 79-54 with 1:18 to go in the game.

For Hillcrest, DeAngelo Isby had a game-high 22 points, followed by Taylor Adway’s 14. Pruett had 19 for Kaneland while Tyler Carlson had 13.

“It was nice being in the game,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “I thought we really got outmuscled on the glass. When you’re playing a team that’s a lot more athletic than you are and a lot taller than you are, you’ve got to do the little things right.”

Things could have gone more the Knights way if the first-quarter scheme held up.

“It was nice to see John start the game with a nice little step-back jumper. That was huge for John to show he could play with the big boys. We were trying to figure out what we could do successfully,” Johnson said.

The night also featured draw-down and 50/50 contests, chuck-a-ducks, hoops battles for Cagers and Kaneland Youth Program teams, and cheer and dance performances.

Teams were also brandishing “camo” shooting warmups on a day that proved bigger than hoops.

“That North Chicago-Larkin game was awesome. St. Charles North was excellent, and it was good to see Peoria Richwoods. It was a pleasure to put the name of Kaneland with those programs. We’re going to do it for sure next year, without a doubt,” Johnson said.

Larkin defeated North Chicago, 79-76, while SCN beat Richwoods 87-66 in other action at KHS.

Friday’s tilt against Yorkville featured a game-high 18 points for Tyler Carlson and 10 from sophomore Dylan Vaca.

Kaneland was up 14-10 after one quarter and 31-25 at halftime. Yorkville stormed back to chisel into the KHS lead at 44-43 by the end of the third, before the Knights’ deficit stretched enough for the win. The Knights also benefited from a 30-for-38 night from the foul line.

On Friday, Feb. 21, the Knights travel to Grundy County to face rival Morris.

Feb. 20 sports recap

in Boys Basketball/Girls Basketball by

Freshman Girls BBall
Feb. 8, 10, 12 @ NIB-12 Tournament—The Lady Knights finished their 2013-14 season with a fourth-place showing at the NIB-12 Freshman Tournament, held at Rochelle Twp. High School. KHS won their first two games—38-35 over LaSalle-Peru and 33-30 over Sycamore—before falling to Rochelle in the quarterfinals. KHS lost the third-place game to Ottawa 54-28.

Sophomore Girls BBall
Feb. 13 vs. DeKalb—The Lady Knights jumped out to a 16-6 lead after the first quarter and never looked back in their 37-20 win over DeKalb. It was their final game of the 2013-14 season. Kristen Siebert led the team with 10 points, while Meg Cohrs and Kylie Modaff each had six points. Kiandra Powell had five points, Sophie Sandquist had four points and Jenna Harvell and Nichole Koczka each supplied three points. The Lady Knights ended the season with a 14-11 overall record, and an even 5-5 record in NIB-12 conference play.

Sophomore Boys BBall
Feb. 14 at Yorkville—The Knights beat their Route 47 bretheren 48-42 behind Mark Lilly’s 14 and Jake Marczuk’s 10 points. Joe Laudont had seven points for the Knights, while Jacob Violett and Brett Hansen each had five points. Jason Edwards had four points and Tanner Robertson had three points.

Feb. 15 vs. Hillcrest—The Knights dropped just their fifth game of the season against a strong Hillcrest team 72-46. Violett had 10 points, while Mitchel Groen had nine, while both Marczuk and Matt Vanenborn each had eight points and Robertsen had three.

Feb. 18 vs. St. Charles North—The Knights earned their 17th win with a 73-66 triumph over the North Stars. Marczuk led the way with 18 points, while Lilly had 15, Robertsen and Laudont each had 12, Groen had nine and Hansen had seven. The team is 17-5 overall, with a 7-1 conference record.

Helping hands

in Boys Basketball by
Screen shot 2014-01-16 at 11.24.20 AM

Six-team shootout at Kaneland on Saturday to benefit worthy cause
KANELAND—It stands to be no ordinary Saturday at Kaneland.

You’ll have your customary weekend basketball action, but the Kaneland boys team and dedicated volunteers are coming together for something bigger than jump shots.

