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 split final 2 games in Plano

KANELAND—It wasn’t the same ending to the tournament, and wasn’t even the ideal ending to the fifth-place game for Kaneland boys hoops.

While the Knights vanquished the Hall Red Devils on Dec. 29, coach Brian Johnson’s crew fell to Sandwich due to a late rally on Thursday and were slotted in the sixth-place slot at the 48th annual Plano Christmas Classic.

KHS (8-4, 3-0 NIB-12) didn’t end up with a repeat championship, as was the case in 2009 after a win in the final over Rockford Christian.

Rockford Christian defeated Newark in the final, 48-44.

Despite the middle-of-the-pack finish, Knights Chaon Denlinger and Daniel Helm were named to the All-Tournament team.

Photo: Trever Heinle is finding himself with major minutes for a Kaneland Knights unit that finished sixth at the Plano Christmas Classic. File Photo

Against the Red Devils, Helm scored 18 and Trever Heinle scored 17. Kaneland was 8-for-12 from the foul line. Kaneland outscored Spring Valley’s school 20-15 after one and led 33-25 at the half. The Knights increased their lead to 49-33 after three quarters.

Against the Interstate Eight Indians, Denlinger was the lone double-figured player with 17. Sandwich led 16-7 after one, but Kaneland rallied to close within 23-20. With the score at 34-31 after three, Kaneland’s Denlinger’s trey with under 11 ticks left tied the score at 40. Indian Justin Wegner’s basket on the next possession gave Sandwich the final margin of victory.

The Knights’ fortunes take them back home on Friday, Jan. 7, where they will host conference rival Yorkville, itself a third-place school in Plano.

SUPER SOPH BOYS
• The Kaneland High School sophomore
boys have achieved a record of 12-0.
• Most recently, the young Knights
captured the JV side of the Plano
Christmas Classic,
defeating Yorkville, 50-41.
• Matt Limbrunner had 15 points,
and Thomas Williams had 13.

Wrestling ends up sixth place at Flavin Invite

Photo: Kyle Davidson provided a boost in the 152-pound class for KHS wrestling. Davidson came away with two major decisions on the second day of competition at the Don Flavin Invite in DeKalb last week. File Photo

DEKALB—With an 8-13 dual meet record through the first half of the year, Kaneland High School wrestling might not look like it’s making strides.

However, a 3-3 mark in the vaunted Don Flavin Invite at DeKalb High School, and a sixth-place finish out of 12 overall teams can provide reasons for a sunny outlook in 2011.

After finishing with a 2-1 day last Tuesday, the Black Division-placed Knights went into the afternoon session for a chance at winners’ glory.

KHS began Dec. 29 with a 36-26 loss to Rockton’s Hononegah in the opener, but followed with a 38-33 win over Waubonsie Valley before dropping the fifth-place clash with Prospect, 28-27.

York High School defeated Hononegah in the Flavin final, while Glenbard West bested Stillman Valley in the third-place matchup.

Against Hononegah, Kaneland trailed from buzzer to buzzer, but Kyle Davidson won a 10-0 major decision at 152 pounds. Nick Michels took a 5-3 win in 171-pound action, and Keagan Mattes won a 189-pound duel with a 12-5 decision. At 215, Ben Kovalick won with a 4-0 nod, and teammate Jimmy Boyle won a decision in the heavyweight category. Additional decisions went in favor of Connor Williams at 112, Esai Ponce at 119 and Dan Goress at 130.

Against the Warriors of the Upstate Eight Conference, Kaneland’s five-point win was helped by Davidson’s 8-0 major decision, Michel’s 14-4 major decision, Mattes’ 7-5 decision, Kovalick’s 1-0 decision, Ponce’s pinfall and Goress’ pinfall.

Wins against the Prospect Knights of the northwest suburbs were garnered by Michels (3-0 dec.), Mattes (8-2 dec.), Kovalick (1-0 dec.), Boyle (2-0 dec.), Steven Gust (7-0 dec.) and Williams (2:19 pin).

Ahead for the Knight grapplers is a conference battle with Rochelle on Thursday, Jan. 6, in Maple Park.

Bowlers struck with loss to Lisle

LISLE—Lisle, Ill. was the site for Kaneland High School bowling to begin the second half of the 2010-11 campaign.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the site of a win.

With a 2,569-1,798 setback to the host Lady Lions, Kaneland fell to 1-7 on the current campaign.

Lisle was propelled by Melanie Early’s 588 series.

Meanwhile, Kaneland was helped out by a 412 series from Morgan Wojciechowski and a 359 series from Amanda Strayve.

High games were bowled by Strayve at 164 and Wojciechowski at 153.

The JV ranks were defeated by Lisle in a 1,680-1,589 affair. Madi Bluml’s 369 series was tops for KHS.

On the horizon for the Lady Knights is a Northern Illinois Big XII Conference tussle with Sycamore out at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb.

KHS girls win first two at Oswego East

Photo: Emma Bradford deals with a Storm during Kaneland’s 59-55 opening win in Oswego East.
Photo by Ben Draper

OSWEGO—Throughout this 2010-11 season, Kaneland girls basketball has dropped hints that this was not the same team from last year.

As exhibited in the sixth annual Oswego East Winter Classic Tournament this holiday weekend, Kaneland dropped more than hints—it dropped the first two foes on the schedule.

With a 59-55 win on Monday over South Elgin, and a 64-52 upset win on Tuesday over Addison Trail (No. 2 seed), Kaneland was set to play either Andrew in the championship semifinal on Wednesday, Dec. 29, at 6:30 p.m.

The Lady Knights are now 8-7 with a 1-2 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII play.

Against the Storm, KHS and South Elgin were tied at 13 after one quarter, and the Lady Knights took a 28-22 lead at the halftime break. While the Storm closed within 41-37 after three, the Lady Knights were helped by a 10-for-10 fourth quarter at the foul line.

KHS was 16-for-21 from the charity stripe for the game and 20-for-52 from the field. Tesa Alderman had a team-high 12 points while Kelly Evers and Andie Strang had nine each. Emily Heimerdinger was six-for-six from the foul line in the final frame.

South Elgin’s Becca Smith had 26 in a losing effort.

Against Addison Trail on Tuesday morning, KHS shot an astounding 25-for-44 from the field and went 8-for-12 from the line. Strang scored 22 points, while Nicki Ott had 18. The fourth quarter, which began with Kaneland up 50-41, featured Strang with eight and Ott with 10 points.

The championship final is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 30, at 6:30 p.m.

6th OSWEGO EAST WINTER
WINTER Classic TOURNEY

1st-round matchups on Monday, Dec. 27
Addison Trail 46, Plainfield C. 23
Kaneland 59, S. Elgin 55
Andrew 52, Aurora Christian 25
Plainfield N. 40, Metea Valley 36
W. Chicago 58, Joliet Cent. 26
Lemont 55, Plainfield E. 45
Oswego E. 51, Aurora Central Catholic 41
Downers Grove S. 49, E. Aurora 47

2nd-round matchups on Tuesday, Dec. 28
Kaneland 64, Addison Trail 52
Andrew 70, Plainfield North 66 (2OT)
West Chicago 53, Lemont 28
Downers Grove South 44, Oswego East 39
South Elgin 74, Plainfield Central 38
Metea Valley 41, Aurora Christian 26
Plainfield East 41, Joliet Central 38
East Aurora 48, Aurora Central Catholic 45

Kaneland splits first 2 contests in Plano

by Mike Slodki
PLANO—All right, so the gift you receive this year won’t be as large as last year’s.

If you’re Kaneland boys basketball, there is still ample time to end the holiday festivities on a strong note.

On Tuesday night at the 48th annual Plano Christmas Classic off of Route 34, third-seeded Kaneland fell to sixth-seeded Princeton by a final of 52-51 in second-round action, which solidified that KHS won’t be repeating as Classic champions.

The Knights opened up tourney play with a convincing 66-33 win over Little Ten stalwart Hinckley-Big Rock—the second time Kaneland has vanquished H-BR this season.

KHS now sits at 7-3 after 10 contests, with a 3-0 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII conference play.

The Knights were set to suit up against Hall of Spring Valley, Ill., in a third-round matchup on Wednesday evening.

Against the Tigers, the Knights were led by Daniel Helm’s 22 points and Chaon Denlinger’s 16. Kaneland was perfect from the foul line, but only had four attempts.

