Loss to DeKalb drops boys hoops to .500
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