All posts by Mike Slodki

Mike Slodki is a sports reporter for the Elburn Herald. You can reach him at MSlodki@elburnherald.com.

KHS boys earn second in inaugural NIB-12 indoor tussle

STERLING—At Westwood Track in Sterling, Ill., it was prime time to see how Kaneland boys track measured up against the rest of the Northern Illinois Big XII slate. As it turns out, when it comes to indoor clashes, Kaneland was pretty good.

With 81 team points, the Knights finished second only to Yorkville’s 88 point total.

Dixon (64), Sterling (57) and Rochelle (46) rounded out the top five. Ottawa, Geneseo, Sycamore, LaSalle-Peru, Streator, DeKalb and Morris filled out the six-through-12 slots.

The accolades came quite often for KHS, beginning with Matt Spitzerri’s third place in the triple jump (39-5.5) and Marshall Farthing’s fourth place in the same event (39 feet).

The 4×800 relay team for KHS finished first at eight minutes, 36.29 seconds.

In the 55 meter hurdles, anticipated assets Taylor Andrews won the race (7.95) and teammate Chad Swieca (8.62) finished third.

The 4x200m relay finished second at 1:35.76, just .13 behind the Dukes’ unit.

Tommy Whittaker finished second in the 400m dash with a time of 52.16, and classmate Trevor Holm finished first in the 1600m run with a time of 4:37.77.

Kaneland’s Curtis Secrest took fourth at 24.48 seconds in the 200m dash.

To close out the honors, KHS won the 4x400m relay event with a time of 3:35.16.

Softball hopes ‘young guns’ are consistent

Photo: Senior Rilee Vest will be an offensive leader for the 2011 Lady Knights softball team. Vest will also see more time behind the plate, catching for a pitching staff that head coach Brian Willis hopes will find some consistency. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Looks like the younger core of softball players will get a chance to get some more playing time in 2011.

Kaneland looks to avenge a regional championship loss to Sycamore and get back to the heights of a 20-11 season of a year ago.

They’ll have to replace three valuable seniors of a year ago, and 13 wins from former pitcher Delani Vest.

“We are still young, and only two seniors here,” said second-year coach Brian Willis. “This team will be a lot like last year’s team. Hopefully somebody will surprise with pitching. Offensively, we’ll be fine, defensively we’re a work in progress.”

Luckily, the two seniors on the team are noted contributors: Rilee Vest and Andrea Potts, whom Willis regarded as quality catchers who supply offense.

“We have pitchers that can throw the ball well, but we are looking for some consistency,” Willis said.

In the mix for the pitchers’ circle is junior Alexis Villarreal, junior Katy Dudzinski and sophomore Taylor Velazquez.

McKinzie Mangers plays the third baseman role as a junior, highly touted sophomore Allyson O’Herron is at shortstop, freshman Allison Miller debuts at second, and Potts at first.

The outfield shows the returning Samantha Hansen, a junior, while freshman Lanie Callaghan takes the centerfield slot and junior Brittney Miller in right.

Shoring up the infield is junior Sarah Kitz and freshman Lexi Roach.

Willis mentioned Miller and Hansen as players that eased into varsity roles last year and will make the most of their opportunities in 2011.

Kaneland hopes the lineup comes together in the midst of the new Northern Illinois Big XII arrangement.

“It gives us a lot to live up to, and I hope softball can play up to the level of the other sports who have done well in conference,” Willis said. “We’ve simplified a lot of things offensively and defensively, where they might have been too complicated a year ago. I think that’s going to help us.”

Lady Knights soccer splits first kicks

KANELAND—Looking to capitalize on strong finishes in consecutive seasons, the Lady Knights soccer crew began with a new look and an unfortunate opening result.

On Saturday, the Lady Knights began their very first Northern Illinois Big XII conference campaign west on Interstate 88 and lost 5-0 to the Geneseo Lady Leafs.

The Lady Knights rebounded with a 3-2 win at IMSA on Tuesday.

The Lady Knights were set to host Rosary on Wednesday and host NIB-12 crossover rival Ottawa on Thursday, March 24, at 4:30 p.m.

New-look Lady Knights try to start 2011 on right foot

Photo: Sam Wantuch participates in preseason ball drills for the Lady Knights. Photo by Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was a season to remember, and an ending to forget.

Kaneland would love to have the regional championship loss to Rosary High School back. The season which ended at 15-3-5 under soccer coach Scott Parillo and a cohesive senior unit had a chance for redemption in 2011.

However, it will have to come with quite the new look.

With last year’s celebrated senior core gone, as well as last year’s freshman sensation in goal Jordan Ginther (playing club soccer in Naperville, Ill.), the Lady Knights break ranks as fluid as can be.

“Jordan was classy enough to tell us in advance and we had time to cry and get that out of the way,” Parillo joked. “Hopefully, she’ll be back next year. We need to replace seven starters. They’re working hard out here, and it should be exciting.”

But, the solid strengths begin with team captain and senior Emily Heimerdinger at midfield/forward, who will go down as having one of the most prolific careers in KHS girls soccer history.

“She’s not a secret anymore. She was no longer a secret at the end of her freshman year. She’s going to be similar to a point guard out there. What she may not get in goals, she’ll maybe contribute in assists and she’ll be a real leader,” Parillo said.

Returnees joining Heimerdinger that are no stranger to big-game soccer include Amy Fabrizius at goalie/defender and Sophie Blank at goalie/midfield.

Returning to a bigger role after a 2010 with limited varsity action include the likes of Abby Bend (mid/forward), Sam Wantuch (defense/mid).

Also providing a spark are returning mid/fwd Katie Taylor, def/mid Anna Heinrichs and mid/foward Taylor White.

“The girls are up to the task, the coaches are up to the task, and we hope the girls gel as quickly as last year,” Parillo said.

New on the varsity ranks for Kaneland are def/mid Amber Winquist-Bailey, mid/forward Brittany Olson, mid/fwd Jessica Coia, mid/fwd Delaney Stryzek, midfielder Delaney Stryzek, goalie/midfielder Michelle Ortiz, midfielder/forward Shelby Fredricksen, def/mid Valerie Tockstein and defender Anne Marie Giese.

With two matches already under their belt, the Lady Knights begin the Northern Illinois Big XII East Division slate on Wednesday, April 6, against Sycamore. The regular season concludes on Tuesday, May 10, in Rochelle.

Negative charge: ACC ousts Kaneland boys

Photo: Kaneland’s Zach Ringhouse drives toward the basket for two of his nine points in the 63-53 season-ending loss to Aurora Central Catholic on March 2. Ringhouse is among six seniors departing due to graduation. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
SYCAMORE—Turns out, the 26th contest of the year for Knights boys hoops for 2010-11 was its last.

A season that had area faithful wondering how second-year coach Brian Johnson’s roster could adjust with losses like Dave Dudzinski and Ryley Bailey, ended with a 17-9 record after a 63-53 loss to third-seeded Aurora Central Catholic on March 2.

The Sycamore Regional loss meant the end of a wild season for the second-seeded Knights.

Aurora Central Catholic (15-13) would go on to defeat the top-seeded Rochelle Hubs in the Sycamore Regional final on Friday, 56-51, and was scheduled to face Marian Central Catholic on Wednesday in the Woodstock North Sectional.

“They’re a good team,” Johnson said. “They played some really strong programs, and got that nice lead in the second quarter.”

For Kaneland, Chaon Denlinger had a team-high 17 points, followed by 12 from Daniel Helm. Ryan Harreld had a game-high 22 points which included four three-pointers.

Using proficiency down low and with an outside touch, ACC went out to a 20-12 lead in the first quarter. Trever Heinle’s bucket closed within 20-14 with 53.0 second left. After a basket put the Chargers up 22-14, Heinle’s two foul shots with 25.2 left made it 22-16 before a trifecta at the buzzer gave ACC a 25-16 lead after the first eight minutes.