The first-ever Hoops For Heroes-Kaneland Day and Knight of Hoops will feature five other Chicagoland teams, and proceeds from the six-game extravaganza go to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. The Wounded Warrior Project organizes to honor and empower wounded veterans.

Scheduled to run from noon to 9 p.m., beginning with sophomore contests, the Knights battle Hillcrest High School from Country Club Hills, Ill., in the 7:30 p.m. nightcap, with North Chicago and Larkin doing battle at 5 p.m. and St. Charles North meeting Peoria Richwoods at 2:30 pm.

“The volunteers and I decided for this night to have some special meaning, and we have some great basketball programs coming in,” KHS boys coach Brian Johnson said.

The first of its kind in Kaneland basketball history, the gathering already holds importance before the jump ball.

“It’s important to be there for those that have served and come back. I’ve told the team it’s bigger than basketball that night,” Johnson said.

The night, also featuring Bob and Donna Harner receiving a Friend of the Program award, is also set to feature games for Kaneland Youth Basketball and Cagers, as well as performances by the KHS Pep Band and cheer programs.

“It’s an honor to be able to host the event, and we have storied programs and a couple of top-20 ranked teams,” Johnson said. “If you take Kaneland out of it, it’s still a big night at KHS.”

Saturday also featues 50/50 and draw down raffling and Chuck-a-duck contests that benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.

For information on the night’s proceedings, head to support.woundedwarriorproject.org/individual-fundraising/hoopsforheroes.

In proper position

in Wrestling by
Senior Justin Diddell place first at the Belvidere Regional

Photos courtesy of Stefanie Vanik
Third-place at tough sectional paves way for potential state berths
KANELAND—Call them the lucky seven.

After a third-place finish at the Class 2A Belvidere Regional, however, the rest of the field at this weekend’s Pontiac Sectional might see their fortunes run out, once they face the Knights.

Paced by heavyweight regional king Justin Diddell, the Knights’ 124-point total was good for third in the nine-team setup.

Sandwich took the regional with 174 points, followed by rival Sycamore’s 130. Belvidere (122.5) and Marengo (92.5) rounded out the top five. Belvidere North and Boylan Catholic of Rockford tied for sixth with 80. Burlington Central and Joliet Catholic brought up the rear with 34 and 31, respectively.

A year ago at the Sycamore Regional, the Knights finished second and also advanced seven.

While the regional championship mantle was less full this go-around, the Knights still maintain enough to do damage the rest of this postseason.

Besides Diddell, the Knights plan to brandish 160-pound second-placer Austin Parks, 170-pound runner-up Tom Price, and third-place grapplers Adam Mish (113), Riley Vanik (145), George Strang (152) and Zac Parker (182).

Diddell’s day began with a :41 second fall over Deon Roby of Belvidere, with the finals going the Knights’ way after a 1-0 edging of Sycamore rival, Devin Knight.

Parks beat Sycamore’s Michael Beaudoin by 12-0 major decision in his semi challenge before falling to capable Sandwich Indian Rigo Fraire by 3:45 pinfall in the final.

Price, who has had a productive first year as a transfer, got past Boylan’s Austin Middleton by 1:01 stick and Marengo’s Brandon Dierkes by 1:34 pinfall. In the finals, Price was upended by Sycamore’s Austin Armstrong in 51 seconds.

In the 113 category, Mish found his way to the consolation bracket, where he pounded Belvidere wrestler Jonathan Sanchez in a 15-2 major decision.

Vanik, getting a taste of the postseason attrition as a freshman, beat Spartan counterpart Andrew Larsen 14-6 in a major decision win. After a semifinal loss to Boylan’s Joey Bartolino and a consolation slot, Vanik recovered by beating BC’s Ray Coklan in 3:05 and beat Hilltopper Cameron Haney in a 17-10 slugfest for the invite to next weekend.

Strang wrote his ticket for this weekend by placing third in the 152-pound category. Beginning with a 13-7 win over Sandwich foe Jesse Brunoehler, Strang was then defeated by Sycamore’s Michael Ernster, 3-0. In the consolation bracket, the Knight recovered with a 3:17 pin of a Marengo opponent before outlasting BC’s Christan Quiles in a 4-3 final.

