Photo: Sophomore Camri Conley looks to attack the basket against Pontiac on Friday. Photo by Marshall Farthing
KHS girls lose opener, recover in second game at Ottawa Holiday Tournament
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—The Lady Knights girls basketball team on Saturday found a little less holiday cheer than it hoped for.
The good news was on that very same evening, the Kaneland crew was able to recoup a little of what was lost.
KHS began Pool D play in the Ottawa Tournament on Friday with a 61-53 loss to Pontiac High School, and then recovered later that night against Northern Illinois Big XII Conference crossover foe Streator in 62-22 fashion.
Kaneland now sits at 5-5 (1-1 NIB-12) with two games remaining in the Ottawa setting.
A year ago, Kaneland found similar fortune in the tourney’s first evening, losing to Geneseo before beating Sandwich on the way to an eighth-place finish.
Other NIB-12 schools also participated on Friday, with Yorkville and Geneseo both beating Kankakee.
Against Pontiac, Kaneland was led by post presence Kelly Wallner, who gathered 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Teammate Amber Winquist-Bailey added 12 in the loss. KHS was 22-for-45 from the field.
The Lady Knights were down 17-8 after one quarter and 33-19 at the halftime break before closing to within 43-31 after three. In the fourth, Kaneland closed the deficit to seven, but could get no closer.
“Pontiac is a real strong team and we struggled with turnovers early and also struggled from the FT line. We fought back and played well in the second half but came up short,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said.
In the win over the West division Lady Bulldogs, Kaneland took advantage of 25 turnovers for the win. Leading 19-0 after the first eight minutes, the Lady Knights played to the halftime buzzer up 35-7. The lead was 50-15 before the final frame.
Leading the charge for Kaneland was Ally Van Bogaert’s 15 points in a game that saw 12 Lady Knights visit the scoring column. KHS was 28-of-60 from the field.
“In the Streator game, we came out focused on playing better defense and taking care of the ball. The girls did a great job, and we were able to get a big lead and get everyone some playing time, which is always good at this time of the year,” Colombe said.
Monday’s final two games, with a morning contest against Geneseo, had results unavailable for press. Kaneland was scheduled to end the tournament in the silver bracket, the second-place pool.
Action will pick up for KHS on Thursday, Dec. 26, in Dixon at the KSB Dixon Holiday Classic that goes through Saturday, Dec. 28. Kaneland’s first scheduled opponent is Stillman Valley, at noon, with a Friday, Dec. 27, contest against either Sterling or Freeport’s Aquin High School.