Two long-range threes by the Chargers gave ACC a chance to see its lead bloom to 36-25 with 3:05 to go, but a Denlinger trifecta with 1:17 to go cut the lead to eight. The Knights trailed 36-28 going into halftime.

A Tyler Callaghan bucket 32 seconds into the second half brought KHS to its closest margin of the quarter at 36-30. A late flurry by the Chargers, which included three baskets and a foul shot, extended the lead to 50-38 by the end of the third frame.

The fourth quarter started in an encouraging fashion for Kaneland as Denlinger’s offensive putback and a three-point play by Zach Ringhouse brought the deficit to 50-43 with 5:39 to go. However, ACC had its own three-point play and an additional free throw got the lead back up to 11. Kaneland would close it to 54-46 with 3:28 to go but could get no closer.

With the season-ending loss, the Knights say goodbye to Ringhouse, Andrew O’Herron, Callaghan, Matt Spitzzeri, Matt Cowans and Denlinger.

“Yeah, it was the first game of the regional and we lost, but the kids in there did some amazing things. People were telling me ‘you’re going to win eight games, it’s a rebuilding year, you’re going to have some hard times.’ They go out and win 17 games and go out as conference champions,” Johnson said.

KHS Knights win lucky 7th in a row

by Mike Slodki
YORKVILLE—Judging from the score by quarters, you could argue Yorkville outplayed the Knights boys basketball squad on Friday night.

However, the Knights outplayed the host Foxes with a vengeance for the first eight minutes, and showed grit in the final quarter, holding on to the lead.

When the final buzzer bellowed, the Knights emerged with a 53-52 win, offsetting the damage from last month’s win by the Foxes in Maple Park.

“They want you to play fast and make you turn the ball over,” KHS coach Brian Johnson, “Early on, we were on fire and we caught them off-guard a little. They put on the pressure and we started turning the ball over.”

With the win, Kaneland improved to 16-8 with a 7-2 record in Northern Illinois Big XII play. KHS has just one regular season game to go before the playoffs arrive.

Remarkably, since three losses from Jan. 11-18, Kaneland has now won seven contests in a row.

A relatively balanced scoring column had Chaon Denlinger with 13 points (three three-pointers) and Daniel Helm with 10 points, most from close range.

A potential saving grace for the Knights was an 11-for-16 night from the foul line.

The sophomore boys continued their campaign with a 51-46 takedown of Yorkville on Friday. The team has now won 23 of 24 games and 11 of 12 NIB-12 games, which wraps up the NIB-12 title.

The varsity contest got off to a blazing start as baskets by Denlinger, Helm and Drew David helped Kaneland get out to a 25-5 lead with 1:31 remaining in the first.

Kaneland had a 25-7 lead heading into the second quarter when points were a tad harder to come by.

The only field goal by the Knights in the second frame was a basket by Trever Heinle with 3:12 left to give Kaneland a 27-17 lead. Yorkville had closed the deficit before halftime to 29-21.

With a Denlinger bucket, the Knights’ lead grew to 34-25 with 3:31 to go, but Yorkville’s basket with five seconds left in the third cut the lead to 39-35.

With under two minutes to go and the Knights clinging to a 49-46 lead, a Heinle basket increased the lead to 51-46 with 1:34 to go in regulation.

A Yorkville bucket with 59.5 ticks left closed the margin to three, and another shot closed to within 51-50 with 27.2 remaining.

Zach Ringhouse was fouled and hit two foul shots with 13.1 to go.

“Coach was telling us not to turn the ball over,” Ringhouse said. “When we did do that, he told us to calm down and stay focused. I just wanted to stay as calm as possible and hit a few free throws.”

With a 53-50 lead and time running out, Yorkville’s flurry yielded a putback with 1.1 seconds to go, but the game ended at 53-52.

“We were just able to execute down the stretch. We turned the ball over some, but that’ll happen against a team like Yorkville,” Johnson said.

The lone game for Kaneland is for Northern Illinois Big XII East supremacy, scheduled for Friday, Feb. 25, in Rochelle at 7 p.m.

HIGH-OCTANE
Out of the highest point totals for individual quarters this season, the now red-hot Knights have put up two high marks in the last two games.

Jan. 28 (4th Q) 27 points
Feb. 15 (4th Q) 26 points
Feb. 18 (1st Q) 25 points

State-qualifier Boyle takes fourth at elite meet

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Senior Jimmy Boyle, who has been no slouch on the football field for Kaneland High School, now has something to remember his time as a wrestler by.

Namely, a fourth-place finish at the IHSA Class 2A State wrestling meet in the 285-pound weight class on Friday and Saturday.

His best season-ending finish behind him, Boyle knew it felt different down in Champaign, Ill., despite having traveled for the elite meet a year ago.

“It did feel different,” Boyle said. “I was talking with the coaches down there, and it was the feeling of any time could have been my last match.”

Boyle, who was a consistent cornerstone in the heavyweight category the last three years, began the weekend with a 1-0 decision over Riverside-Brookfield’s John Schraidt.

Boyle also took care of Schraidt in the first-round matchup a year ago, via pinfall in 3:33.

Next, Boyle fell to State runner-up Jeremy Brazil of Vernon Hills High School by pinfall in 4:23.

In perhaps the most gratifying bout for Boyle, he won his wrestleback with Marmion Academy’s Alex Fritz by 3-2 decision.

“I really wanted to win that one for a little revenge. He beat me on Senior Night and I really didn’t want that to be the end,” Boyle said.

LaSalle-Peru’s Jason Huebbe defeated Boyle by 6-0 decision in the third-place encounter.

Ross Ferraro of Lemont is the champion after beating Brazil, 4-3.

With his wrestling time finished and Boyle eyeing a football trade in college, the senior feels he made huge strides on the mat.

“I think my conditioning and confidence really improved. I was able to try new things and I really opened up,” Boyle said.

Boyle is looking at Division II St. Joseph’s College in Indiana, now soon to be home of fellow KHS athletes Tyler Callaghan and Andie Strang.

With the end of the campaign, Kaneland wrestling says goodbye to seniors
Boyle, Kyle Davidson (2010 State qualifier), Tyler Esposito, Zach Ganz,
Keagan Mattes, Cody McGinnis, Nick Michels, Chris Sabal and Cory Taber.

THE BOYLE FILES
CASE No. 285
2010-2011: 38-8; 4th in State for Class 2A
2009-2010: 41-5
2008-2009: 30-10

Boyle breaks out at wrestling Sectional

Photo: Kaneland’s Jimmy Boyle (285 lbs) is no stranger to Champaign, Ill., having gone to 2010 State. File Photo

KANELAND—It’s familiar territory for Knights heavyweight Jimmy Boyle.

Familiar but exceptional territory for the senior, who now goes to the IHSA Class 2A State tournament at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Ill., this weekend.

Boyle goes down for the second consecutive year after a second-place showing at the Rochelle Sectional on Friday and Saturday.

Boyle, now with a 36-6 mark on the season, began the gathering with a 3-1 win in overtime over Ottawa’s Robby Marotta. He then beat Marian Central Catholic’s Scott Taylor by 3-0 count in another overtime before losing to LaSalle-Peru’s Jason Huebbe, 3-1, in the championship final.

The only other finalist for Kaneland was Nick Michels at 171 pounds, who lost in the third-place matchup to Freeport’s Armond Hollins by a 7-2 count. Michels began the sectional with an 8-2 win over Washington’s Dan Massengill, and then lost to Marengo’s Mark Hendricks in a 4-2 decision.

Michels then beat Sterling’s Jeremy Galvan, 14-8, to go into the third-place final.

For Boyle, his first test this weekend is Riverside-Brookfield’s John Schraidt, with the winner facing Vernon Hills’ Jeremy Brazil.

Andrews, Callaghan and Serpa partake in busy signing month

Top photo: Flanked by family members, Blake Serpa (left) and Tyler Callaghan (right) sign their commitments at Central Michigan and St. Joseph’s College on Feb. 9. Taylor Andrews (below) signed with West Point on Tuesday. Photos by Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—How good was the Class of 2011 group that kept finding the endzone for Kaneland football?