Parker’s journey began with a 6-2 win over Belvidere’s Gage Brewer, but after a tech fall loss to Sycamore’s Christopher Malone, the KHS sophomore beat BC’s Kyle Blankenburg by 7-3 count before solving Brewer once again in 5-2 fashion.

The Knights’ journey for statehood continues on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-15, on the Pontiac High School grounds with the eligible qualifiers from the LaSalle-Peru, Geneseo and East Peoria Individual Regionals.

2-13 sports recap

in Boys Basketball/Girls Basketball by

Sophomore Girls BBall
Feb. 6 at Morris—KHS treked south on Route 47 and returned with a 43-35 NIB-12 win over Morris. Kiandra Powell’s 16 points led the Lady Knights, and Meg Cohrs was close behind with 12 points. Nicole Koczka supplied seven points while Hollie Fedderly had four.
Feb. 8 at LaSalle-Peru—The Lady Knights defeated LaSalle-Peru 44-40 Saturday. Kristen Siebert led the way with 14 points, while Powell had nine, Koczka had eight and Kylie Modaff had five for KHS.
Feb. 10 vs. Yorkville—Twenty-one turnovers doomed KHS in a 44-22 loss at home to Yorkville. Fedderly, Koczka and Siebert each had five points, while Cohrs had 4. The sophomore Lady Knights are now 13-11, 4-5 in NIB-12 play before playing DeKalb at home tonight.

Sophomore Boys Bball
Feb. 7 at Rochelle—The sophomore Knights fell on the road 78-72 at Rochelle. Tanner Robertsen, Mark Lilly and Jake Marczuk each had 18 points, while Joe Laudont had eight points and Kevin Fajardo and Brett Hansen each had three.
Feb. 11 at West Chicago—KHS lost for just the fourth time all season at West Chicago Tuesday, 66-56. Lilly led the way with 15 points and Marczuk had 14. Mitchel Groen had eight points, Laudont had five, Robertsen and Jacob Violett each had four points and Fajardo and Hansen each had three points. The Knights are 15-4 overall, 6-1 in NIB-12 conference play. They play at Yorkville Friday.

Crews controls fate after Regional

in Bowling by

Photo: The 2013-14 KHS bowlers competed as a team one final time Saturday at the Metea Valley Regional in Aurora. The team included senior Michelle Bohanek (from left), junior Rena Wojciechowski, junior Katie Hill, freshman Grace Lindgren, junior Dominique Lee and senior Christie Crews. Photo by Mary Paulson

AURORA—Whenever the end comes for Kaneland bowling in 2013-14, it’s going to have a different feel and look.

That’s because senior Christie Crews is still going and has a chance to qualify for the State tournament in two weeks.

At Parkside Lanes in Aurora, Crews represented Kaneland well as part of the Metea Valley Regional, managing to qualify for the Freeport Sectional on Saturday, Feb. 15.

After Kaneland finished with a middle of the pack 4,183 to finish sixth, Crews’ singular total of a 908 series put her in eighth of 10 individual qualifiers for the weekend.

The top individual total went to Metea Valley junior Jordan Newham, who bowled a 1,378.

The four qualifying schools for sectional play were Metea Valley at 5,620, St. Charles North at 5,472, St. Charles East at 4,671 and Larkin at 4,383.

The 2014 regional marked the first time for a new postseason format. Normally, the bowling landscape would go from sectionals to State, and the top two teams plus two additional individuals would advance. Now with regionals, the top four teams plus 10 individuals go to sectionals. Four teams and five additional individuals stand to advance out of Freeport.

“Christie just happens to be one of the first to go through the new format,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “She did not have any spectacular scores last Saturday, but most of the girls who bowled the really high scores were on the top four teams—the four teams who qualified for the Sectional. The format was designed in part to accommodate bowlers who are not necessarily on one of the top teams.”

While the Lady Knights have never managed to advanced to State, the school has advanced four qualifiers, most recently Tannya Serrano in 2003.

