Every second counts
Sectional semi loss follows David’s buzzer-beater for Regional crown
KANELAND—Kaneland boys basketball set the bar pretty high for Tuesday evening’s Hampshire Sectional semifinal against fellow No. 1 seed Rockford Lutheran.
After all, how could a team top a 62-60 Kaneland Regional final from Friday night that saw Drew David’s 20-footer go in as the buzzer sounded, prodding the KHS faithful to storm the court?
For the first 16 minutes of play in Hampshire on Tuesday night, it seemed like KHS would top the weekend and write a ticket to the sectional championship on Friday, up 37-26 at the break.
But a 31-11 third quarter in favor of RL put Kaneland in a deep hole. The Knights were able to cut it to two before RL ran away in a 76-61 win.
Kaneland finishes the 2013-14 season at 18-10. Rockford Lutheran was set to face the winner of Wednesday’s Marian Central Catholic-Sycamore contest.
Tyler Carlson put up 38 points against the Crusaders, with John Pruett adding 15 in the losing cause.
“At halftime, we were real excited,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “The kids were pumped, and I almost think it crept into their mind like ‘we’re going to win this game’. Against a team like Rockford Lutheran, who are very well-coached and has so many guys who can put it in the hole, you just can’t have that mentality.”
Down 19-11 in the first, Pruett made a putback and Carlson managed a three-point play to close it to 19-16 with 28.4 seconds left to close the scoring.
Midway through the second quarter, the Crusaders sunk a trey to take a 26-25 lead with 4:51 to go, but KHS went on a torrid 12-0 run capped by a Carlson three with 12.8 to go.
Fueled by six straight made shots in a row, RL would turn a 41-33 hole into a 57-47 edge before a Carlson free throw with 3.2 ticks left in the frame made it 57-48 going into the fourth.
KHS had one last run left in it, with four free throws from Carlson and Pruett and a trifecta from Carlson to close within 57-55 with 5:51 remaining. However, RL stormed further out into the lead with a 14-0 run to go up 71-55 with 1:58 to go, cinching the game.
Despite the season-ending setback, Johnson could appreciate Knight postseason performances like Carlson’s two-game explosion.
“(Carlson) was just outstanding. You could tell he was determined. It’s not something that comes easy for Ty; he worked really hard,” Johnson said.
Carlson, who put up 30 points against the Cadets, was no stranger to the close contests with the Aurora rival, having himself sunk two foul shots with under two ticks left to beat Marmion on Jan. 14.
“I can’t say enough about my teammates; they were playing awesome,” Carlson said. “Drew hitting that shot? That kid’s clutch.”
In the Friday setting that revealed the Knights’ second regional plaque in three seasons. Marmion led early 14-4 before Kaneland put in the next six points to close within 14-10.
Eight key foul shots by Carlson, including four on a technical foul, along with two Pruett foul shots helped supply an eight-point advantage. Marmion hit a shot with 7.3 left to close it to 34-28 before halftime.
The Cadets owned the third quarter, outscoring the Knights 18-8. Carlson’s bucket with 3:03 left in the frame gave Kaneland a 42-39 lead, but Marmion put up the last seven points in the quarter to head to the fourth up 46-42.
While Marmion was a flawless 8-for-8 from the foul line in the fourth, Kaneland held its own. Pruett’s putback and free throw managed to tie the game with 2:17 at 56-56. Two foul shots by the Cadets with 1:53 left lifted the visitors to a 58-56 lead. A floater by Cole Carlson followed with 1:40 to go to tie matters again. David hit free throws with 42.3 left for a 60-58 lead, and Ryan David’s chance to up the lead with two foul shots of his own came up empty.
“(Drew) makes those two free throws, he makes the game winner. I say it all the time, he’s a four-year starter, captain, an All-State football player. You come to expect those things out of him,” Johnson said.
Cadet Jordan Glasgow hit a shot attempt with 10.5 left, paving the way for Tyler Carlson to dribble up and haphazardly pass to David just inside the arc for the game-winner.
“This is something that not a lot of people get to do, and for us to do it especially the way that we did, it’s insane,” David said. “It’s something that I’ll never forget. It’s awesome.”
There wasn’t a lot of time to think once the game was deadlocked again.
“We wanted to get a stop. We thought we could win it on the defensive end. Once they got a bucket, everything just kind of went crazy,” David said.
After the loss to Rockford Lutheran, Kaneland says goodbye to seniors David, Pruett, Tom Van Bogaert, Tyler Carlson, Eric Przbylski and Cole Carlson.
Photos from Kaneland/Marmion game (by Patti Wilk):
Photos from Kaneland/Rockford Lutheran game (by Patti Wilk):