Ask three very lucky institutions of higher learning.

On Feb. 9, Kaneland High School was host to signings by Blake Serpa to Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich., and Tyler Callaghan to Division II St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind. Tuesday featured Taylor Andrews commiting to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Family, various teachers, Kaneland High School Athletics Director Leigh Jaffke and KHS varsity football coach Tom Fedderly were present for both occasions.

For Serpa, whose interest in the Mid-American Conference school dated back to last year, feels that a productive senior year helped his cause and prospects for the next level.

“There’s not the extra (weight) on my shoulders about where I’m going to go, so it’s nice that the pressure was off,” Serpa said. “Defensive end is where they really want me. There could be some packages where I play tight end, but I’m not too worried about it.”

Teammate Callaghan hits the institution that housed the Bears training camp home from 1944-1974.

“I went there and I liked it right away,” Callaghan said. “It’s a small school right off the interstate, and it’s nice to have that close atmosphere.”

Callaghan is expected to contribute at tight end and major in biology.

“I hope to be a big part of the offense, and this system helped a lot. The offense we run is so dynamic,” Callaghan said.

Flanked in Army gear and accompanied by family and Sgt. Jason Hardman, Andrews is glad to see the next phase of his life come into focus.

“I was really looking toward ROTC in college, and I was really set on Wheaton College for awhile. Then West Point wanted me to come out for a visit two weeks ago,” Andrews said. “The first night, I knew I wanted to be there; the whole legacy of everything.”

Andrews’ eventual position is to be determined.

Girls basketball ride stopped by group of Warriors

Photo: Kaneland’s Emma Bradford shows maximum effort toward the hoop during the 30-27 loss to Wheaton Academy on Monday. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—The Lady Knights saw their regular season end on Thursday in Rochelle by a final of 61-52, and then with a 30-27 loss on Monday at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, Ill., saw their playoff quest come to an end.

With the 30-27 loss to Wheaton Academy in the St. Francis Regional, Kaneland’s season ended at 13-16, its best end mark since 2007. Wheaton Academy was set to face Montini Catholic on Wednesday at St. Francis High School as of press time.

But the opportunities seemed to be there for the taking. The problem was finishing those opportunities.

The Lady Knights, who also were eliminated by the Warriors four years ago, were just 10-for-50 from the field, and six-for-25 from the charity stripe.

Notwithstanding, the Lady Knights were still leading the hotly contested game in the fourth quarter, and led as late as two minutes, one second left in regulation.

“We were right there,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We’ve been shooting like 63 percent on the season for free throws, and we come in and go (six-for-25), it just seemed like the whole team was tense on their shots today. First half, I just thought it’s the jitters and we’ll get over it.”

The Lady Knights’ largest lead in the game was just four points, but took the lead late on an Evers foul shot, 26-25, with 121 ticks left to play.

Wheaton Academy then proceeded to make four consecutive free throws to take a 29-26 lead with 1:27 left. Two attempts at three-pointers went unsuccessful, but Emma Bradford eventually hit the back end of two foul shot attempts with 16.8 seconds left to cut the lead to two.

When Allyson Witt (15 points) hit the first of two shots with 13.1 ticks left to make it 30-27, KHS set the final possession in motion with a chance to tie to no avail.

In the early outset of the contest, Andie Strang’s three-pointer and an Alderman bucket gave Kaneland an early 8-4 lead before Wheaton Academy tied it at 8 before the end of the quarter. Bradford’s offensive putback with 2:49 left in the half gave KHS a 14-13 lead. However, Bradford’s shot would be the only one made out of 21 attempts from the second to third frames. Alderman’s basket with 2:30 left in the third broke the drought and brought KHS to within 17-16. A Strang foul shot tied the score before the end of the third at 19-all. The largest lead for the Lady Knights was 25-21 with 4:43 left, thanks to an Evers free throw.

Against Rochelle, KHS was paced by Kelly Evers’ 15 points and 10 from Emily Heimerdinger.

The sophomores concluded a remarkable campaign with a 48-43 win at Rochelle to finish at 25-1 and 10-0 in NIB-12 play. A balanced attack was led by Sarah Grams’ 10 points.

With the conclusion of the 2010-11 season, the best for KHS girls basketball in five years, the Kaneland program bids adieu to seniors Andie Strang, Kris Bowen, Emily Heimerdinger, Nicki Ott and Trinae Coachman.

“They were outstanding. A lot of kids wouldn’t have put the time in after winning five games a year ago. They not only put time in but they got better and made sure our younger kids did, as well,” Colombe said.

Boys hoops engineer regular season sweep of Barbs, defeat Streator

KANELAND—When you hold an opponent to a grand total of zero points in a quarter, you know you’re doing something right.

A 13-0 third frame in Maple Park on Friday night meant big things—namely a victory and a regular season sweep of rival DeKalb, 46-43.

Tuesday brought a 59-51 win over crossover opponent Streator.

Coach Brian Johnson’s crew now sits at 15-8 with a 6-2 record in Northern Illinois Big XII conference play.

Leading the DeKalb-targeted charge was Chaon Denlinger’s 20 points and freshman Daniel Helm’s 10 points.

DeKalb’s Brian Sisler led his team with 11 points.

The Barbs took a 12-8 lead after the first eight minutes and took a 23-19 lead into halftime before the troubles started. Kaneland’s 13-0 run that lasted the duration of the third quarter gave the Knights a 32-23 advantage.

While DeKalb regained its collective footing, it wasn’t enough as the Knights held on for the three-point win.

Helm had a team-high 18 against visiting Streator, and Zach Ringhouse added 12.

Noteworthy details this week also included Kaneland learning of its postseason assignment. On Wednesday, March 2, Kaneland (No. 2) will play Aurora Central Catholic (No. 3) at Sycamore High School, with the winner dueling with Rochelle, Sycamore or IMSA on Friday, March 4, in the championship.

KHS wrestlers execute winning combination, take 2nd place at regional

Photo: Kaneland’s Cody McGinnis (160 lbs) executes a take-down during the IHSA Class 2A Regional at Sycamore on Saturday. McGinnis won this match against Wheaton Academy. Photo by John DiDonna

SYCAMORE—When KHS wrestling coach Monty Jahns mentioned that his team had an eye on the postseason and may be better equipped for tournament settings, he wasn’t kidding.

Despite only nine wins in dual meet competition, the Knights wrestling roster stepped up its collective game just in time. A 205-point output at the IHSA Class 2A Sycamore Regional on Saturday was good for second place in the eight-team regional.

Kaneland advanced 11 out of 14 wrestlers to Saturday, Feb. 12, and the Rochelle Sectional.

Sycamore, with a total of 231.5, took the regional. After Kaneland, Rochelle finished third with 113 points, and Burlington Central finished fourth with 104 points. Dixon (76), Hampshire (67), Freeport (43.5) and Wheaton Academy (25) rounded out the bottom four.

Regional champs for Kaneland began with 103-pound Stephen Gust, who beat Hampshire’s Alex Feltz in a 3-1 encounter to take the title.

Sonny Horn, at 125-pounds, beat Hampshire’s Tyler Espino in the final by a 3-2 score. Teammate Dan Goress took the 130-pound final over Dixon’s Kylain Lally by pinfall in 1:52.

Nick Michels, at 171-pounds, won the grouping thanks to a 5-3 overtime win over Sycamore’s Michael Madden.

Jimmy Boyle rounded out the first-place finishes with a 4:48 pin of Rochelle’s Nate Rodefelt.

Other championship finalists included Esai Ponce at 119 pounds, who was defeated by Christopher Kerwin of Sycamore, 7-3. Chris Sabal made it to the 145-pound final, where he lost to Steven Lalowski of Sycamore in 1:03. Keagan Mattes rode to the finals but lost to Sycamore’s Jake Davis in 3:52.

Cody McGinnis, at 160-pounds, beat Rochelle’s Kane Rodrigue, 3-2, to finish in third. Teammate Ben Kovalick beat Rochelle’s Logan Sutton by 15-2 final.