“The past few years, it has taken close to a 220 average at the Sectional to qualify as an individual for State. It will probably be close to that again this year, so Christie will need to have a spectacular day up in Freeport this Saturday. Regardless of outcome, we are proud of her, and she is proud to represent us,” McKnight said.

Additionally, the Lady Knights closed out regular season play on Feb. 5, in Lisle. The Lady Lions dropped KHS to 3-10 in dual action with a 2,226-2,191 result. Junior Dominique Lee had a team-high 498 series, while also having a team-best 184 game.

Crews continues at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, with other competitors from the Rockford East and Sycamore Regionals.

More like it

in Girls Basketball by

Photo: Freshman Morgan Weber had four points in Kaneland’s 51-41 win over the visiting Lady Foxes of Yorkville Monday. Photo by Ben Draper

Girls hoops stabilizes in season homestretch
KANELAND—Kaneland girls basketball made sure its recent five-game losing streak was a thing of the past this week.

It remains to be seen what’s in the immediate future with the postseason looming.

After falling to a season-low 9-13 at the beginning of the month, Kaneland rattled off a three-game win streak. On Monday, the Lady Knights capped off the successful stretch by laying waste to visiting Yorkville, 51-41. In a Saturday crossover contest with host LaSalle-Peru, KHS beat the Cavaliers, 57-24, and saw a trip to Grundy County last Thursday turn productive in a 74-67 win.

Kaneland sits at 12-13 on the year, with a 4-4 record in Northern Illinois Big XII play.

“We played well in all three games,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We have been working hard in practice and trying to get better each day.”

Kaneland was able to get revenge on the Lady Foxes after a 19-point loss back on Jan. 31. After falling behind 16-9 after one quarter, and 26-23 at halftime, the Lady Knights took advantage of poor opposing shooting and went on a 22-1 run that spanned two quarters, thanks to key baskets and defense. Up 38-30, Kaneland saw the lead grow to 17 before the final margin.

“We stuck with what we wanted to do even after we got down 26-15. We got on a big run and really controlled the tempo of the game. In our first meeting with Yorkville they really controlled the tempo and game from start to finish,” Colombe said.

Leading the way were Kelly Wallner with 18 points and Amber Winquist-Bailey with 11 points and four steals. KHS was 19-of-44 from the field and 11-of-23 from the free throw line.
Against the West division Cavs, Kaneland’s defense and 18 steals made life miserable in LaSalle County for L-P fans.

“We needed to get better in our rotations and also better at stopping dribble penetration,” Colombe said.

Up 15-4 after one, the Lady Knights led 36-11 at the conclusion of the first half. The lead stretched to 49-14 after three before the final frame. Winquist-Bailey had a team-high 13 points, followed by Bailey Crimmins’ 11 and Ally Van Bogaert’s 10. KHS ended 27-of-58 from the field.

Facing the Lady Redskins, the Lady Knights led 21-9 after the first eight minutes and 36-27 at halftime. Seeing the lead shrink to 52-48 at the end of the third, the Lady Knights were helped by 14 foul shots to secure the win.

Guard Caroline Heimerdinger lifted the victory effort with 16 points. Wallner had 15 and Camri Conley put in 11 of her own.

Going 22-of-45 from the field, KHS went to the charity stripe an astounding 47 times, hitting 27 shots.

This week features home matches up against challenging teams DeKalb, on Thursday, Feb. 13, and Sycamore on Friday. Feb. 14, in a quest to eclipse .500.

The IHSA postseason plan was released last week, with Kaneland set for Class 3A Plano Regional action beginning as the No. 3 seed against No. 2 Plano on Wednesday. Feb. 19, at 8 p.m. The winner is scheduled against No. 1 Sycamore, No. 4 Rochelle or No. 5 Sandwich in the regional championship on Friday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m.

