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.
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.