Four players in double figures lead to 55-50 win
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARKâ€”It took a quarter for the Knights boys basketball team to gain their footing on Thursday evening, but they righted themselves for the final three frames and held off a charging Yorkville squad to win 55-50.
The Knights improved to 4-2 with a 2-1 record in Western Sun Conference play.
The Foxes stormed out to a 13-6 lead ,which found Kaneland playing catch-up, but the Knights outscored Yorkville 15-4 in the second and 22-19 in the third, before Yorkville closed the deficit by two.
Chaon Denlinger of Kaneland supplied a team-high 13 points, while Donovan Williams had 12 points, all in the second half. Ryley Bailey added 12 (three three-pointers) and man-in-the-middle Dave Dudzinski had 10.
The Knights went 12-for-19 from the free throw line, while the Foxes went 14-for-16. Tavis Gibson of Yorkville had 18 points.
After falling behind by seven in the first, Kaneland stormed back to take a 16-15 lead with 4:44 remaining in the half and went up 21-17 at the break.
A Denlinger basket with 5:05 gave Kaneland its biggest lead of the game to that point at 29-20. Denlinger later hit a three-point play to go up 32-23 with 3:55 to go, but a mini-Fox rally closed within 34-32 with 2:14 left.
Baileyâ€™s five-point barrage at the end of the third gave the Knights a 43-36 lead.
Yorkville failed to go away and got the lead at 43-42 with 5:20 to go, but a Denlinger shot and two foul shots by Williams gave some breathing room at 47-42.
Williams would hit two more important free throws down the stretch to help secure the win.
â€œThe last games I havenâ€™t been much of a scoring threat,â€ Williams said. â€œIâ€™ve been told I should step up and score some points, so I just tried to do that.â€
With the score at 52-50, Dudzinski took the ball and made a reverse layup to give the Knights a 54-50 lead with 16.5 left to ice the game.
â€œYorkville had that zone, and they made us work for every bucket,â€ KHS coach Brian Johnson said. â€œThey competed and played hard, and youâ€™ve got to give it to Yorkville.â€
The boys now get an extended break until their entry into the historic Plano Christmas Classic on Saturday, Dec. 26.