An 18-7 lead over Princeton slipped to a 26-20 margin at the break. Kaneland still maintained a slim 39-35 lead before some fourth-quarter heroics went the Tigers’ way.

Princeton was set to face No. 2 Newark on Wednesday in its quest for its first Plano title since 1990.

In Monday’s win over the Royals, Kaneland had 10 members in the scoring column, paced by Denlinger’s 15 and Matt Spitzzeri’s 10. Denlinger also supplied three three-pointers.

“It’s nice to see other guys do well, too,” Denlinger said. “We kept putting it on so they couldn’t close the gap very much, it’s nice to see.”

A three by Denlinger, coupled with a basket by Tyler Callaghan, and two more baskets by Denlinger propelled Kaneland out to an early 11-0 lead with 1:57 to go in the first quarter. Helm’s basket with 52.1 to go gave KHS a 13-3 lead after one.

Holding onto a 12-point lead in the second quarter, the Knights saw a basket from Spitzzeri, an in-the-paint bucket from Drew David and two foul shots from Spittzeri to go into halftime up 27-9.

The third quarter was a torrid one for KHS, as they made nine straight shots in a period of 5:17, building up their lead to 49-18 by the end of the third.

A Kory Harner bucket with 5:40 to go gave KHS its biggest lead at 58-24.

“We just talked about taking care of the ball,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “We did a nice job of getting down the floor. We’ve been toying with a full-court press and see if that works out. We want to become stronger as a team this tournament.”

Kaneland will face either Forreston or Sandwich on Thursday, Dec. 30, at 5:30 p.m for fifth place, or at 2:30 p.m. for seventh place.

Grapplers take two in Wauconda, storm Flavin

Photo: Andrew Essex is on offense against St. Viator of Arlington Heights, Ill.during day one of the Don Flavin Invite in DeKalb. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Instead of a face-full of candy and other winter goodies, Kaneland spent Thursday and this past Tuesday introducing opponents to a face-full of mat.

Having a less-than-easy time with dual meets so far this season, Kaneland had an encouraging Thursday trek to Woodstock High School and captured two of three encounters.

The Knights also began another edition of the Don Flavin Invite at DeKalb High School on Tuesday and went 2-1 in the first day of the tournament.

Kaneland’s dual meet record is now 7-11.

Against Mundelein on Thursday, the Knights came away with a 38-21 win. Major decision wins were had by Nick Michels (10-2), Keagan Mattes (14-1) and Connor Williams (11-1). Ben Kovalick took a pin in two minutes, 45 seconds, and Jimmy Boyle earned a 15-0 technical fall. Stephen Gust, Esai Ponce and Sonny Horn all won by decision. In the 58-16 win over Woodstock, Dan Goress took a 15-4 major decision and Davidson earned a pin in 2:24.

In the 29-24 loss to Richmond-Burton, Horn, Andrew Essex, Davidson, Kovalick, Gust and Ponce won by decision.

In Dekalb, KHS won over St. Viator 67-6, over Stagg 58-23 and lost to York 58-23.

Essex hopes the team’s fortunes solidify this week.

“We’re getting the guys back to fill in the lineup,” he said. “I just want to get better and better as I go, and I think I’ve definitely improved from last year.”

KHS was set for the winner’s bracket on Wednesday against Hononegah in the afternoon.

Knights use last-second heroics for win

Daniel Helm tries to score any way he can during Friday’s dramatic 49-47 win at DeKalb. The freshman contributed in a big way with 19 points in NIB-12 play. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
DEKALB—Kaneland boys basketball had a sense of the moment on Friday night in Barb-ville.

It’s the last moment that counted the most.

A basket by Chaon Denlinger just before the buzzer sounded took KHS to a 49-47 win over DeKalb on Friday.

After blowing an 11-point lead originally amassed in the second quarter, Kaneland emerged with a small bit of revenge against the squad that ousted them from Class 3A regionals last Feb.

“DeKalb’s tough, this is their home floor,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “Their record’s very decieving, they’re not a one-win team in my eyes. They’re a good team and they fight.”

Kaneland is now 6-2, while DeKalb fell to 1-7. The Knights improved to 3-0.

In the fourth quarter, with the Barbs having taken a 44-43 lead with 5:20 left, Kaneland recovered from its first deficit since the first quarter with a Matt Spitzzeri basket down low to take a 45-44 lead with 4:06 left.

Daniel Helm’s bucket with 3:37 to go increased the lead to 47-44.

After three trey attempts by DHS, Brian Sisler made a basket with 52.2 remaining to close within 47-46.

DeKalb’s Andre Harris went up for a drive to the basket but was intentionallty fouled on a fast break with 26.8 seconds remaining. Harris made the first of two, and Sisler’s attempted layup with 18 seconds left missed. Helm brought it up past halfcourt, where coach Brian Johnson called time out and set up the final exchange.

The passing game that had provided so many opportunities for Kaneland during the game worked as Denlinger inbounded the ball to Drew David, who passed to Helm. Helm passed to David, who found a back-door opening down low to Denlinger for a lay-in before the clock buzzed 0.0.

“We knew they were going to overplay it,” Denlinger said. “We knew they were going to try to get a steal. We don’t run it very often, and if we could just get it to work… I thought I missed it.”

Helm led the way with a game-high 19 points, followed by sharp-shooting Zach Ringhouse with 13 points.

“We started running more of our sets,” Helm said. “That opened up a lot of stuff. The team felt better because there were so many more openings.”

Sisler paced DeKalb with 17 points.

The Knights went up 9-5 after a quarter of play, and increased the lead to 27-19 at the half. The Barbs closed the margin to 41-38 after three.

Meanwhile, the sophomores bested their DHS counterparts by a 45-33 final.

The contests marked the last regular season contests in Chuck Dayton Gymnasium. DeKalb is moving to a new campus near Dresser and Annie Glidden roads.

48th Annual
Plano Christmas Classic

1st round matchups on Monday, Dec. 27
Morris vs. Yorkville, 9 a.m.
Forreston vs. Mendota, 10:30 a.m.
Sandwich vs. Genoa-Kingston, 12:30 p.m.
Rockford Christian vs. Coal City, 2 p.m.
Kaneland vs. Hinckley-Big Rock, 3:30 p.m.
Princeton vs. Seneca, 5:30 p.m.
Plano vs. Hall, 7 p.m.
Newark vs. Somonauk, 8:30 p.m.

Lady Knights drop meeting with Dixon

Photo: Kelly Evers had 12 points in Saturday’s 55-45 setback to the Duchesses. Photo by Ben Draper

KANELAND—A crossover contest with Dixon provided a frigid result as winter approached for Lady Knights girls basketball on Saturday night.

With 20 turnovers and only four shots from the foul line, the Lady Knights fell to 6-7 after a 55-45 setback at the hands of the Dixon Duchesses.

The 6-7 Lady Knights (1-2 NIB-12) have now lost four of their last five.

KHS went 18-for-59 from the field and four of four from the foul line. McKinzie Mangers had a game-high 14 on the strength of four three-pointers, while Kelly Evers had 12.

Dixon led 17-11 after one quarter of play and kept a 32-26 lead going into the halftime break before KHS closed within 39-35 after three.

Helping their cause, the Duchesses went 13-for-19 from the foul line.

The sophomore girls moved to 8-0 and 3-0 in conference play, thanks to a 56-27 win over Dixon.

The varsity Lady Knights enjoy a little break before heading to the Oswego East Holiday Classic for the fifth straight season. KHS is set to face South Elgin in its first challenge in Kendall County on Monday, Dec. 27, at 10:30 a.m.

Oswego East Wolves
Winter Classic Tourney

1st round matchups on Monday, Dec. 27
Plainfield North vs. Metea Valley, 9 a.m.
Kaneland vs. South Elgin, 10:30 a.m.
Addison Trail vs. Plainfield Central, noon.
Andrew vs. Aurora Christian, 1:30 p.m.
West Chicago vs. Joliet Central, 3:30 p.m.
Lemont vs. Plainfield East, 5 p.m.
Oswego East vs. Aurora Central Catholic, 6:30 p.m.
Downers Grove vs. East Aurora, 8 p.m.

Bowlers lose to L-P

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Lady Knights bowling might have to wait until this weekend for some holiday cheer.

