by Mike Slodki
DeKalb boys basketball is surging lately, and not even Kaneland could stand in their way on Friday night.
Kaneland fell victim to DeKalbâ€™s defense and struggled to find its own offensive groove in the 50-37 loss.
DeKalb has gone on a tear after starting out 0-4 this season. They have now won nine contests in a row to improve to 11-6 (6-1 Western Sun Conference). Kaneland fell to 8-8 with a 2-5 mark in the Western Sun Conference.
For Kaneland, Dave Dudzinski had 13 points and Mike Pritchard added seven. Dudzinskiâ€™s post nemesis Jordan Threloff had a game-high 20.
â€œWe took poor shots and didnâ€™t make shots,â€ KHS coach Dennis Hansen said. â€œFor the most part, we played pretty good defense, but then we got behind and we had to force the issue. DeKalbâ€™s quick, and we needed to contain them.â€
Kanelandâ€™s evening began with seven of its first nine shots missing, but did gather four steals to keep DeKalb from extending its 8-4 lead after the first eight minutes.
A three-pointer by Ryan Blake and a baseline jumper by Chaon Denlinger closed to within 10-9 with 6:20 to go.
As the defensive battle continued, Dudzinski hit a jumper with 5:01 to go in the half to close within 15-11. Dudzinskiâ€™s three-point play and two foul shots by Pritchard chiseled into the Barbsâ€™ lead at halftime, 19-16.
The third quarter went all Barbs as they outscored KHS 16-9 while setting the tone with their defense. DeKalb scored the first seven points of the quarter before Pritchardâ€™s three with 5:11 left made it 26-19.
Kaneland fell behind 33-21 before Dudzinskiâ€™s two free throws with 59 seconds to go closed within 10. DeKalb led after three 35-25.
Ryley Baileyâ€™s three-pointer with 5:26 to go made a game of it again at 35-31, but DeKalbâ€™s 13-3 run, which concluded with a Threloff pair of foul shots with 1:02 left, cinched matters.
â€œWhen you struggle putting the ball in the basket and score 37 points, you canâ€™t win,â€ Hansen said. Kaneland is now 0-8 when scoring under 50 points.
In sophomore action, the Knights dropped a 57-42 result to visiting DeKalb on Thursday.
Taylor Andrews had 11 points, and Omarr Maldonado and Zach Ringhouse had 10 each.
The Knights host Rochelle in a WSC clash on Friday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. and visit Hampshire at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31.
Photo: Christian Dillon tries driving past DeKalb force Jordan Threloff during Fridayâ€™s home loss to DeKalb. Photo by John DiDonna