Andrew Essex also finished fourth in 140-pound action.

Rivalry Saturday tips to Kaneland boys

Photo: Kaneland’s Trever Heinle tries a junior skyhook in recent boys basketball action. File Photo

KANELAND—For the Knights, good things have come in fours lately.

The Kaneland boys improved to 13-8 (5-2 Northern Illinois Big XII) with a 48-38 win over the visiting Sycamore Spartans on Friday in Maple Park.

For Kaneland, the last setback occurred on Jan. 18 against Hampshire.

Unique to the clash of rivals was the fact that only four Knights entered the scoring column, as well as only four Spartans.

Leading the way for KHS was Chaon Denlinger with 16 points, followed by Trever Heinle’s 13.

The Knights went seven-of-nine from foul line territory.

Kaneland led 13-10 after one quarter and 23-16 at the half, before taking a 37-28 lead at the end of three frames.

The sophomores improved to 20-1 with a 50-43 win over the Spartans.

On tap for KHS is hosting DeKalb on Friday, Feb. 11.

Strang to keep running at St. Joseph’s

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Those that compete in college cross-country and track compete at a higher level.

That being the case, Kaneland High School senior Andie Strang has been doing that since 2007.

Strang officially committed to run cross-country and track for Division II St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind.

Housed in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, St. Joseph’s College was home to the Chicago Bears summer training camp from 1944-1974.

Now in the midst of basketball season for the Lady Knights, Strang has an eye on the future, ready to duplicate her success for Puma athletics.

Strang has also zoned in on her future career.

“I want to go into pre-medicine,” said Strang. “They have a tremendous program. The first thing I was looking for was majors, and it was definitely positive with that school.”

Strang has been a reliable entry for Kaneland athletics and has often found herself in the postseason thick of things in the fall and spring.

The senior qualified for the State final in cross-country her freshman year, and has qualified for State in track, competing in the 800 meter run three times and the 4x800m relay twice.

“I love the 800 here, and I think I’m going to have to do something a bit longer, just because I don’t have enough leg speed for 800 to be my specialty. I think I’ll have more success in something a little bit longer,” Strang said.

Strang is well aware that things will be different in Puma-land.

“It’s a whole other level of competition. Being a D-II school, I’m excited to see what it has, and they compete against a lot of smaller schools. I think it’ll be fun, though,” Strang said.

Strang feels St. Joseph’s is a great venue and feels like home.

“I love the coaches, I love the campus, I love the girls on the team. It’s a small school and that all came together.“

KHS bowlers see season end in Roselle

ROSELLE—When DeKalb and Lake Park are in your bowling sectional, it could make for a long morning.

Despite a valiant effort and amassing more pins than five other squads, Kaneland’s bowling season came to an end on Saturday in Roselle at the Lake Park Sectional.

Advancing to State was Lake Park (5,693) and DeKalb (5,670). Kaneland finished 13th out of 18 units with a total of 4,175, 14 pins better than Streamwood. The Lady Knights finished 12th out of 18 a year ago in Sycamore.

The top overall bowler was Lake Park’s Jessica Fuja with 1,311 pins felled. Out of the Northern Illinois Big XII schools, DeKalb senior Brandi Underwood left with 1,252 pins.

The State gathering is on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 11-12, at Cherry Bowl Lanes in Rockford, Ill.

The Lady Knights bid farewell to seniors Colleen Ryan and Holly Thomas, with the end of the 2010-11 season at hand.

Lady Knights finishing regular season strong

Photo: Marina Schaefer is seeing valuable minutes, as a freshman, for an improving Kaneland girls basketball squad that beat Yorkville and Marengo in road excursions this week. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Monday featured a textbook case of learning from your mistakes.

After dropping a home matchup with Yorkville back on Jan. 7, the Lady Knights hoops unit traveled along Game Farm Road and secured a hard-fought 45-39 victory.

The Lady Knights then followed that up with a double-overtime victory at Marengo on Tuesday night, 63-56.

With the victory (rescheduled from Friday) and the decision over the Lady Indians, the Lady Knights improved to 13-14 (3-6 Northern Illinois Big XII Conference).

Kaneland went 13-for-35 from the field and a clutch 15-for-19 from the free throw line.

Emily Heimerdinger had 12 points and four steals in the winning effort, while post weapon Kelly Evers contributed 12 points and five boards.

Andie Strang had 10 points, including two key three-pointers, and five boards.

“I think the third quarter helped a lot,” Strang said. “I felt like we had really good effort all the way through, and we kept focus the whole time.”

Baskets by Evers, Heimerdinger and Strang produced an 11-6 lead for KHS after one quarter of play.

A second-quarter struggle ensued as points were at a premium. Evers landed the only shot from the field for KHS, and two foul shots by Strang increased the lead to 15-6 with 4:40 remaining in the half, before the Lady Foxes closed to within 15-12 going into the locker room.

Yorkville powered back to take an 18-17 lead with 4:02 to go, but Strang’s perimeter prowess yielded a trey for a 20-18 lead with 3:34 remaining. Strang’s second three-pointer with 1:26 to go gave KHS a 27-22 lead. Yorkville returned with a three-pointer 26 seconds later, before Trinae Coachman’s basket made it 29-25 with 38.1 left. A long two-point shot closed the game to 29-27 before the third-quarter buzzer.

Yorkville eventually fought back to tie matters at 31-31 with 5:20 remaining in regulation. Kaneland would take the lead for good when Emma Bradford made the second of two shots from the line for a 32-31 lead with 5:03 left. Heimerdinger, Tesa Alderman, Evers and Bradford would all connect on baskets from the charity stripe, and coupled with an Alderman trifecta, saw the lead balloon to 10 points with under a minute to go.

“Rebounding and defense really came through tonight (22 for Kaneland),” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We shot the ball well in the fourth quarter from the free throw line. Overall, there’s a lot of bright spots. There’s a few things we’ve got to work on with a couple games to go here.”

Against host Marengo, Kaneland saw 17 points from Nicki Ott and 12 from Evers. Evers also gathered 12 boards.

Kaneland trailed 29-25 at halftime before, and 39-35 after three frames before tying the game at 50 by regulation’s end. After the first OT ended at 52-all, KHS pulled away with an 11-6 second overtime.

In sophomore action throughout the week, Kaneland (23-1) needed double overtime to bump Yorkville, 39-34, and the freshmen vanquished Ottawa on Monday by a 37-31 margin and improved to 22-0.

Kaneland has a lone regular-season contest remaining: a road trip to Rochelle on Thursday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m., before heading to the IHSA Class 3A regional at St. Francis High School in Wheaton. The Lady Knights are set to battle Wheaton Academy on Monday, Feb. 14, at 7:30 p.m. As of press time, the Warriors are 9-15.

KHS says never say die against Rochelle, beats Geneseo

Photo: Knight Zach Ringhouse provided a needed spark with a 16-point display during the 65-63 comeback win over Rochelle. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—After the hysterics of Friday night, it was conceivable the Knights would have a letdown.

Instead, Kaneland basketball defeated crossover rival Geneseo in Maple Park on Saturday afternoon, 54-45, after coming back from a 19-point deficit against road opponent Rochelle on Friday and winning 65-63.

KHS now sits at 12-8 (4-2 Northern Illinois Big XII), exactly where it was a year ago after 20 contests played.

Facing Geneseo, Daniel Helm and Zach Ringhouse both paced Kaneland with a game-high 16 points. KHS also helped its cause by hitting 17-of-20 shots from the foul line. Ringhouse was eight-for-eight from the line.

The Knights went out to a 15-11 lead after one and 33-22 at the halftime. The lead remained steady at 45-34 heading into the final frame.

Lined up against NIB-12 East rival Rochelle, Helm led the team with 16 points, followed by Ringhouse with 14, Trever Heinle with 13 and Kory Harner with 10.

Rochelle’s sharpshooter Matt Rosenwinkel had a game-high 22.