Emerging victors

in Boys Basketball by

Photo: Senior John Pruett continued his torrid scoring streak, putting up 26 points Friday at Rochelle, and following that up with 28 more against West Chicago Tuesday evening. Fellow senior Tyler Carlson (23) was the team’s high-scorer with 33 points against Rochelle. Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—Whatever questions exist concerning the fortunes of Kaneland boys basketball, the offense doesn’t have to be included.

Dealing with an athletic West Chicago lineup on Tuesday in a road jaunt, the Knights withstood the floor-spreading attack and emerged with a 71-65 win.

That came on the heels of a successful Friday trip to Rochelle, where KHS ran to a 91-67 win over the host Hubs.

Kaneland enjoys a 12-7 record with a 3-3 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII conference play.

The Knights’ win on Joliet St. in West Chicago proved considerably more agreeable than the 54-43 Wildcat win from a year ago.

Kaneland resisted several lead changes and 27 points from scoring threat John Konchar by utilizing John Pruett’s 28 points, including 14-of-17 shooting from the foul line in the win.

“I’m just coming out here, and it’s my senior year, and this could possibly be the last time I play basketball, in high school for sure, at least,” Pruett said. “I’m just going to try to end it with a bang.

An even first quarter ended with West Chicago up 13-11, and the close tempo held for much of the second quarter when Pruett’s three-pointer with 2:25 to go in the half gave KHS a 24-22 lead. After a WC three, Pruett came back with a three-point play with 1:14 to go for a 27-25 lead. An offensive putback on the other end tied the affair. Drew David’s bucket with 43.4 to go put the Knights back on top, 29-27, but a Wildcat three with 29.7 ended the scoring at 30-29 for the first half.

The third quarter saw West Chicago get out to a five-point lead during one stretch, but the Knights were helped by two foul shots from Pruett, a foul shot from Tyler Carlson and a putback by Carlson in a 49 second stretch to lead 49-45 at the end of three.

A Pruett three 21 second into the quarter gave the Knights a seven-point edge at 52-45, but WC wouldn’t go away, missing just three shots in the quarter and going six-for-nine from the charity stripe.

Kaneland saw its lead grow to eight with 2:26 to go at 66-58, but a WC trey with 1:59 left closed it to 66-61. Two Pruett foul shots with 1:14 left made it 68-61 before a Wildcat trifecta and a foul shot cut it to 68-65 with 48.5 left.

With the Wildcats potentially able to tie the score on the next possession, the senior cornerstone David’s quick steal of a pass led to a foul and two free throws with 19.9 left. The pair gave the Knights a 70-65 lead which iced the contest.

“(The steal) was huge,” Pruett said. “Drew is a four-year starter. Whenever we need him, he’s always coming through. Free throws, threes or steals, he’s always doing what we need to do.”

“The boys were a little more comfortable, and that was a game we were going to have to play hard,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “There’s no let-up in them, and I thought the boys responded. They played hard and they played physical.”

Against the Hubs, Kaneland was helped by a 33-point night from Carlson and 26 from Pruett in the win. Pruett also went 12-of-18 from the foul line.

Kaneland and Rochelle were deadlocked at 18 after one, and the Knights led 36-29 at the halftime buzzer. Up 65-52 after three frames, Kaneland poured it on and outscored the Hubs 26-15 in the fourth.

On Friday, Feb. 14, the Knights head to Yorkville for NIB-12 play, and Saturday, Feb. 15, brings Kaneland’s first Day and Night of Hoops with six varsity and sophomore games featuring storied programs.

Kaneland tips off against Hillcrest in the 7:30 p.m. nightcap, with proceeds from the event benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project.

All cylinders

in Wrestling by

KHS continues to roll in duals, ends regular season with close win vs. Batavia

BATAVIA—It doesn’t matter the caliber of opponent—Kaneland wrestling makes sure the foe has its mat work cut out for it.

The latest example was a 37-32 win over former conference rival Batavia at the Bulldogs’ refurbished fieldhouse on Friday.

The notch in the Knights’ favor cements their dual record for the 2013-14 season at a stellar 15-7, up from 13-13 last year and 11-12 in 2011-12.

“As a dual team, we’re a little bit better than the last two years,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “The frosh/soph guys are doing great, and the upperclassmen are hanging in there.”