A meeting at Mardi Grad Lanes against the LaSalle-Peru lady Cavaliers resulted in a 2,958-2,314 loss, which dropped Kaneland to 1-6 on the season.

Seleana Isaacs had the team-high series for the first time this season, bowling a 452. Holly Thomas bowled a 428 series to help the cause.

Top games were had by Thomas (188) and Isaacs (163).

The JV crew lost a 2,328-1,793 matchup, despite a 343 series by Kayley Larsen.

Kaneland now rests until Tuesday, Jan. 4, when it clashes with host Lisle.

Grapplers take on four squads tough week

KANELAND—While Kaneland wrestling has nabbed some nice individual wins lately, the dual meet results that are desired are harder to come by.

On Thursday, the Knights dropped a 44-16 result to the visiting Yorkville Foxes. On Saturday, Kaneland faced Dixon, Geneva and Rock Island. KHS lost to Geneva, 46-27, and also lost to Rock Island, before beating Dixon 58-15.

Kaneland’s dual meet mark is now 3-9.

Against Yorkville, 119-pounder Esai Ponce won a decision over Adam Wyeth, 4-1. 130-pound teammate Dan Goress won a 13-4 major decision over Brennan Sharp, Ben Kovalick took a forfeit at 215, and 285-pound entry Jimmy Boyle won a 3-0 matchup with Seth Gonzalez.

On Saturday in Maple Park, wins over the Vikings came from five matches.

Kovalick pinned Viking David James in three minutes, 43 seconds. Boyle eked out a 1-0 win over Jake Mills. Connor Williams won a 103-pound match by forfeit. Ponce pinned Geneva’s Kyle Roberts in 1:44 and Goress took a forfeit.

In the win over the Dukes, Williams, Ponce, Goress, Kyle Davidson, Cory Taber and Nick Michels had wins.

On Thursday, Dec. 23, Kaneland hopes to get some production on the mat this winter break with wins over Mundelein, Richmond-Burton and host Woodstock.

Photo: Dan Goress, shown here in earlier action this season, earned a major decision in his 130-pound encounter against Yorkville on Thursday. File Photo

Lady Knight (1-5) bowling takes first meet of year

Photo: Sophomore Angela Charhut in action against the Lady Redskins of Morris Tuesday. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
DEKALB—It has been tough goings for the Lady Knights through the first four meets, but KHS hopes its fortunes are going up.

The reason to believe the altering luck was exhibited during Monday afternoon’s victory over non-conference rival Illinois Math & Science Academy.

Kaneland took a 2,062-1,930 win over the Lady Titans, but lost on Tuesday at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb to visiting Morris by a final of 2,971-2,240.

Coach Jim McKnight likes the recent win, it‘s showing the hard work paying off and the still-gelling team showing improvement.

“We’re pretty well settling in on who the varsity is going to be, and we’ve been going up against some really tough schools, but to come back here and see the girls come through like this—they’re coming through very nicely,” McKnight said.

Holly Thomas led the way with a meet-high 528 series.

“I can see that I’m improving, and I feel I can do that for the rest of the season. I’m throwing pretty consistent strike balls today,” Thomas said.

The senior also enjoyed a 201 game to close the meet out.

Sophomore teammate Morgan Wojciechowski supported the effort with a 422 series and a 164 game.

The JV ranks took a 1,587-1,418 match with the Titans.

The matchup against the Lady Redskins went the way of Morris for the final 12-point margin.

DeKalb hands Kaneland grapplers Thursday loss

Photo: Esai Ponce won his contest on Thursday with a 6-2 decision in DeKalb. At 119 pounds, Ponce gave Kaneland a fighting chance in a 39-27 loss. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It’s unfortunate that the Kaneland wrestling squad ran into DeKalb on Thursday evening in Barb-ville, because lately DeKalb’s been running over everyone.

In a Northern Illinois Big XII matchup, DeKalb subdued Kaneland by a 39-27 score in a dual, dropping the Knights to 2-5.

The opening encounter had 119-pounder Esai Ponce earn a 6-2 decision to put KHS up 3-0, but the 125-through 145-pound encounters resulted in a 27-point run for the host Barbs.

Finally, 152-pound entry Kyle Davidson stopped the bleeding with a 13-2 major decision to close within 27-7. With the score 36-7 in favor of DeKalb, the Knights did begin a run. At 189, Keagan Mattes put a 16-0 technical fall forth in impressive fashion.

The work that Mattes has put forth has got the senior believing good things are in store for the remainder of the 2010-11 campaign.

“I always think of going through my matches non-stop. Last year I didn’t do that. It’s more muscle in this weight class, and they still have their speed, but I just have to keep wrestling continuously,” Mattes said.

KHS coach Monty Jahns highlighted the 189-pound victory as a nice pick-me-up.

“Keagan wrestled well and kept attacking. DeKalb’s tough this year. Give them credit, they’ve got a solid lineup,” Jahns said.

At 215 pounds, Ben Kovalick pulled out an 8-4 decision to close the deficit to 36-15, and teammate Jimmy Boyle earned a pin at 3 minutes, 13 seconds.

Steve Gust took a forfeit at 103 pounds, before 112-pound action went the way of DeKalb for the final 12-point margin.

The Knights try and right the mat on Thursday, Dec. 16, in another NIB-12 clash with Yorkville High School in Maple Park.

Knights block Spartans, Royals

Photo: Drew David falls
back after making a shot
during a 23-8 third quarter at Saturday’s
65-33 win at Sycamore High School. The
freshman finished with four points.
Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—Going 5-for-7 in any sport has to be considered a good start.

After a loss nine days ago to Glenbard South, it seems like Kaneland boys hoops has every intention of extending the good start as long as possible.

The Knights put Hinckley-Big Rock down for the count on Tuesday, 59-44, and routed Sycamore on Friday along Spartan Trail by a final of 65-33.

Kaneland is now 2-0 in the first go-around of the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference, as well.

Against the visiting Royals, Daniel Helm scored a game-high 15, and Tyler Callaghan added 13.

KHS led 12-9 after one and 23-19 at the half. The Knights started to pull away in the third and worked on a 43-30 lead going into the fourth quarter, where they secured matters.

The sophomores pulled out a 52-21 win to improve to 7-0.

Against the host Spartans, the Knights were buoyed by Chaon Denlinger’s 20 points, which were highlighted by six three-pointers. Helm added 13 points and Trever Heinle added 10.

Kaneland turned a 13-3 first quarter lead into a 26-18 advantage going into the locker room at the half. The Knights opened the floodgates in the third and led 49-26 going into the fourth quarter.

The Knights go on to DeKalb for a meeting with the Barbs on Friday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m.

KHS girls hold off Sycamore, lose to Barbs

Photo: Lexee Guerra battles for possession during Kaneland’s 43-36 win on Friday evening in Sycamore. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Call it Rivalry Week.

The Lady Knights unit from Kaneland took to the court against familiar opponents in a new Northern Illinois Big XII setting, and split their two contests.

On Friday, KHS traveled to Sycamore and came away with a 43-36 win over the Spartans, while visiting DeKalb on Tuesday and falling 45-36.

With a 6-6 record and a 1-2 slate in NIB-12 action, the Lady Knights have already eclipsed their win total from the 2009-10 campaign in just 12 games.

Against their Spartan Trail foes, Kaneland was paced by post player Kelly Evers’ 10 points and Tesa Alderman’s nine points. KHS pulled down 32 boards, helped out by nine each from Evers and Nicki Ott. KHS was 15-for-57 from the field and 11-for-18 from the foul line.

Ashley Berlinski led Sycamore with 16 points.

A 9-8 lead at the end of the first frame grew to a 21-16 lead at the break before Sycamore closed within 31-28 after three.

With the score at 40-34, Andie Strang made three of four foul shots to ice matters.

The sophomores handled Sycamore in a 49-18 affair.

Against the Lady Barbs, Kaneland was 11-for-30 from the field and 12-for-20 from the charity stripe. Alderman was leading scorer with nine points, and also added four steals.

It was anything but smooth sailing for the Lady Knights, trailing from wire to wire and falling behind 17-5 at the end of the first eight minutes to a Lady Barbs outfit that has won 10 of its first 11.

DeKalb missed its first 10 shots and missed three foul shots, but continued its aggressive and physical play. Lexee Guerra layed a bucket in, followed shortly by an Alderman three to cut it to 17-10 with 5:25 left. DeKalb went on a 5-0 run to lead 24-10 at the break.

