The Kaneland girl’s varsity basketball team ventured to Ottawa for the Holiday Tournament. They beat Morris 38-29 and lost to Pontiac on Saturday, 43-39. File Photo
Colombe contingent nbeats Morris, takes loss vs. Pontiac
by Mike Slodki
OTTAWA—It’s hard to get accustomed to new digs for the holiday season.
Kaneland girls basketball had spent the previous six seasons hooping it up at Oswego East’s tournament in late December, and made its way to Ottawa’s Holiday tournament in 2013.
After splitting the first two contests a week ago in downtown Ottawa, the Lady Knights once again beat conference rival Morris on Friday afternoon by a final of 38-29, before losing to Pontiac, 43-38, in the seventh-place game on Saturday afternoon.
Kaneland’s eighth-place mark out of 12 teams brings the mark to 9-5 as the 2012 part of the season closes out. The Lady Knights have lost five of seven contests after a solid 7-0 beginning to the season.
Joliet Catholic won the tournament after a 49-26 handling of the host Lady Pirates, while Yorkville beat Geneseo, 39-29, in the third-place encounter.
Ashley Prost had 11 points to lead the Lady Knight attack in the win over the Morris, while Amber Winquist-Bailey had eight points off the bench in key minutes.
“It’s nice to stop the slide,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We knew it was going to be a different game, and they moved up a freshman to varsity and she’s one of Morris’ best players.They did a real nice job of defense on us, just getting in there battling.”
Kaneland emerged with a 12-11 lead after the first quarter, but fell behind quickly until Prost’s basket put the lead back to 14-13 just 38 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Sarah Grams’ jumper with 4:35 to go made it 16-13, while Winquist-Bailey’s basket 27 seconds later made it 18-15 and marked the final score of the quarter until a Morris foul shot with 38.3 seconds remaining.
Morris tried its best to push through to the lead, but junior center Kelly Wallner’s free throw, Prost’s bucket and Emma Bradford’s shot had KHS at a 23-20 advantage with 4:56 to go in the third. Later, Morris sliced the lead to two, but another Winquist-Bailey basket made it 27-23 with 17.9 remaining, closing out the third frame’s scoring.
Yet another key Winquist-Bailey conversion gave KHS a 29-23 lead with 6:24 to go, and the Lady Knights never looked back. Grams’ shot with 4:48 to go gave KHS a 10-point lead with 4:48 left, and her two foul shots with 52.2 left gave the Lady Knights their largest lead of the night at 37-26. Kaneland was 4-for-5 from the field and hit six of eight from the charity stripe to seal it.
“Amber had a nice spark in the game, and we all just cleared our heads and we focused on what we needed to do,” Prost said.
The Lady Knights’ break continues until Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, when they host rival Yorkville.