The game looked early on like one with its share of points, and after Harner’s bucket with 1:09 to go in the first gave the Knights a 15-13 edge, Rochelle’s perimiter game took over.

The Hubs hit their sixth consecutive shot attempt with 30.2 ticks left to take a 19-15 lead and bring the first frame to an end.

Kaneland struggled in the second quarter, hitting only three shots from the field and saw Rochelle stretch its lead to 31-21 by the halftime buzzer.

Rochelle expanded its lead in the third quarter at 46-27 with 2:51 to go, its largest of the game. With 1:16 remaining in the third, Rochelle went up 50-33 before a basket by Harner and a shot by Ringhouse closed it to 50-38 at the end of the quarter.

That set the stage for a fourth quarter that had KHS outscore Rochelle 27-13.

Kaneland brought its clutch play in the early stages, using a Ringhouse trey, a Heinle pair of foul shots, two Helm baskets and a Chaon Denlinger basket to close within 54-49 in a space of 1:27.

Heinle connected on a bucket with 3:34 to go, closing it to 56-55 and giving the Knights faithful a reason to believe.

Rochelle got to the foul line and converted on its shots, increasing its lead to 62-57 with 1:11 remaining.

Denlinger sunk two foul shots to make it 62-59 wth 53.3 to go, while Rochelle hit the second of two shots from the line to go up 63-59 with 28.5 ticks left.

Ringhouse sunk a rainbow from long distance to make it 63-62 with 19.5 remaining.

Then, Heinle stole the ball from the Hubs and put it in to go up 64-63 with 13.5 left, taking the lead for the first time since the first quarter.

“We wanted to get a trap in the corner, and that’s what we did,” Heinle said. “ I got the steal, went up strong and put the game away. Coach told us to work on three things before the game: rebounding, taking care of the ball and defensive intensity, and in the second half we did that and pulled it out.”

But Rochelle quickly got the ball down the court for a lay-up try that missed. Helm was soon fouled and went to the line and made one of two for a 65-63 lead with 3.2 left, and the clock ran out after a scramble on the floor.

“We got a spark with Zach Ringhouse, and we were able to cut it to 11 and we got some confidence,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “We played with a lot of passion and a lot of heart, and I give them a lot of credit.”

Kaneland now gears up for Saturday, Feb. 5, against Sycamore at 4:30 p.m.

Wrestling defeated by Marmion Academy

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—When you have evenings like Thursday against Marmion Academy, you have to look for bright spots.

A 59-15 loss in dual action to the Cadets brought the Knights to 9-15 in dual competition, with IHSA regionals looming this weekend.

Already finding themelves behind 35-0, Kyle Davidson earned the first collected points for Kaneland after a 7-6 win in the 152-pound matchup.

Davidson had a 3-2 lead before having to come from behind in the final two minutes with a takedown, and withstood a near-fall at the end to secure the win.

“I was down one, and I knew I had to score,” Davidson said. “I muscled him over and got my turn, looked at the clock and just rode it out.”

Keagan Mattes earned a pinfall in the 189-pound matchup in just 40 seconds.

Ben Kovalick won via forfeit in the 215-pound slot to get the final win for Kaneland.

With the regular season done, Kaneland experienced a dual meet dropoff from a year ago, when the Knights finished 17-9 in 2009-10.

However, the Knights can make hay in the IHSA Class 2A Regional, set for Saturday, Feb. 5, at Sycamore High School. Accompanying schools in the eight-team group are Burlington Central, Dixon, Freeport, Hampshire, Rochelle, Sycamore and Wheaton Academy. Worthy grapplers to make it out of Saturday’s tussle head to Rochelle for the sectional on Saturday, Feb. 12.

Bowling’s regular-season end features wins over Geneva, IMSA

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With the 2010-11 regular season in a true homestretch, the only way to begin a busy week of competition for Kaneland bowling turned out to be the most ideal.

The Lady Knights improved to 3-12 on the season with their second consecutive victory over Geneva on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2,354-2,259. Kaneland followed that up with a win on Thursday, Jan. 27, at IMSA, by a final of 2,369-2,087.

Kaneland also lost to visiting Lisle on Monday in the regular season finale by a final of 2,742-2,216.

Leading the way against the Lady Vikings was Holly Thomas with a 489 series and Morgan Wojciechowski with a 485 accompanying series.

Top games were bowled by Thomas at 192 and Wojciechowski at 188.

Geneva’s Nicole Missele bowled a meet-high 525 series.

Taking the fight to the Lady Titans was Thomas with a 518 series and Seleana Isaacs with a 434 series. Thomas, with efforts of 199 and 180, produced the high games for Kaneland.

Facing Lisle, high series were bowled by Isaacs at 493 and Thomas at 392.

Coach Jim McKnight said he was pleased that the team was able to garner two late-season wins and thinks that could mean good things.

“The sectional has 18 teams, and some very tough schools,” McKnight said. “We absolutely have to bowl our best and see what happens. We have a lot of young bowlers, and the inexperience might work to their advantage, and the girls might not be worried about how loud it’s going to be and how the atmosphere is going to be.”

Sophomore Wojciechowski is eager to see what the sectional holds after a productive rookie campaign.

“I think I’m doing pretty good,” Wojciechowski said. “It’s my first year; I started out well and somehow I ended up really good. I’m going to try not to get nervous because then I’ll feel like I’ll be a little bit worse.”

Closing out the 15 dual-meet season this past Monday and conference on Saturday, all that’s left are postseason aspirations, in the form of IHSA sectionals at Brunswick Zone in Roselle, Ill., on Saturday, Feb. 5, at 9 a.m.

Hosted by Lake Park High School, the 18-school meet will feature NIB-12-mates DeKalb and Sycamore, and familiar opponents like Jacobs, Dundee-Crown, Geneva, Huntley, St. Charles East and St. Charles North.

A year ago, Kaneland finished 12th of 18 at the Sycamore Sectional (won by DeKalb) with 4,611 pins to its total.

Lady Knights blown over by Leafs, get regional draw

Photo: Trinae Coachman battles for posession in the 62-50 loss on Saturday afternoon to the Geneseo Lady Leafs. Photo by Mary Herra

KANELAND—It’s over and done with, but Kaneland girls basketball would have loved to end its home schedule with a win on Saturday afternoon.

As it stands, the Lady Knights, who have shown strides this season as a team, fell to the visting NIB-12 West Geneseo Maple Leafs in a 62-50 matchup.

The Lady Knights are now 11-14 after their lone contest this week with a 2-6 record in NIB-12 play.

Leading the way for KHS was Kelly Evers, who had 18 points, a game-high, and Emily Heimerdinger with 15 points.

Heimerdinger sunk four three-pointers in the contest.

Kaneland was 15-for-53 from the field and 15-for-21 from the foul line.

Allison Weiss of Geneseo had 16 points.

KHS led 14-12 after the first quarter, but fell victim to a 21-9 second quarter and fell behind 33-23 at the half. Kaneland cut it to 47-39 after the third quarter and even cut the margin to eight points in the fourth, but hitting only three-of-16 shots hindered the comeback chances.

The sophomores improved to 22-1 with an impressive 35-27 win over Geneseo. Sarah Grams led the charge with nine points.

The freshmen improved to 19-0 with a 39-26 win over Geneseo, helped by Lauren Zick’s 10.

Lady Knights basketball was also given its postseason assignment in the Class 3A playoffs.

The Lady Knights will travel to Wheaton for the St. Francis Regional on Monday, Feb. 14, as the fourth seed and play Wheaton Academy, the fifth seed, at 7:30 p.m.

As of press time, the Lady Warriors are 8-14.

Girls hoops double (OT) trouble for SYC in 47-39 win

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—If you are going to play some extra basketball, you might as well get a win out of the deal.

Such was the case on Friday night in Maple Park.

Kaneland allowed Sycamore to climb back into the game in the fourth quarter, and was felled by a Kate Berlinski three-pointer with 20.3 ticks left in the first overtime. But Kelly Evers was fed a pass by Andie Strang down low for a lay-in off the glass to tie the score with under a second left and force a second OT.