Things started picking up for the Lady Knights, as an Ott jumper from the top of the key, a basket by Evers and two free throws by Guerra closed Kaneland to within 29-22 before a Taylor White three-point attempt from beyond the half-court line went in at the buzzer, putting DHS up by 10.

“That didn’t help, that’s kind of how the game was going, but what can you do about that shot,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said.

The Lady Knights managed to cut it to 37-28 on an Emma Bradford basket with 4:38 to to, but the margin shrunk no further.

“We can’t struggle like that on offense in the first half. The other big thing (in the first half) was with three and a half minutes left we had them at six fouls, and we needed to get to the free throw line and stop the clock and we never got the seventh foul,” Colombe said.

The sophomore crew improved to 7-0 with a 40-23 win.

Kaneland’s next challenge is a NIB-12 crossover with the visiting Dixon Duchesses on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m.

Kaneland High School rises up with fall sports awards

Photo: Kaneland’s Hayley Guyton, was one of the highlighted athletes recognized for her State trip during the fall season for girls’ golf. File Photo

KANELAND—It was time to think warmer thoughts at Kaneland High School, as Friday had the release of the Kaneland High School Fall Sports Awards.

The awards were announced at this late date due to the postseason success of the football squad.

For girls cross-country, the captain trio of Andie Strang, Jessica Stouffer and Kris Bowen were recognized for its service.

Shaela Collins and Kaitlin Munyon took home the most improved runners honor, and Strang was named most valuable runner. Strang, Ashley Castellanos and Jennifer Howland were named to the Northern Illinois Big XII All-Conference squad, and Howland was honored for her State qualifying appearance in Nov.

For the boys cross-country side, Trevor Holm was picked as most valuable runner. and Ryan Paulson took home the most improved runner honor. The Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength went to Tommy Whittaker. Grant Alef, Holm and Whittaker were recognized as captains.

The Golden Knight award, given to one runner in each grade level, was bestowed upon freshman Dylan Kuipers, sophomore Christopher Wido, junior Clayton Brundige and Tommy Whittaker.

Holm was honored for his standing in the NIB-12 All-Conference group, as well as being a State qualifier.

For football, Joe Camiliere, Jimmy Boyle, Taylor Andrews, Blake Serpa, Tyler Callaghan and Curtis Secrest were recognized as captains. Nick Michels won the most improved player nod, and the MVP honor went five ways with Camiliere, Boyle, Andrews, Serpa and Callaghan earning the honor.

Camiliere was named offensive MVP, while teammate Serpa took the defensive MVP. Quinn Buschbacher won the special teams MVP. A slew of Knights were named to the NIB-12 All-Conference team: Sam Komel, Ben Kovalick, Ryan Noel, Buschabcher, Sean Carter, Camiliere, Boyle, Serpa, Kyle Davidson, Jacob Razo, Callaghan and Andrews.

Concerning Kaneland golf, Anthony Sperando was named most improved player on the varsity level, and Hayley Guyton was named varsity MVP. Matt Yonkovich and Brody Kuhar shared the frosh/soph MVP sward. Sean Glennon was awarded the frosh/soph most improved player award. Team leader Guyton was also lauded for her eighth place finish at the girls’ gold State gathering.

For the Lady Knights volleyball crew, Jessica Lubic took the most valuable player award. Katy Dudzinski was named top offensive player, and Kylie Siebert won top defensive player award. The Spirit Award went to Mackenzie Curran, while most improved player was won by Lauren Banbury.

Lubic and Dudzinski were honored for their spots on the NIB-12 Conference team.

For boys’ soccer, Alex Gil, J.P. Minogue, Thansi Pesmajoglou, Trevor Wolf and Derek White were honored for their captaincy. Alex Weiss and Jordan Escobedo were named co-most improved player, while Minogue and White took home the co-MVP award. Rookie of the Year went to Anthony Parillo. The Coach’s Award was given to Gil, Sam Rymarz, Alec Koczka and Pedro Perez.

All-Northern Illinois Big XII members were announced as White, Minogue, Escobedo, Gil, Chad Swieca and Parillo. Honorable mention members were Perez, Rymarz, Koczka, Wolf, Tyler Siebert, Weiss and Pesmajoglou.

Escobedo was named to the all-Sectional squad, and teammate Gil was an honorable mention.

Wrestling earns win over T.F South

Photo: Kaneland varsity wrestlers faced off against Sycamore at Sycamore High School on Thursday, December 2. Here, Jimmy Boyle (285 lbs) lifts his opponent off the ground. Boyle won this match 10-2. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—On the first weekend of the season with tangible snow on the ground, the Knight wrestlers made opponent T.F. South feel like an ill-equipped car—no traction.

In a 40-22 win over T.F. South on Saturday, KHS earned one win at a triangular at Lemont High School, but fell in a 48-21 clash to the host Indians. KHS also dropped a Northern Illnois Big XII matchup at Sycamore, 51-19 on Thursday.

The Knights now sit at 2-4, with an 0-1 mark in the first go-around of Northern Illinois Big XII action.

In the win vs. the Rebels, the fun began in the 189-pound matchup as Keagan Mattes picked up a pin in two minutes, 32 seconds. Mattes was already up 2-0 when he secured the winning combination. With the Knights leading 12-0, heavyweight asset Jimmy Boyle went the distance in a 10-0 decision for a 16-0 KHS lead. Boyle never fell behind after an early takedown.

Up 34-9 after several forfiets, Knight Andrew Essex took his 140-pound matchup over James Cooper in 3:32, after already leading 8-1. That marked the final fall to go Kaneland’s way before the Rebels closed the margin.

Up ahead for Kaneland wrestling is a trip to conference-mate DeKalb on Thursday, Dec. 9 at 5:30 p.m.

KHS bowling run over by crossovers

KANELAND—Kaneland is still patrolling the lanes for its first dual win in the early goings of 2010-11.

Lady Knights bowling suffered a NIB-12 crossover setback on Thursday in Dixon by a final of 3,249-2,330.

Senior leader Holly Thomas held her own against the Duchesses, per usual, with a team-high 505 series and a team-high 178 game.

Behind Thomas was junior teammate Seleana Isaacs, who bowled a 457 series and a high game of 168.

In JV play, Kaneland fell to Dixon by a final of 2,828-1,598. Madi Bluml led KHS with a series of 365.

Against the Streator unit on Monday, KHS lost in a road contest 3,019-2,376.Thomas had a series of 472, marked by a high game of 163.

Seleana Isaacs bowled a 435 series and a 166 game.

For Streator, Sam Green was tops with a 607 series.The JV ranks lost 2,031-1,797.

Monday, Dec. 13, marks the next challenge for the 0-4 Lady Knights in the form of Illinois Math & Science Academy.

Howland’s run (and bike and swim)

by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—Triathlons are difficult for even the most experienced athlete.

However, one needs the will. Elburn resident and Kaneland High School senior Jen Howland continues to employ that, as well as training and her athletics gifts to continue on the triathlon circuit both stateside and abroad.

Most recently finishing 20th in the junior women’s category at the ITU World Championship Grand Final in Budapest, Hungary, Howland continues to enjoy her work.

“It’s my passion, and I hope to do it for a long time,” Howland said.

The recent cross-country State qualifier has been participating in the event for nine years.

“It was a local Delnor kids triathlon,” Howland said her introduction to the race.

“When I train, it’s for 30-35 hours a week. I’ll be in the pool once or twice a day, run every day and bike every other day,” Howland said.

Having finished in Budapest with a time of one hour, 23 seconds, a two-second improvement over her 2009 World Championship, Howland has big goals ahead.

“I want to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. Next year, I’ll start training and pushing myself. I really want to be a professional triathlete,” Howland said.

The junior women’s championship in 2011 is set for Beijing, China.

KHS ends strong at Strombom; begins 2-1

Photo: Zach Ringhouse dialed long-distance on three occasions during the 2010 Consolation Championship of the Leland G. Strombom Tournament at Sycamore High School on Saturday afternoon. The 68-44 win over the Spartans was buoyed by Ringhouse’s 11 points. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland’s boys basketball squad was running and gunning so often on Saturday afternoon in Sycamore, you’d swear they swore off Thanksgiving dinner entirely.

