Knights do well at Windmill
Photo: Sophomore Dylan Vaca led the Knights with 19 points against Batavia Nov. 27. Photo by Patti Wilk
Season opener sees OT win vs. Batavia; KHS splits other two games
BATAVIA—It’s an early idea, but it’s a bright one in terms of how Kaneland High School boys basketball could do this upcoming season: you’ll never be able to count them out, to be sure.
Trying to put together another winning season, coach Brian Johnson’s crew trekked to Batavia for the Ken Peddy 38th annual Windmill City Classic on Thanksgiving eve and came back from double digits to earn an 81-74 overtime win.
Friday had the Knights edged by Englewood of Chicago by a scant 54-50 margin before once again taking charge on Saturday evening and beating St. Francis by a final of 66-48.
Kaneland is now 2-1 to begin the season.
In the opener, sophomore Dylan Vaca had a team-high 19 points, while seniors John Pruett and Drew David had 18 each. Senior Tyler Carlson added 14 to the winning effort.
Canaan Coffey of Batavia had a game-high 26 points.
After keeping in step with the host Bulldogs with a 13-13 score after one frame, Batavia took control with a hot perimeter game to go up 35-28 at the half.
It looked dire for Kaneland in the fourth, with Batavia up 63-50 with 5:36 remaining. Then, buckets from David and Carlson started to fall to slim the lead. A Carlson three closed it to 64-61 with 2:30 to go, and he would soon follow with a three-point play to close it to 66-64 with 1:38 to go in regulation.
Vaca was fouled on a three-point try and would sink all the shots to close within 68-67 with 35.6 to go. After two Bulldog free throws made it a 70-67 game with 34.2 left, David drained the last basket of regulation from behind the arc to tie the score with 19.4 and send it to overtime.
Kaneland stifled the Bulldogs on the offensive end in overtime, while David hit a baseline jumper to give the Knights their first lead since quarter one at 72-70, 63 seconds into the extra frame. Carlson’s three and a foul shot by Connor Fedderly made it 76-70, effectively sealing the deal as KHS went 6-for-10 from the foul line.
Vaca’s three foul shots put the Kaneland roster into a chance to catch up in what was his first sophomore outing.
“It felt good to get out there and run and shoot the three,” Vaca said. “They fell in the second half. It was a big deficit, and we just had to find a way to come back.”
The team effort was evident and paid off, according to Johnson.
“Dylan made some big shots, and we were fortunate that he made the free throws. (Batavia) shot unbelievably well. We just got lucky and got a few turnovers. Carlson did an excellent job on the glass and he played really hard, and Drew just seems to come up with big shots a lot.”
Against Englewood of Chicago, Pruett had 18 points and David had 11 in the loss. Down 31-17 at halftime, KHS made a valiant comeback to close within 37-36 after three before its foes held firm.
In the win over St. Francis, Vaca paced the Knights with 21 points—the only Knight in double figures—while Kaneland went 21-of-28 from the line. Up 35-27 at halftime, Kaneland expanded the lead to 54-36 after three before the final margin.
On tap for the Knight hoopsters is a trip to Sycamore on Friday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m.
Photos by Patti Wilk