Photo: Tyler Callaghan goes up for two points during Friday’s 56-39 loss to the Yorkville Foxes. Photo by Ben Draper
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Saturday looked a lot better than Friday for the Knights boys basketball roster.
Coach Brian Johnson’s crew took a 47-39 win against non-conference rival Burlington Central on Saturday, but fell to a physical Yorkville squad on Friday by a 56-39 clip.
Additionally, the first-ever meeting between KHS and Metea Valley High School of Aurora ended in a 78-58 loss for the Knights on Tuesday night.
The Knights now sit at 9-6 on the season, with a 3-1 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII conference play.
The Knights’ lone double-figures scorer against BC was team anchor Chaon Denlinger, who had 13 points. Zach Ringhouse had eight. Kaneland was just 9-for-19 from the foul line.
Kaneland led 13-7 on the visiting Rockets after the first eight minutes of action and increased the margin to 23-13 after the first half. BC closed to within 31-25 before the Knights held firm in the fourth.
In the loss against Yorkville against the invading Fox force, Trever Heinle had 10 points to lead the Knights.
Kaneland was cold indoors to match the landscape of falling snow outdoors, missing its first six shot attempts. With Yorkville up 13-6, Kory Harner connected on two straight shots to pull the Knights within 13-10 by the end of the first.
Down 19-13 with 5:53 to go in the second quarter, Daniel Helm hit a foul shot, as did Heinle to close within four. Matt Spitzzeri hit a layup, and Heinle converted on a three-point play to take the lead for the first time at 20-19 with 3:21 to go. Helm’s reverse layup with 2:44 to go completed a 9-0 run. Yorkville finished with a flurry and sunk three straight baskets to go into the half up 26-22.
In the third quarter, it remained close when Kyle Dhuse of Yorkville hit a three to tie the score at 29-29, but Denlinger hit a trey from the baseline to go up 32-29. That would be the last inkling of a lead for Kaneland for the remainder of the game. Yorkville went on a 27-7 run to finish the game, which included 12-for-12 from the foul line in a late stretch to cinch the result.
“They’re a very strong team,” Johnson said concerning the Foxes. “They made a lot of shots, a lot of free throws. When they make more than you attempt, they’ll probably win the game.”
Against MV, the Knights were helped by Denlinger’s 20 points and Heinle’s 13.
Despite a 20-10 lead after the first eight minutes, the Knights’ advantage shrunk of 33-21 at halftime before Metea Valley used a prolific third quarter to go up 53-44 after three.
The Knights look forward to a NIB-12 matchup with visiting Morris on Friday, Jan. 14.
LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP
When the Knights need to hit on a trifecta, who have they been going to?
Through Tuesday, Jan. 11—
C. Denlinger (28 three-point baskets)
Z. Ringhouse (14)
D. Helm (6)