Rather, the two wins the Knights finished the Strombom Tourney with resulted in Hampshire and Sycamore feeling sick to their stomachs.

With a 52-42 win over Hampshire and a 68-44 number on the Spartans, the Knights won the consolation bracket for the usual Strombom Tourney stop in DeKalb County.

Huntley beat Dundee-Crown in a 51-47 overtime win for the tournament title.

Kaneland is now 2-1 in the early throes of 2010-11 basketball.

Against the Whip-purs, Hampshire stormed out to a 20-10 lead before Kaneland outpaced HHS 16-3 in the second frame to take a 26-23 lead. The Knights took control of the contest with a 40-33 win after three quarters.

Daniel Helm had a game-high 16 points, and Trever Heinle was close behind with 14.

Against the Spartans, the Knights resembled something akin to an NBA Western Conference squad, beating Sycamore to the ball on both sides of the glass and dialing long-distance on key shots.

All but one Knight got into the scoring column, led by All-Tournament selection Chaon Denlinger’s 11 and Zach Ringhouse’s 11.

Denlinger was glad to see the effort to have Sycamore commit mistakes paid off.

“(Coach Brian Johnson) told us to shoot with confidence, and we figured we could go in and rebound against them and get the boards. It was good to see the scoring spread out more,” Denlinger said.

Already up by 15 after the first quarter, KHS hit all six of its foul shots and got shots from Kory Harner, Ringhouse and Matt Spitzzeri to see the lead balloon to 36-18 at halftime.

Despite Sycamore missing just one shot from the field in the third frame, trifectas from Tyler Heinle and Denlinger helped the Knights and saw the lead balloon to 27 when Spitzzeri hit a bucket with 4:15 left to lead 50-23.

The Knights hit six-of-nine foul shots to maintain the lead in the fourth and left with a consolation championship.

“It lets me know how hard the guys are willing to work, and it lets me know we have a lot of things to work on,” Johnson said. “The football guys are in now, and we have to get them used to what we’re doing. They’re still really raw and have only had a couple practices.”

Kaneland begins its first-ever season of Northern Illinois Big XII conference play with a trip to Morris on Friday, Dec. 3.

Kaneland bowlers lose to DeKalb in opener

Photo: Kaneland’s Madi Bluml, shown here at a recent practice, helped the JV effort against DeKalb on Nov. 23. File Photo

KANELAND—With many new faces, KHS bowling is still trying to gel, and still looking for an early win.

In the season opener, Kaneland fell to DeKalb at Mardi Gras Lanes on Tuesday, 3,046-2,314.

The high series for the Lady Barbs was bowled by Brandi Underwood, who struck a 655 series. Teammate Alyssa Mershun was next with a 517 series.

For Kaneland, senior anchor Holly Thomas bowled a 571 series, with a meet-high game of 236. Thomas also bowled a 169 game, as well.

Accompanying series were bowled by Seleana Isaacs at 407 and Amanda Strayve at 374.

The Lady Knight JV ranks had a tough 1,910-1,647 loss to DeKalb, despite the efforts of Michelle Bohanek.
The freshman bowled a team-high 323 series, highlighted by a 147 game.

On Tuesday against visiting Sterling, the varsity lost 3,165-2,100, despite a 445 series from Thomas (high game 165). The JV team lost by a 2,363-1,507 tally.

The varsity troops were scheduled to head to Dixon on Thursday, Dec. 2.

Lady Knights (2-1) show grit in IMSA tourney

Photo: Knight Tesa Alderman converts on a steal and layup during Friday’s 46-37 triumph over host Aurora Christian during Hoop Happenings. Photo by Ben Draper

Thanksgiving Tournament Lady Knights at Immaculate Conception in Elmhurst on Friday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m.
by Mike Slodki
AURORA—Slow starts might not be ideal if you’re with Lady Knights basketball, they’ll live with it if it leaves room for mid-game rallies and competent fourth quarters.

Down 16-5 in the second quarter to host Aurora Christian on Friday night, the Lady Knights rallied to take the lead in the second quarter and cut down on mistakes in the second half to swipe a 46-37 result on Friday. At night three of the IMSA Hoop Happenings the next afternoon, Kaneland beat Earlville 62-34 to take the consolation championship.

The Lady Knights, under fifth-year coach Ernie Colombe, are 2-1 in the early outset of the season.

In the night two win over the Lady Eagles, Emily Heimerdinger had a game-high 17 points, followed by Tesa Alderman with six.

The Knights were 13-for-47 from the field and 19-for-29 from the free throw line.

Alderman, on the floor for stretches in which KHS was behind, rallying, and holding the lead, feels the formula for Friday’s win could be the way to go.

“Certain people got on fire and we worked as a team,” Alderman said. “Some of the drills we do in practice really help us in how to handle crunch time.”

After trailing 9-5 to AC at the end of the first frame, things got worse for Kaneland, as the Lady Eagles took their 16-5 lead with 3:17 to go in the half.

Heimerdinger hit two foul shots and a lay-up a minute later. Nicki Ott followed with a basket, and Heimerdinger hit two free throws to close within 16-13 with 1:23 remaining. After Alderman hit a free throw to close within two, Kelly Evers sunk both her foul shots to tie, and Alderman stole the ball and finished with a layup with 18.7 seconds to go to take a two-point lead. KHS eventually went into the break leading 18-17.

Up 26-24 in the third quarter, Lexie Guerra hit a layup, followed soon after by an Andie Strang shot to go up 30-25 with 1:48 to go in the frame. Heimerdinger hit a three-pointer with 1:04 left to go up 33-25, before AC scored the final five points of the quarter.

After an Emma Bradford putback with 7:08 to go in the game gave KHS a 35-30 lead, the Lady Eagles put two baskets and two foul shots together to go up 36-35 with 5:09 remaining.

Bradford then hit a shot to go ahead for good with 4:51 left, and Alderman hit a baseline jumper to go up 39-36 with 3:46 to play.

Heimerdinger, Strang and Alderman hit seven out of eight foul shot attempts to end the game up nine.

“The whole game you have to hit free throws, especially in the fourth quarter, and we took care of the ball. We didn’t turn it over too many times. There’s some stuff we want to clean up but we did a good job handling the ball,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said.

Facing Earlville in the consolation title game, Evers led the Lady Knights with 14 points while Cory Harrison had 12 points. Ott and Heimerdinger added eight points apiece.

Kaneland was 25-for-61 from the field and 12-for-23 from the charity stripe.

Kaneland stormed out to a 21-8 lead after one and was up 39-12 at the break before going up 52-23 after three.

Meanwhile, the sophomore crew has leapt out to a 2-0 start with a 36-35 Monday win over Geneva, led by Ashley Prost’s 11 points, and a 42-18 handling of Marengo. Prost led the balanced scoring column with nine points.

The Lady Knights try and improve on their early success with a matchup against Thanksgiving Tournament host Immaculate Conception in Elmhurst on Friday, Nov. 26, at 7 p.m.

Better late than never

Photo: Knight Quinn Buschbacher (22) (right) follows upfield blocking in the form of teammate Blake Serpa in Kaneland’s win. Photo by Ryan Wells

Camiliere-to-Callaghan with :10 left sends Knights to semi
by Mike Slodki
VERNON HILLS—What is it about Kaneland football and Class 5A State quarterfinals?

After Saturday afternoon, we know the Knights like playing games with a flair for the dramatic. But most importantly, they like winning them. Much like the quarterfinal win over Sterling four years ago, Kaneland pulled out a late win. Joe Camiliere hit an outstretched Tyler Callaghan in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown with 10 seconds left to stun the host Vernon Hills Cougars and fans, 27-21.

“It’s just something we’ve preached all year long about. Just keep playing. Forget about the last play, see what you can do the next play,” Fedderly said.

With the win, Kaneland now has its most wins in a season since 1998, improves to 12-0 and now hosts Lombard’s Montini Catholic this coming weekend for the right to face either Peoria Richwoods or Glenwood High School of Chatham, Ill. in the Class 5A State final at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill.

Vernon Hills, which boasts two Division I recruits in DaVaris Daniels (Notre Dame) and Evan Spencer (Ohio State), finished the year at 10-2.

KHS amassed 412 total yards, compared to 383 for the Cougars.

Camiliere was 25-for-41 for 317 yards and four touchdown throws, along with a season-high three interceptions.