Kaneland then fought its way to the line and hit 12-of-16 foul shots in the second extra frame to key a 47-39 win.

“It all just happened so fast,” Evers said. “We were trying to work the ball, and my teammates helped out so much; it was an amazing pass by Andie.”

With the win over the rival Lady Spartans, the rival Lady Knights improved to 11-13 with a 2-6 record in the Northern Illinois Big XII.

Evers’ astounding night ended with 19 points and seven rebounds. Nicki Ott had nine points.

Overall, Kaneland was 12-for-44 from the field, and 22-for-33 from the foul line.

Meanwhile, Lake Kwaza of Sycamore put up a game-high 20 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter.

“She wasn’t going to let that team go down,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “She’s a great competitor, and our girls stepped up and recognized that and she wasn’t going to beat us 1-on-5. We responded pretty well defensively.”

In a low-scoring first half, the Lady Knights trailed 11-7 going into the break. An aggressive approach and baskets by Emma Bradford and Evers more than doubled the scoring output to that point and gave KHS a 16-14 lead with 5:50 to go in the third.

A foul shot by Ott was soon followed by an Evers bucket with 1:57 to go in the frame to give KHS a six-point edge before the Lady Spartans closed to within 21-17 by the end of the quarter.

Sycamore tied the score at 23-all with 2:31 to go on a Kwaza putback, but McKinzie Mangers’ layup gave KHS a 25-23 edge with 59.8 ticks left before Berlinski’s two foul shots tied the score with 45.7 left to force the first overtime. Mangers’ three-try by the end was off the mark.

Down 30-28, Ott hit three of four free throws to take a 31-30 lead with 36.6 to play before Sycamore hit the trifecta to set up the final sequence in OT number one.

Trailing early in the second extra quarter, Evers hit a shot to tie the game and Strang sunk two free throws to take the lead for good at 39-37 with 1:44 to go. Emily Heimerdinger, Evers and Strang supplied the rest of the foul shots to cruise to the victory.

In the sophomore tilt, Kaneland improved to 21-1 with a 44-21 win over the Lady Spartans.

Freshmen action during the week had Kaneland beat DeKalb on Thursday, 34-23, to improve to 16-0.

The varsity troops tangle with visiting Geneseo on Saturday, Jan. 29, at 12:30 p.m.

Kaneland wrestling earns fourth at NIB-12 showcase

Photo: Keagan Mattes took third place to help the Knight effort on Saturday. Kaneland took fourth as a team thanks in large part to Mattes’ performance in the 189-pound group. Photo by Mary Herra

ROCHELLE—Like KHS coach Monty Jahns said a week ago, Kaneland wrestling might just be a better tournament team than a dual team at this point.

That was put into action with the Knight grapplers leaving the Rochelle mats with a top-third finish at the first-ever Northern Illinois Big XII tournament.

With 161 points, Kaneland earned fourth out of 12 teams. Sterling hit a total of 219, edging Sycamore by a half-point. DeKalb was third with 170.5 points, ahead of KHS.

Yorkville was fifth at 154, followed by Morris at 125.5.

Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, Dixon , Rochelle, Ottawa and Streator rounded out the rest of the lineup.

The five top finishers for the Knights have been proven stalwarts through the campaign thus far.

Dan Goress took home the championship for 130, thanks to a 12-5 decision over DeKalb’s Evan Jones.

Goress went to the final after a 10-6 win over Sterling’s Dylan Devers.

In the 152-pound bracket, Kyle Davidson lost a 14-4 major decision to Sterling’s Stevie Dewitt. Davidson reached the final with an 8-2 win over DeKalb’s Robbie Miller and a previous pin over Rochelle’s Bradley Mendez in two minutes, 11 seconds.

At 215, Ben Kovalick got to the finals by pinning DeKalb’s Alex Roach in 3:09 and Sycamore’s Matt Copple in 2:03, before losing to Sterling’s George Canales by 12-8 decision.

Third-place nods were gathered by heavyweight Jimmy Boyle and Keagan Mattes in the 189 group.

Boyle beat Rochelle’s Nate Rodefelt by 1-0 decision and Sterling’s Curtis Lilly in the third-place match, 3-0.

Mattes went to the third-place match by beating DeKalb’s Cullen Banta , 8-2, and solved Sycamore’s Jacob Davis in an 8-4 affair.

Where the Redbird golfs: Guyton to ISU in fall

Photo: Hayley Guyton, one of the more celebrated KHS golfers in recent memory, has committed to Illinois State University golf for the 2011-12 year. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Lady Knights senior Hayley Guyton is set to move from trying to best Barbs and Foxes to getting the upper hand on Bears and Braves.

Such is life in the Missouri Valley Conference circuit of women’s golf, soon to be joined by Guyton.

The Sugar Grove resident signed a letter of intent this month to compete for Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. in the fall.
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Guyton will move closer to her previous home in the Decatur, Ill. area and remains relatively close to her current school district.

“I know I’m the type of person to get homesick and I still have a lot of friends and family down there,” Guyton said. “I know people going to school in Bloomington, Ill., so it just seemed like the perfect fit. It’s a home away from home and will be more comfortable.”

Head womens’ coach Darby Sligh is eager for what Guyton can bring to Normal.

“We’re incredibly excited to have her. She brings a wealth of experience, and it’s always nice to bring a little local flair to our golf program,” she said.

Guyton, who competed on the Kaneland boys squad under coach Mark Meyer, is ready for adjustments inherent with playing on the girls circuit.

“It’ll be different practicing with the girls all the time. It’s a great group of girls and I’m really excited to play with them,” Guyton said.

Guyton brings the sixth-lowest IHSA Statetournament score of 145, acheived as a junior when she finished second overall, and an eighth-place Class AA finish this past fall.

“I need to be more consistent and hit the ball further, because I want to travel my freshman year, I think that’d be really great. It’ll all help me in dealing with the college pressure,” Guyton said.

In the meantime, Guyton is taking a break from the links aside from the occasional lesson and weightlifting.

It’s a welcome calm leading to the next phase of Guyton’s golf story.

Davidson, Boyle key in KHS winning own Flott Invite

Photo: Jimmy Boyle takes care of business during the Flott Invite held at KHS on Saturday. Boyle ended the tournament as 285-pound champ. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—While the Knights sit with a dual record they’d no doubt like to improve, gatherings like the annual Margaret Flott Memorial Tournament hosted by KHS do a nice job of getting headed in the right direction.

On the strength of two first places, five second places and a third place, KHS had a winning total of 203.5 team points, besting Marengo’s 148.65 and Prairie Central’s 129.

Kaneland also got a Northern Illinois Big XII dual in and fell to Morris, 33-21, on Thursday.

The Knights’ 9-15 mark will not be rested on, according to KHS coach Monty Jahns.

“We have an eye on postseason, and not as bad a team as our record shows,” Jahns said. “It’s hard to come back from injuries we’ve had, but we’re probably a better tournament team than a dual meet team.”

In the 103-pound group, Steve Gust took a 15-0 technical fall from Cory Graham to get into the final, and lost the final of Elgin’s Nathan Andresen in an 8-4 decision.

At 130 pounds, Dan Gorress took care of Addison Trail’s Eric Feliciano with a 6-4 decision before losing to St. Joe’s Bryant Roby in the final by 1-0 decision.

At 140 pounds, Mark Southern beat Burlington Central’s Brad Roberts in 62 seconds but lost to Prairie Central’s Joey Reis by a 13-11 count to advance to the final.

Kyle Davidson emerged from Saturday as 152-pound titleholder after wins over Addison Trail’s Silvestre Flores (:30 fall), Marian Central Catholic’s Joe Klinger (4:20 fall) and Marengo’s Sam Klenske (14-3 major decision).

“At this weight class, every kid can be great, real strong and quick,” Davidson said.