The win also bests last year’s 42-30 regular season ender in Maple Park to Batavia. Two years ago saw Kaneland earn a tiebreaker in a 31-31 contest.

There were wins aplenty for KHS, beginning at 106 pounds, with Austin Kedzie pinning Mike Orlow at 1:57. Matthew Redman took a 12-11 decision in the 126-pound battle, followed by an 11-2 major decision for 132-pound entry Hayden Patterson.

At 138 pounds, Dane Goodenough earned a 60-second pinfall over Marc Goodin, while teammate Riley Vanik took the 145-pound mantle in 2:06. George Strang took a 3-2 decision over 152-pound rival Eric Wallerstein, while Austin Parks won the 160 match over Derek Nutley, 11-6 and fellow Knight Tom Price worked to a 3:35 pinfall at 170 to complete the Kaneland run.

“It’s a solid team,” Jahns said. “They are constantly improving, and we have guys like (285-pound) Justin Diddell leading the way with 28 wins. Our goal is to get down to Champaign (Ill., site of dual team finals).”

Up next for the Knights is postseason territory on Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Belvidere Regional. Teams include Belvidere, Belvidere North, Burlington Central, Joliet Catholic, Marengo, Boylan Catholic, Sandwich and Sycamore. Last year’s postseason journey yielded a 145-pound State crown for graduate Dan Goress.

Starts and stops

in Boys Basketball by

Photo: Sophomore Ryan David had six points for the Knights at DeKalb Tuesday. Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—It was a game that had two near-misses.

Unfriendly weather had shelved the Kaneland boys basketball team to Elgin outfit St. Edward on both Jan. 30, and Thursday before finally settling for a Friday tip-off.

With no elements in their way, the Knights worked toward a 65-55 victory.

After yet another makeup contest on Tuesday in DeKalb, the Knights sat at (10-7, 2-3 Northern Illinois Big XII).

The Knights have alternated wins and losses in their last six games.

The DeKalb contest was originally set for Saturday, while the Knights have yet another makeup contest against visiting Sycamore scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22, from Jan. 24.

Senior John Pruett continued his high-level of play in 2013-14 with a 29-point evening, followed by classmate Tyler Carlson with 17.

The Knights also benefited from 32 chances at the foul line, allowing for 16 baskets from the charity stripe for a 50-percent night.

KHS and the Green Wave were deadlocked at 13-all before Kaneland stormed to a 30-21 advantage at halftime. Kaneland led 45-36 after three before stretching the lead with a 20-19 fourth frame.

Against DeKalb, Pruett had a game-high 23 points, but DeKalb had four players in double-digits, as the Barbs used a 19-13 opening quarter to pave the way for a 76-70 win over visiting Kaneland. Tyler Carlson had 19 points and Cole Carlson had 15 for the Knights in the loss.

Kaneland continues the NIB-12 tour with a trek to Ogle County on Friday, Feb. 7, against Rochelle, in what continues a five-game road swing.

Feb. 6 Sports recap

in Boys Basketball/Girls Basketball by

Girls Soph. Basketball
Jan. 31 at Yorkville—Bailey Crimmins had 16 points and Kiandra Powell had 11, but the Lady Knights fell to the host Lady Foxes 56-43 Friday. Kristen Siebert had six points for Kaneland. KHS was 11-10, 3-4 in NIB-12 play through Jan. 31.

Boys Soph. Basketball

Jan. 31 at St. Edwards—The sophomore Knights defeated St. Edward 56-47 Friday. Tanner Robertsen had 17 points, while Brett Hansen supplied nine points. Mark Lilly, Mitchel Groen and Joe Laudont each had eight points, and Jacob Violett had four points.
Feb. 4 at DeKalb—The 15-2 sophomores (6-0 in NIB-12 conference play) routed the host Barbs 50-32 Tuesday. The Knights did it with even scoring, with Robertsen, Lilly and Jake Marczuk each supplying nine points, Hansen with eight points, Groen with six points, Laudont with five points and Violett with four points.