“All we want to do is get it to our receivers and just move the chains. When we get in rhythm, we’re hard to stop,” Fedderly said.

Camiliere was also the leading rusher for KHS with 63 yards on 10 carries. Vernon Hills’ Brian Palmer ran 22 times for 91 yards and a TD. Balance was the key for the spread offense as six different receivers were hit throughout the game, led by Blake Serpa’s six catches for 88 yards and a score.

After trading scores in the second and third quarters, the lone fourth-quarter score came from the Knights on the final drive of the game.

After Vernon Hills missed a 38-yard field goal with 2:29 remaining, Kaneland set up shop at its own 20-yard line. A pass to Serpa and Callaghan got the ball to the Kaneland 31 before Camiliere was sacked. Camiliere rattled off two runs to get to the 46 before an incomplete pass. Quinn Buschbacher caught a second-down pass for a first-down at the VH 40, and Sean Carter caught a 17-yard pass over the middle to get to the 23. Carter then caught a seven-yard pass after two incompletions.

Setting up on a fourth-and-three from the 16-yard line, Daniel Helm caught a pass near the KHS sideline after falling on the wet grass—his most important catch of 2010.

A clock-stopping spike set up second-and-goal from the 10, leading to the deciding touchdown.

“I did everything I could to get that ball and came down with it,” Callaghan said. “We came up clutch and Helm, the freshman came up big, too.”

Vernon Hills got the scoring started with a 49-yard touchdown from Chris Argianas to Daniels on a bobbled ball with 6:38 to go in the half. Camiliere found Buschbacher on a 34-yard TD with 10 seconds remaining in the half.

In the third quarter, Palmer broke free for a 21-yard TD run with 10:06 left before Camiliere hooked up with Carter for an 11-yard score with 8:08 to go. Spencer gave VH a 21-14 lead with 1:19 left in the quarter on a one-yard run, but Serpa caught a 33-yard touchdown pass with :22 left to tie matters and set the stage for the fourth.

The Kaneland-Montini Catholic showdown is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 20, at 5 p.m.

Knight Sean Carter (25) (above) tries to avoid a Cougar defender during Kaneland’s thrilling 27-21 win at Vernon Hills in the 5A quarterfinals. Photo by Ryan Wells

PLAY OF THE KNIGHT

Daniel Helm will have something to remember 2010 by. On fourth-and-three from the 16 of Vernon Hills, Helm slipped on the grass, but caught a first down throw before standing all the way up.

Winter sports preview: KHS ready to begin A.D. (after Dave) in 2010-11

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Not only do the Knights of Kaneland boys basketball want to deal with the ghosts of last year’s regional heartbreaker against the DeKalb Barbs, they also have to deal with the six-foot-10 gap in the middle of their lineup that finished 17-10 in 2010.

Dave Dudzinski takes his impressive skills to Holy Cross this fall, still leaving coach Brian Johnson a talented roster.

“It’s something that’s going to be really different for the boys,” the second-year coach said on Tuesday. “We relied heavily on Dave. He was our best player and one of the best players in the state of Illinois. The guys are going to have to have an adjustment period where they deal with trying to figure themselves out.”

Seniors include forwards Chaon Denlinger, Tyler Callaghan and Matt Spitzzeri and guards Matt Cowans, Andrew O’Herron and Zach Ringhouse.

Juniors are forwards Sean Carter and Bryan VanBogaert and guards Trever Heinle, Tyler Heinle and Jacob Razo. Sophomores are Kory Harner and Dan Miller at guard, along with Kyle Pollastrini at forward.

Three frosh are along for the ride in the form of guards Drew David and Thomas Williams and forward Daniel Helm.

“We’re going to lean on Chaon and push him to be a complete player both offensively and defensively as a 2 or 3, and he’s got a deadly shot,” Johnson said.

The team is eagerly awaiting a full-strength roster after football season concludes, and to write a new chapter after the disappointing end.

“I know the guys here from last year definitely had a bad taste in their mouths, but want to get back and have that feeling of playing in a game like that. I think about it a lot and what I could have done differently,” Johnson said about the 50-47 regional title loss.

As usual, Kaneland begins things at the Strombom Tournament in Sycamore on Tuesday, Nov. 23, against Chicago’s Hope Academy.

Winter sports preview: Thomas leads bowling down Kaneland lane

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—How do you try to build on a team that went 3-10 (1-6 Western Sun Conference) and had a large number of departures?

Holly Thomas, senior anchor and an influx of eager new bowlers might go a long way in accomplishing that.

“Holly has already rewritten most of the record book for bowling at Kaneland,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “We already know she’s the captain, she’s the leader. We just hope some of the others can come through.”

With Seleana Isaacs, Madi Bluml and Angela Charhut also returning from the 2009-2010 experience, coach Jim McKnight is encouraged at the early outset of practice.

Other varsity and JV fixtures include Alex Hornback, Colleen Ryan, Morgan Wojciechowski, Marissa Avery, Michelle Bohanek, Kayley Larson, Amy Trotier, Raeven Smith and Amanda Strayve.

“We’re hoping that with all the new blood on the team that they will look to Holly for leadership and for example, and so far they’ve been doing a real good job,” McKnight said. “We literally had to start from square one.”

Regardless of the experience, McKnight is encouraged by the initial atmosphere.

“At the last minute, we got a bunch of girls that we weren’t even expecting. I’m seeing more from some of these newer girls and real surprised at the progress,” McKnight said.

Among the biggest new wrinkles in the season is the emergence of the Northern Illinois Big XII conference, Kaneland’s second new conference in five years.

“With the exception of schools like LaSalle-Peru and Streator, we’ve seen most of these other schools.Teams like Sterling and Dixon are perennially very strong,” McKnight said.

Winter sports preview: Wrestlers look to increase 19-win total in 2010-11

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With a solid core coming back for coach Monty Jahns’ third season at the helm and a program that thrives on aggressiveness, opponents will have to take short relief in the fact that the Knights are still waiting for athletes to get back from football.

Those include returning State qualifiers Kyle Davidson and Jimmy Boyle. Davidson’s weight class could be 152, while Boyle will stake claim to heavyweight status.

After making it to the big dance in Champaign in February, this year takes on a different light as returnees from State.

“I think they will get that respect,” Jahns said. “I would hope that they’ll take that and lead the team with it. We want to develop six or seven more of those guys this year.”

Returnees also include Zach Ganz (189), Josh Kuefler (who returns from a December injury at 130), Keagan Mattes (189), Cody McGinnis, Nick Michels (171), Tyler Esposito (119) and super sophs Esai Ponce (112) and Dan Goress (125).

“(Esai and Dan) have put a lot of time in the weight room and gained some size so they’ll be able to compete physically with a lot of these kids,” Jahns said.

For the 103-pound slot, look for sophs Stephen Gust and Connor Williams to grapple opponents, while the middleweights will be decided between a handful of juniors and seniors. Cory Taber looks to get time at 160. Ben Kovalick looks to cement the 215-pound category

A 19-10 dual meet record looks to be eclipsed, and Jahns’goal of 20 could be a possibility if some factors fall into place.

“It’s all basics,” Jahns said. “Basics and hard work, and we’ve got a good group here now. They’re all working and busting their butts to get in shape early and be ahead of their opponent.”

Winter sports preview: Girls hoops rely on improved bunch

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—You wouldn’t know this was a team that went 5-23 a year ago.

With the loss of only one player to graduation from a year ago, 11 returnees and a summer league season that was nothing to sneeze at, an improved season is not too much to ask if you’re fifth-year coach Ernie Colombe.

“We’re pretty excited,” Colombe said about his team that banged up most of 2009-10. “We don’t know what will happen record-wise, but I do know we’re improved, and the girls have worked real hard dating back to the spring with some girls playing AAU, lifting, running and summer league.”

Captains will number five for the Lady Knights: seniors Kris Bowen, Trinae Coachman, Emily Heimerdinger, Nicki Ott and Andie Strang.

“We rely on those seniors to step up for the team in a lot of ways,” Colombe said.

Strang and Heimerdinger have seen the most minutes of the captains throughout their varsity career.

“Emily’s really stepped up and she’s a lot better than she was at the end of last year. She wants success in basketball after having success on the soccer field; she got a taste of that and wants it to carry over. We definitely missed Andie down the stretch last year. She was hitting shots and was great on defense for us.”