Nick Michels made it into the 171-pound final by beating St. Joe’s Adam Goetz in 4:50, but lost the final to Marengo’s Jon Goerke.

Michels credits conditioning in helping him get through the longer matches.

“We have one of the best conditioned teams around. Our coach really stresses it, and I know I can get that takedown in the last period,” Michels said.

In 189-pound acton, Keagan Mattes took care of BC’s Brent Sunderlage in an 8-5 encounter, but lost to champ Jared Koch of Marian by 2:55 pinfall.

Ben Kovalick advanced to the 215-pound final by pinning Marengo’s Andrei Doughtery in three minutes flat, but lost the final in overtime, 3-2, to St. Joe’s Malcolm Watson.

Kaneland’s Jimmy Boyle took home the 285-pound honor by pinning Marengo’s Manny Macias in 5:31 and outlasting St. Joe’s Jaleel Johnson 2-1.

Kaneland now gears up for the Northern Illinois Big XII meet at Rochelle High School on Saturday, Jan. 22.

Lady Knights split decisions

KANELAND—Streator girls basketball must have felt like Saturday’s game with Kaneland was more of a trampling than a crossover.

A weekend excursion to the home of the Lady Bulldogs yielded a 60-32 win for KHS, while Tuesday’s home matchup with Morris High School ended in a 45-38 overtime loss

Kaneland has now doubled its win total from a year ago and sits at 10-13 (1-6 NIB-12).

Against Streator, Nicki Ott led the Lady Knights with 13 points, as 11 different Kaneland girls entered the scoring column. As a team, the Lady Knights were 23-for-63 from the field.

Tesa Alderman and Emily Heimerdinger had nine points each, and Alderman’s long-range prowess saw her sink three trifectas.

Kaneland held a slim 7-5 edge after one quarter, while running roughshod over the hosts in the second quarter en route to a 26-10 halftime lead.

Kaneland increased its advantage to 42-18 after three before closing out the contest.

Facing the Redskins, Andie Strang’s 13 points and eight boards keyed the KHS attack. Heimerdinger had nine points and five steals.

The Lady Knights were 16-for-51 from the field, and just four-of-13 from the charity stripe.

KHS and Morris found themselves tied at 10 after the first eight minutes, and Morris led 17-15 at halftime before expanding its lead to 31-27 after three. Kaneland tied it in the fourth, but a game-winning shot attempt missed the mark and it was on to OT at 36 all.

Morris outscored Kaneland 9-2 in OT to win.

Coming up for varsity is a Friday, Jan. 21, contest against visting Sycamore.

Boys hoops now 9-8 on year

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland is finding that a tour through the Northern Illinois Big 12 might not be as filled with good fortune as the Knights would like.

A Friday night meeting with the visiting Morris Redskins in Maple Park had KHS fall in an overtime clash, 46-39.

On Tuesday, the Knights were felled on Big Timber Road as Hampshire used a gigantic third quarter to best Kaneland, 61-44.

Kaneland is now 9-8, and 3-2 in the NIB-12. The Knights have now lost four out of their last five.

Chaon Denlinger and Drew David were lead scorers for KHS with nine each.

Kaneland’s time at the foul line consisted of a 5-for-8 night, compared to a whopping 14-for-28 night for Morris.

The Knights led 11-4 after one quarter, and went cold with just two points in the second frame, trailing 16-13.

Morris still led 30-26 after three quarters, and saw Kaneland tie it up before regulation ended at 33 apiece. A 13-6 overtime period meant a mark in the “L” column for Kaneland.

Facing the Whip-purs, KHS was led by Trever Heinle’s 15 and Denlinger’s 12, which came on four threes.

Hampshire led 10-7 after one and 21-20 going into halftime.The Whip-purs went on a 24-8 run for the third quarter and led 45-28 going into the fourth.

Kaneland’s next challenge lies in the form of the NIB-12 West’s Ottawa Pirates along Route 23 on Saturday, Jan. 22.

Bowling drops two NIB-12 meetings

Kaneland—Kaneland bowling, despite a 1-11 dual record, is still raring to go against any Northern Illinois Big XII opponent on its schedule.

The Lady Knights just hope their fortunes turn around sooner rather than later.

Kaneland spent Thursday afternoon battling visiting Ottawa of the NIB-12 West and lost a 2,647-2,446 affair at Mardi Gras Lanes.

On Tuesday, KHS took a trip to Rochelle, where it lost 2,779-2,468.

Leading the way for the Lady Knights was senior Holly Thomas, who bowled a team-high series of 484. Junior teammate Seleana Isaacs was close behind with a 455 series.

High games for KHS were bowled by Isaacs at 181 and Thomas at 167.

On the JV end, the Kaneland squad fell 2,227-1,797. High series was bowled by Madi Bluml at 316, followed by Michelle Bohanek at 312. High game came in the form of Alex Hornback’s 124.

Against the Lady Hubs, Thomas’ 535 series was best on the team and second-best for the meet. Anne Salerno was next for Kaneland with a 447 series. Top games were bowled by Salerno at 198 and Thomas at 188. Rochelle’s JV earned a 1,750-1,648 win over the Lady Knights.

The Lady Knights now prepare for a trip to Geneva on Wednesday, Jan. 26.

Wrestling trumps Rochelle, sees action in Spartanland

Photo: Sonny Horn, 125-pound representative for Kaneland wrestling, executes a takedown against Pleasant Valley’s Jesse Richardson on Thursday. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—Kaneland wrestling earned an important Northern Illinois Big XII win and placed in the middle of the pack at the usual early-Jan. stop of the Sycamore Invite.

After losing to Pleasant Valley of Iowa, 38-19, Kaneland defeated host Rochelle on Thursday by a final of 45-21 in order to improve to 9-14 in dual competition. KHS then took an eighth-place finish at Sycamore on Saturday in a 17-team field.

Against the Hubs, Chris Sabal won the 145-pound matchup with opponent Scott Rodefelt by 6-1 decision. Kyle Davidson, at 152 pounds, pinned Brady Mendez in four minutes, 47 seconds. 160-pound action featured Cody McGinnis beating Kane Rodridguez, 1-0. Keagan Mattes (189) and Ben Kovalick (215) took home pinfalls. Jimmy Boyle won his heavyweight match in overtime, while Stephen Gust (103) and Esai Ponce (119) won by decision.

On Saturday, Kaneland’s 95-point total was ahead of Rock Island’s 91 and just behind Granite City’s 97.

Harlem High School of Machesney Park took the invite with 192.5 points, followed by Lockport (166.5), Downers Grove South (137), Sycamore (128), Crystal Lake South (121) and York (110.5).

Davidson made it to the finals of 152 by pinning Larry LeBlanc of DGS by pinfall in 2:12, and beat McHenry’s Jake Pait by 3-2 decision, before losing the final of Lockport’s Shaun’Qae McMurtry by 15-6 major decision. Boyle was given second place after beating Cary-Grove’s Richard Kersten by 4-1 decision and Granite City’s Casey Krohne in a 9-5 meeting, but losing to Lockport’s Shaquille McMurtry in a 3:06 fall.

The Knights now gear up for a Thursday matchup at the home of the Morris Redskins on Thursday, Jan. 13.

Girls hoops sandwiches win between two losses

Photo: Lexee Guerra unloads before the halftime horn sounds during Friday’s setback to visiting Yorkville. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland girls basketball will have to be satisfied with a lone win concerning this past week’s tilts with rivals.

Yorkville bested the Lady Knights on Friday night, 47-39, but KHS earned a 46-40 win over rival to the north Burlington Central on Saturday. Kaneland also dropped a 48-34 clash with visiting DeKalb on Tuesday, and was swept in that season series.

KHS is now 9-11 with a 1-4 record in NIB-12 action.

Against the Lady Foxes, Emily Heimerdinger had 12 points, followed by Kelly Evers’ eight. KHS was 16-for-43 from the field and suffered with just four attempts at the foul line on the night, compared to 12-for-25 for Yorkville, including 17 attempts in the fourth quarter.