Hard Luck Lady Knights

in Girls Basketball by

Skid hits five after road loss to rival Yorkville
YORKVILLE—With as hard as the Lady Knights basketball team plays game in and game out, the bad luck could end soon.

The shame is that the bad luck keeps going at a critical juncture.

Falling in a 12-2 hole early and dealing with an up-tempo game patrolled by hosts like Corrine Rowe and Lindsay Schlichting, the Lady Knights were forced to play catch-up in a 53-34 loss to host Yorkville on a flurry-filled Friday evening.

The lone game of the week brought the Lady Knights mark down to 9-13 (2-4 Northern Illinois Big XII). A scheduled Saturday afternoon matchup with Illinois Math and Science Academy in Maple Park was cancelled due to poor driving conditions.

The five-game losing streak means the last win for KHS came back on Jan. 9 against Morris.

Leading the way for the Lady Knights was post presence Kelly Wallner with 10 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double. KHS was just 12-for-45 from the field in the Kendall County setting, with a 9-for-21 night from the foul line.

“Their guards did a good job; I thought their whole team did a good job of spacing us out,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “They were hitting shots, and we were scrambling.”

Rowe had a game-high 17, while Schlichting had 13 for the Lady Foxes.

Down 10 early, the Lady Knights closed to 12-10 by the end of the first frame.

Bailey Crimmins cut the lead to 14-12 with 6:34 left in the half, and other baskets were supplied by Ally Van Bogaert and Morgan Weber. Rowe and Schichting added three key baskets, with Yorkville making six shot attempts in a row enroute to a 26-17 lead at halftime.

Wallner was responsible for all three KHS field goals in the third quarter, but Yorkville increased its lead to 43-26 by the end of third quarter play. Yorkville increased its edge to 23 points at 53-30 with 1:15 to go before a Kaneland mini-run.

“The attitude’s good; the kids are working hard. But (Yorkville) controlled the tempo, and that’s what seniors do,” Colombe said.

On Thursday, Feb. 6, Kaneland continues on the NIB-12 circuit in Grundy County at Morris.

[st_box title=”Looking back…” type=”info”]Looking at the Lady Knights’ five-game loss streak, the longest skid of the 2012-13 season was three: Jan. 18, 19 and 26 of 2013 at Sycamore, vs. LaSalle-Peru and vs. Sterling, respectively.[/st_box]

Degree of difficulty

in Bowling by

Delayed NIB-12 gathering has KHS bowling 10th

STREATOR, Ill.—It took only a week to get going, but the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference meet took place on Monday at Dixon Plum Hollow Lanes.

The meet, hosted by exiting conference outfit Streator, ended with Morris in first place after an output of 7,230 pins. Departing Dixon was second with a tally of 6,485, followed by the hosts at 6,167.

Ottawa was fourth from the West division at 6,091.

LaSalle-Peru, DeKalb, Rochelle, Sycamore and Sterling filled out the rest of the order.

Morris’ Jessica Winter, at 1,291, was top in the individual category, while Dixon’s Emily Quaco was second at 1,264.

While Kaneland was stuck with bringing up the rear in the 10-team field with a total pin collection of 5,115, there were some bright spots.

[st_callout title=”So close ..” button_text=”Full NIB-12 Results” link=”http://nibig12.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/NIB12-2013-14-Varsity-Tournament.xls”]Kaneland junior Dominique Lee was 82 pins away from entering the conference’s top 15 list for high six-game series on Monday.[/st_callout]

“Dominique Lee had a nice 228 game for us at the tournament,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “It was amazing how Morris absolutely ran away from the field. They really were in a different league, you might say.”

With a 228 as her high game, Lee, a junior, ranked 15th in the conference high-game category.

The Kaneland totals included Lee followed by senior anchor Christie Crews, junior Rena Wojciechowski with an 888 afternoon, freshman Grace Lindgren at 851, junior Katy Hill at 825 and senior Michelle Bohanek at 662.

Kaneland’s regular season was scheduled to come to an end on Wednesday in Lisle, Ill., against the Interstate Eight Conference entry Lions in a road contest.

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