Returning at the junior level are guards Tesa Alderman, McKinzie Mangers and Katie Taylor, and center Kelly Evers, fresh from a standout summer campaign.

“Tesa has the natural ability, we think, to be a great player in our conference. We’re trying to get her focused on some smaller things and details that maybe go unnoticed during games,” Colombe said. “Nicki also had a good summer and improved her shot.”

Six-foot-two center Cori Flowers, a transfer from Aurora Christian, joins Evers in the post.

“Realistically, we have five or six girls that people might be surprised by when it comes to contributions, based on last year,” Colombe said.

Colombe is joined by Tom Dillivan, and new assistant Kelsey Flanagan, a 2006 grad from KHS who played at DePauw in Indiana and was part of successful teams in the last decade.

Kaneland volleyball ousted in regionals

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was a productive season for Kaneland volleyball that saw KHS coach Todd Weimer’s crew overcome obstacles and stack a nice number of wins.

But the 19-14 Lady Knights’s ended just the same.

Kaneland was conceivably 12 points away from eliminating second seed Hampshire during Thursday’s Kaneland Regional. but the Whip-purs rallied and surged ahead, stopping Kaneland 22-25, 25-20, 25-18 to go to Saturday’s final against top seed Sycamore. The Lady Spartans eliminated Burlington Central 25-17, 25-22.

“It’s tough. The team’s had a productive season. For us, it’s been small steps. Finally winning a conference match, doing well in a tournament, getting close to .500, over.500, hosting a regional. This is one step at a time,” Weimer said.

Going neck-and-neck in the first game, Kaneland found itself down 16-15 before solidifying play and taking the lead for good at 19-18. Needing two points to cinch the game win, Malory Groen and Jessica Lubic (two kills, 24 assists) combined on a block, and Hampshire’s dig attempt went out of bounds to secure the three-point margin.

The second game was bumpier for Kaneland, as they fell behind 10-7 and later 17-12 before Kaneland tied it at 18. However, Hampshire closed out the second game with a 7-2 run.

Kaneland led by as much as 11-9 in game three, but Hampshire warded off any Kaneland comeback chance. With Kaneland down 18-17, the Whip-purs went on a 7-1 run to close the match.

The Lady Knights say goodbye to seniors Lubic, Melanie Thompson, Taylor Bradbury and Mackenzie Curran.

Holm representing KHS boys at State

by Mike Slodki
BELVIDERE—According to KHS coach Chad Clarey, Knight runner Trevor Holm ran his race strategy to perfection.

Based on Saturday’s perforance at the IHSA 2A Belvidere Sectional, Holm will finish his senior year in style.

One of the productive Knight anchors throughout the year, Holm finished 10th overall with a 16 minute clip.

Holm feels, despite the accolades, it was not his best race of 2010.

“No, I felt tired and I really had to push myself at the end. I was getting over being sick, but I was getting confidence toward the end,” Holm said.

Meanwhile, Kaneland as a whole unit fell short of State by one place and 28 points.

With 231 team points, Kaneland was behind Belvidere North (30), Crystal Lake Central (87), Marmion Academy (96), Glenbard South (183) and Woodstock (203).

“We wanted our 2-5 to be less than 30 seconds. Today they were 25 seconds. It was good enough to beat nearly all off the teams battling for the last qualifying spot. We just couldn’t counterbalance the 1-2 punch of Woodstock.

After Holm, teammate Nate Rehkopf was 44th overall with a time of 16:54. Close behind was Grant Alef in 45th place just one second behind Rehkopf.

In 58th, Conor Johnson finished in 17:05, while John Meisinger was 74th at 17:19.

Holm wishes the entire team was represented at State, but is glad to be down there as a lone Knight.

“It was a goal of mind, and it’s great that one of us gets to go down there instead of no one. We deserve recognition,” Holm said.

About last year…
IHSA 2A State Finals
Kaneland finished in 5th place (192 points)
Trevor Holm – 18th place (15:35)
Dominic Furco – 34th place (15:56)
Edgar Valle – 45th place (16:08)
Matt Reusche -47th place (16:11)
File Photo

Perfect 10

Photo: Knight pass-catcher Tyler Callaghan found himself up close and personal with the turf, but not until after the final KHS touchdown in a 42-0 win over Chicago’s King High School. Kaneland now awaits Crystal Lake Central on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. Photo by John DiDonna

Knights get all they need in first half of 42-0 win
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Before the beginning of the fourth quarter on Friday night, Knights Taylor Andrews and Nick Michels ran from the sidelines to the field in a sprint.

The winner of that footrace was pretty much the only question to answer on Friday.

With 21 points each in the first and second quarter, the top-seeded Kaneland squad eliminated No. 16 King High School by a 42-0 tally.

“It’s always fun to play somebody different,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “In the playoffs, you’re going to see a lot of different things, and preparation is just really important.”

The 10-0 Knights now gear up for eighth-seeded Crystal Lake Central, who outlasted Antioch on Saturday evening in overtime, 24-21.

With the running clock implemented for the entire second half, the Knights got productive nights from their key players and also found them rest.

The 42-0 shellacking of the Jaguars saw Joe Camiliere go 13-for-15 for 217 yards with four scoring strikes.

The senior and three-year starter was also the game-high rusher with 48 yards on two carries.

The leading receiver was Quinn Buschbacher, who grabbed four balls for 75 yards.

Kaneland’s scoring escapades began on it’s second play from scrimmage when Camiliere followed blockers en route to a 45-yard touchdown just 45 seconds into the game for a 7-0 lead.

On Kaneland’s third-drive, Buschbacher scored on a six-yard TD run to cap a four-play drive and made it 14-0.

Kaneland made it three successful third-quarter drives with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Blake Serpa with :57 left in the quarter.

The second quarter featured a 20-yard touchdown pass to Andrews with 11:08 left in the second frame, followed by a 12-yard slant pass to Buschbacher for a 35-0 lead with 8:29 remaining, and a nine-yard paydirt strike to Tyler Callaghan with :57 left in the first half.

The Crystal Lake Central Tigers are 8-2 entering Saturday’s tiff. The Tigers have not suffered a loss since a 14-7 setback to Peoria Richwoods on Sept. 11.

“ A lot of teams coming ahead of us are really good teams,” Callaghan said. “We’ve got a ton of potential, especially with Blake and Joe and our offensive line was really young coming into the year, but now they’re one of our strengths.”

The winner of KHS-CLC is slated to face either No. 4 Vernon Hills or No. 12 Tinley Park in a semifinal matchup.

The King Jaguars might have had a good night on the gridiron if it weren’t for the Knights. While it was going to be a tough night defensively for King, Taylor Andrews also made sure it would be trying on the offensive side. Andrews’ sack of Kendal Harris on third-and-14 from the King 10 pinned the visitors deep in their own territory. The punt landed at the King 27, leading to a Quinn Buschbacher TD run and a 14-0 lead.

And then there were 16:
Second Round 5A contests

#8 Crystal Lake (Central) (8-2) at
#1 Maple Park (Kaneland) (10-0),
Saturday, Nov. 6, 7 p.m.

#4 Vernon Hills (9-1) at
#12 Tinley Park (H.S.) (7-3),
Saturday, Nov. 6, 5 p.m.

#15 Grayslake (Central) (6-4) at
#10 Woodstock (Marian) (7-3),
Saturday, Nov. 6, 6 p.m.

#6 Lombard (Montini) (8-2) at
#3 Sycamore (H.S.) (9-1),
Saturday, Nov. 6, 1 p.m.

#4 New Lenox (Lincoln-Way West) (8-2) at #1 Peoria (Richwoods) (10-0),
Saturday, Nov. 6, 1 p.m.

#2 Joliet (Catholic Academy) (9-1) vs.
#3 Sterling (H.S.) (8-2) at Joliet Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Nov. 6, 6 p.m.

#4 Chatham (Glenwood) (7-3) at
#8 Jacksonville (H.S.) (6-4)
Saturday, Nov. 6, 1 p.m.

#3 Springfield (H.S.) (8-2) at
#2 Marion (H.S.) (9-1),
Saturday, Nov. 6, 2 p.m.

Howland first girls XC State rep in three years

by Mike Slodki
BELVIDERE—Kaneland girls cross country may not have a large presence in Peoria this coming weekend, but it will be significant.