YHS went out to a 13-12 lead after one quarter and held firm with a 24-22 lead at the half. Kaneland found itself trailing 31-30 after three before the Lady Foxes widened the gap.

Facing the Rockets, Kaneland had a 15-point night from Heimerdinger and 12 points from Tesa Alderman. Evers contributed nine points and 12 boards.

KHS was 17-for-58 from the field and 10-for-16 from the charity stripe.

Heimerdinger had nine steals to key the Kaneland winning effort, as well.

KHS went ahead 13-10 at the end of the first quarter and maintained a slim 20-19 advantage going into halftime. BC took a 31-28 lead going into the fourth quarter in Maple Park, but free throws by Emma Bradford, Alderman and Heimerdinger gave Kaneland the edge in the fourth quarter that saw KHS outscore BC 18-9.

Facing the Lady Barbs, Kaneland was led by Evers’ and Heimerdinger’s eight points, but DeKalb’s Emily Bemis put up 13 and Rachel Torres had nine.

Kaneland was up 13-11 after one but was outplayed 17-6 in the second frame to fall behind 28-19 at halftime. DeKalb maintained a 40-29 lead going into the final quarter.

In younger contests, the freshman “A” outfit improved to 13-0 with a 35-16 win over Yorkville on Friday, with Lauren Zick and Brittany Kemp contributing 10 points each. The “B” squad earned a 33-9 win over Yorkville.

The sophomores improved to a 16-1 record by virtue of a 41-18 win over Burlington Central.

Coming up for the varsity Lady Knights is a home contest with Rochelle on Thursday, Jan. 13.

Lady Knight bowling falls to Huntley, Sycamore

KANELAND—Kaneland bowling ran into tough luck against two familiar foes as it entered 2011.

On Jan. 6, the Lady Knights dropped a 2,438-1,916 matchup with host Huntley High School, and fell to Sycamore on Thursday, 3,007-2,471, at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb.

With the two losses, Kaneland finds itself 1-9 in dual meet competition.

Kaneland was led by junior Morgan Wojciechowski’s 422. Fellow junior Seleana Isaacs bowled a 403 to supplant the effort. Top game was bowled by freshman Amanda Strayve.

For Huntley, the top series was bowled by Amy Antezak at 569.

In JV action, Kaneland was edged by the Red Raiders in a 1,586-1,489 skirmish. Colleen Ryan bowled a 331 series for KHS.

Against Sycamore, the Lady Knights were led by Holly Thomas’ 563 series and Wojciechowski’s 480 series. Thomas’ 184 game was tops for KHS.

Ahead for Kaneland bowling is a crossover home meet with Ottawa on Thursday, Jan. 13.

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Photo: Seleana Isaacs prepares her next effort during Thursday’s NIB-12 loss to Sycamore at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb. Photo by Mike Slodki

Nine-win Knights take BC, taken by 2 others


Photo: Tyler Callaghan goes up for two points during Friday’s 56-39 loss to the Yorkville Foxes. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Saturday looked a lot better than Friday for the Knights boys basketball roster.

Coach Brian Johnson’s crew took a 47-39 win against non-conference rival Burlington Central on Saturday, but fell to a physical Yorkville squad on Friday by a 56-39 clip.

Additionally, the first-ever meeting between KHS and Metea Valley High School of Aurora ended in a 78-58 loss for the Knights on Tuesday night.

The Knights now sit at 9-6 on the season, with a 3-1 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII conference play.

The Knights’ lone double-figures scorer against BC was team anchor Chaon Denlinger, who had 13 points. Zach Ringhouse had eight. Kaneland was just 9-for-19 from the foul line.

Kaneland led 13-7 on the visiting Rockets after the first eight minutes of action and increased the margin to 23-13 after the first half. BC closed to within 31-25 before the Knights held firm in the fourth.

In the loss against Yorkville against the invading Fox force, Trever Heinle had 10 points to lead the Knights.

Kaneland was cold indoors to match the landscape of falling snow outdoors, missing its first six shot attempts. With Yorkville up 13-6, Kory Harner connected on two straight shots to pull the Knights within 13-10 by the end of the first.

Down 19-13 with 5:53 to go in the second quarter, Daniel Helm hit a foul shot, as did Heinle to close within four. Matt Spitzzeri hit a layup, and Heinle converted on a three-point play to take the lead for the first time at 20-19 with 3:21 to go. Helm’s reverse layup with 2:44 to go completed a 9-0 run. Yorkville finished with a flurry and sunk three straight baskets to go into the half up 26-22.

In the third quarter, it remained close when Kyle Dhuse of Yorkville hit a three to tie the score at 29-29, but Denlinger hit a trey from the baseline to go up 32-29. That would be the last inkling of a lead for Kaneland for the remainder of the game. Yorkville went on a 27-7 run to finish the game, which included 12-for-12 from the foul line in a late stretch to cinch the result.

“They’re a very strong team,” Johnson said concerning the Foxes. “They made a lot of shots, a lot of free throws. When they make more than you attempt, they’ll probably win the game.”

Against MV, the Knights were helped by Denlinger’s 20 points and Heinle’s 13.

Despite a 20-10 lead after the first eight minutes, the Knights’ advantage shrunk of 33-21 at halftime before Metea Valley used a prolific third quarter to go up 53-44 after three.

The Knights look forward to a NIB-12 matchup with visiting Morris on Friday, Jan. 14.

LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP
When the Knights need to hit on a trifecta, who have they been going to?
Through Tuesday, Jan. 11—
C. Denlinger (28 three-point baskets)
Z. Ringhouse (14)
D. Helm (6)

Lady Knights take 4th at Oswego East

Photo: Nicki Ott, shown here in action in November, was key in helping the Lady Knights nab their best-ever finish at the Oswego East Holiday Tournament. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
OSWEGO—It wasn’t the ideal end, but Kaneland girls hoops earned its best finish ever at the Oswego East Holiday Classic.

While a third-round contest against the Andrew Thunderbolts wasn’t pretty on Dec. 29, the Lady Knights (8-9, 1-2 NIB-12) were assured at least a fourth-place nod in the Winter Classic Tournament at Oswego East High School. KHS fell to Downers Grove South on Thursday, 36-22.

Andrew played West Chicago on Thursday night for the championship and won the tournament final, 66-53.

In the 50-30 loss to Andrew, Kaneland was outscored 14-1 in the first frame and fell behind 28-11 at halftime before trailing 47-20 after the third quarter.

KHS was 11-for-41 from the field and 7-for-12 from the foul line. Freshman Marina Schaefer led the charge with six points and six boards. Emily Heimerdinger had four steals.

Against DGS, the Lady Knights got a three-pointer and another bucket from Andie Strang, a basket from Kelly Evers (eight points) and a shot from Tesa Alderman to go up 9-0 with 2:26 remaining in the first quarter. DGS scored the last four points of the first quarter, followed by the Lady Knights missing their next 14 shot attempts extending into the third frame. Kaneland’s 14:26 scoreless drought, coupled with DHS completing a 20-0 run, sent KHS reeling.

The scoring famine finally ended with a three-point play from Nicki Ott halfway through the third to make it 20-12.

In the fourth, Ott’s bucket with 3:56 to go cut the difficult lead to 24-20, but KHS could get no closer.

Also noteworthy was Downers Grove South‘s having 26 attempts at the foul line, compared with two for KHS.

“That didn’t really help,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “It was a nice start for us, and it looked like we were ready to play. Then they went to man (defense), they did a good job and were physical.”

The Lady Knights’ all-time mark at the Oswego East tourney is now 8-8.

KHS now hosts Yorkville on Friday, Jan. 7.

Lady KNIGHT LIFE
• The Kaneland High School sophomore girls are 14-1.
• KHS recently captured the Riverside-Brookfield Holiday Tourney,
winning the final on Dec. 30, against Rich Central, 37-23. Paced by
Brooke Harner’s 10 points, and seven each from Ashley Prost and
Alli Liss, Kaneland enjoyed its fourth and final win of the holidays.