While the Lady Knights fell short by 68 points and one place in a quest to get the entire roster down to Peoria for the Class 2A State race, junior Jen Howland will represent Kaneland.

Howland, who recently made a return from injuries in time for the State series, finished 12th in the field, finishing the course in 19 minutes, 8 seconds.

“I’m just happy to make the top 25, that was my goal,” Howland said on Tuesday. “I know anything can happen and I just have to try my best and improve my time.”

Senior Andie Strang, who was the last State qualifier in her freshman year, was 24th overall in her final high school race at 19:33.

Sophomore Ashley Castellanos finished her overall consistent campaign with a time of 19:52, good for 37th place. Senior Kris Bowen was next for KHS in her final race, finishing in 20:20.

Meanwhile, Howland spend the prep time this week practicing with the boys team.

“I’m very honored to get down to State, everyone worked real hard this year and pushed themselves,” Howland said.

Kaneland’s 198 points was behind Crystal Lake Central (82), Woodstock (94), Montini Catholic (112) and St. Francis (127).

Kayla Beattie was crowned sectional champ with a 17:03 effort for Woodstock.

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Kaneland’s Jen Howland looks to make the rest of the Class 2A State field eat dust on Saturday.
File Photo

Seeing Redskin

Football cinches first unblemished regular season since 1998
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—After Friday’s 47-7 win by Kaneland over Morris, the Redskins were probably glad the two teams met only once this season.

Kaneland had a funny way of repeating itself that way—nine times over.

The regular season-ending win for KHS squares things at 9-0 (5-0 NIB-12).

The victory over Morris gives Kaneland the first undefeated regular season since 1998, under current defensive coordinator Joe Thorgeson, and awards the Knights the first-ever NIB-12 title over Sycamore and Morris.

“I’m so happy for our seniors and all their hard work they put in over the years. It’s something that’s a special thing. Our seniors throughout the whole week talked about not wanting to have any letdown,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said.

The win also left the Redskins at 6-3 for the regular season, but they live to fight another day. Morris will be the tenth seed in Class 4A’s upper bracket and travel to Bishop McNamara in Kankakee on Friday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m.

In Friday’s contest, the Knights garnered 402 yards of offense, compared to Morris’ 238.

Kaneland earned 160 yards on the ground on 27 carries and three touchdowns. Kaneland spread the ball through the air to great effectiveness, led by Taylor Andrews’ 66 yards on four catches, and Blake Serpa’s 83 yards on two grabs.

Joe Camiliere was 9-for-11 for 235 yards on two touchdowns.

The Knights wasted little time, as a Quinn Buschbacher swing pass on the first offensive play netted 51 yards. Camiliere went up the middle for a 13-yard touchdown just 21 seconds into the game for a 7-0 lead.

Morris took five plays on the next possession to go 58 yards and ended its drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Austin Feeney to Kjeld Torkelson.

After running out of downs on their second possession, the Knights got back to work on a five-play drive and scored on a five-yard Camiliere TD run with 3:07 to go in the first frame.

Kaneland went up 21-7 soon after, as Serpa blocked a Redskins punt attempt and went 52 yards for a score with 44 seconds left in the quarter.

The Knights kept the late-October festivities going with three more touchdowns in the second frame.

Camiliere hit Buschbacher on an 11-yard scoring strike to complete a seven-play drive with 6:45 to go in the third for a 27-7 lead.

Serpa caught a bomb and strode for an 81-yard touchdown pass with 3:00 to go for a 34-7 lead, and with Morris trying to make something happen, Andrews snuffed out the Redskin threat with a 70-yard interception touchdown with :59 left to go up 41-7 at the break.

“We just came out strong,” Andrews said. “We knew it was going to be a big game. Like we say, everyone did their ‘one-eleventh’ and we fought through.”

The running clock was tripped with a Curtis Secrest 25-yard TD run with 1:03 to go in the game.
In sophomore action, Morris defeated Kaneland 21-19.

The Knights, as the top-seed team in Class 5A’s upper bracket, host the King Jaguars of Chicago’s Public League (16-seed), on Friday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m.

Kaneland or King will face the winner of (8) Crystal Lake Central and (9) Antioch in the second round.

The first season for Kaneland ended on Friday, and Blake Serpa helped end it in style. The future Chippewa’s blocked punt and touchdown return made life difficult for Morris and continued the renewed output from the Kaneland defense and special teams as of late.

RAISE YOU A KING:
Tidbits about the No. 16 King Jaguars

• The Jaguars are members of the Chicago Public League and play in the Illini Conference, Land of Lincoln division.

• King, at 5-4, is one of only two Class 5A playoff qualifiers to be outscored by their opponents during the season, along with 6-3 Champaign Centennial.

• The Jaguars, coached by Lonnie Williams, put up a season-high 34 points in a 34-26 win over Whitney Young on Aug. 26, but have been shut out twice.

Northern Illinois Big 12 East Division

Team name Conf Wins Conf Losses Wins Losses PF PA
Champion: Kaneland High School* 5 0 9 0 376 95
Sycamore High School* 4 1 8 1 305 118
Morris Com High School* 3 2 6 3 210 162
DeKalb High School* 2 3 5 4 202 203
Yorkville High School 1 4 3 6 146 220
Rochelle Twp High School 0 5 3 6 207 175

Northern Illinois Big 12 West Division

Team name Conf Wins Conf Losses Wins Losses PF PA
Champion: Sterling High School* 4 1 7 2 188 111
Champion: Geneseo High School* 4 1 8 1 305 89
Champion: Ottawa Twp High School* 4 1 6 3 264 115
LaSalle-Peru High School 2 3 4 5 173 278
Dixon High School 1 4 1 8 142 392
Streator Twp High School 0 5 0 9 66 405

*denotes playoff qualifier

Workin’ overtime: Kaneland soccer earns regional title, falls to Sterling in sectional

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was one heck of a late-season run that the Knights’ soccer roster went on, and it will be nice to reflect on in time.

All that will happen once the team catches up on sleep.

Starting with the Class 2A Sycamore Regional opener on Oct. 20 and ending with the Belvidere Sectional semifinal loss to Sterling, Kaneland played in nine overtime periods and came away with its first regional plaque since 2004.

The Knights beat Sycamore to open the playoffs in a 1-0, four-overtime thriller, and then beat top-seeded Rochelle to win the regional on Friday in a 1-0, two-overtime match.

The season came to an end with a 3-2, three- overtime loss to the Sterling Golden Warriors on Tuesday, ending the season at 11-11-2, a four-game improvement on last year’s end.

Sterling was scheduled to face Wednesday’s winner of Burlington Central-Freeport on Friday for the sectional final.

Against the Spartans, Chad Swieca knotted things up with a close-range goal with 21:32 left in regulation.

With the skies darkening and the Knights 55 seconds away from going into the penalty kick phase, Jordan Escobedo hit a header into the net off a corner kick for the win.

“I missed a bunch of goals, so I was pretty mad,” Escobedo said. “I just went down and saw the ball coming and put my head down and saw it in the back of the net.”

Against the Hubs, Kaneland waded through almost 100 minutes of scoreless soccer before Derek White scored with 57 seconds to go in the second overtime to capture Kaneland’s first soccer regional title since 2004 and the first head-to-head regional for Kaneland since the Lady Knights softball team in 2005.

At Belvidere High School, a scoreless tie was broken by Sam Rymarz with 5:11 remaining in the first half from roughly 25 yards out.

In the second half, Sterling got on the board 5:10 into the frame after a ball caromed off of two Knights.

With 3:01 remaining in the contest, the Warriors got another goal to go up 2-1. When all seemed lost, Swieca won a battle with the Sterling goalkeeper and knocked a loose ball in with 1:23 to go in regulation.

Sterling finally scored a goal with Conrado Solis knocking it in with 8:39 to go in the third overtime.

The disappointing end in the sectionals fails to take away from the prolific late-season run of KHS.

“It was fun,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said. “Nine overtimes in three playoff games? It ages you. The thing I’m most proud of is that we didn’t give up.”

Photo: J.P. Minogue stops Sycamore cold during the Oct. 20 four-overtime win over the Spartans. Kaneland was unbeaten in three meetings with Sycamore in 2010, and fought all the way to Sectionals this season. Photo by Mike Slodki