All posts by Mike Slodki

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

Boys feel better after taking two

by Mike Slodki
How do you combat a three-game losing streak at a pivotal point in the season?

How about going toe-to-toe with conference rival Glenbard South on Friday and handling a tenacious Hinckley-Big Rock squad on Saturday.

With two wins on the weekend, Kaneland improved to 11-5 and 4-3 in Western Sun Conference play.

Friday saw the Knights handle the host Raiders in Glen Ellyn by a 41-36 clip, while Kaneland also invaded Hinckley-Big Rock for a 63-49 non-conference win on Saturday evening.

Not much luck happened for the Knights or Raiders on the offensive end but KHS still led 8-6 after one and 14-12 at the half.

The Knights added to their lead and found themselves up 25-21 after the third before outscoring GS 16-15 in the final eight minutes.

Dave Dudzinski paced all scorers with 20 points, also went 8-for-9 from the foul line, accounting for all the successfull free throws on Kaneland’s end.

In Little 10-country, Kaneland led 10-7 early, but a basket and free throw tied the game at 10 for H-BR with under two minutes to go in the frame. A Dudzinski basket with 33.2 seconds to go in the quarter gave KHS a 13-12 lead but a three-pointer by Brian Michaels with 20.7 remaining and a breakaway buzzerbeater gave the Royals a 17-13 lead after one.

Hinckley kept attacking the basket and led 28-25 before Dudzinski put back a Donovan Williams trey attempt with 1:53 to go to close within 28-27 and hit another shot for a one point led with 52.9 remaining. The center hit a shot from underneath the rim to go up 31-28 with 34.9 to go while Matt Spitzzeri’s layup with 18.7 remaining closed out the scoring at 33-29.

Dudzinski hit two shots in a row and Spitzzeri nailed a shot for a 45-33 lead with 2:35 remaining in the third. The full-court press was on and H-BR called its final timeout, to the delight of the Kaneland players and coaching staff.

“We made a good adjustment in the locker room,” KHS coach Brian Johnson. “Coach Bieritz said to think about going to full-court press. If they couldn’t get Michaels, their main ball-handler the ball, they struggled a bit and our energy picked up a little bit.”

The fourth quarter featured the Knights hitting four shots in a row to nab their biggest lead of 57-36 with 5:42 to go in the game.

Dudzinski had 24 points and Ryley Bailey had 14 points for the effort.

“We knew that Michaels was their main ball-handler,” Bailey said. “We caused some of their other players to make decisions and it benefited us.”

The Knights travel to DeKalb on Friday, Jan. 22.

Photo: Inside presence Dave Dudzinski, shown here in action last week at Geneva, had a productive weekend in wins at Glenbard South and Hinckley-Big Rock. The Holy Cross signee had a combined 44 points over the weekend. File Photo

Lady Knights fall to GS, Batavia in WSC meetings

by Mike Slodki
If only the Lady Knights could capture how prolific guard Andie Strang was in the first quarter of Friday’s contest at Glenbard South, and duplicate it for everyone game-long.

The junior connected on her first four shots and scored the first nine points for KHS in a tight first quarter, but the GS offense and rebounding took hold of the game and it resulted in a 61-32 setback for Kaneland.

KHS also suffered a 46-22 loss to visiting Batavia on Tuesday night.

The Lady Knights are now 5-15 with an 0-8 record in Western Sun Conference play.

Strang led the way with 12 points followed by Mallory Carlson with seven. KHS was 8-for-15 from the foul line and 10-for-31 from the field.

The clash started out well enough as Strang was responsible for the first nine points, including a three-pointer to go up 9-7 with 2:34 to go. After the Raiders went up 11-9, two Kelly Evers free throws with 1:35 to go tied the score at 11. A Nicki Ott foul shot with 42 seconds to go closed within 14-12 before GS used two foul shots and an offensive putback to lead 18-12 after one.

Glenbard South then outscored the Lady Knights 21-12 in the second quarter to take a 39-24 lead. The third quarter’s tempo was slowed down, but still the Raiders went out to a 47-29 lead after three.

Kaneland’s night was hurt by putting up just eight points in the second half.

“We’re a young team and we’re kind of struggling, I’m sure (GS) made adjustments,” said KHS coach Ernie Colombe. “We did a decent job on defense until the shot went up, and then you get second, third and fourth chance shots and people are scrambling. That’s were we broke down.”

Against the Lady Bulldogs, Kaneland went out to a 9-6 lead before falling victim to a 21-3 second quarter. The Lady Knights trailed 41-17 after three. Carlson led the Kaneland lineup with six points.

KHS sees more WSC action its way with a Friday, Jan. 22 game vs. DeKalb.

Mckinzie Mangers file photo

Rochelle beats KHS bowling

Tuesday afternoon spelled more Western Sun Conference action for the Lady Knight bowlers, but it resulted in a loss in Rochelle.

With the slim 2,346-2,242 loss at T-Bird Lanes in Rochelle, Kaneland fell to 3-6 and 1-5 in WSC action.

Holly Thomas once again gave her squad a fighting chance with a 503 series, followed by Jessie McHenry with a 432 series and Amy Kuryliw with a 429 series.

High games were bowled by Thomas at 180 and 173, while Molly Lambert added a game of 169. McHenry bowled a 168.

The JV lineup lost a 1,944-1,546 meeting with the Lady Hubs.

Megan Scott bowled a 314 series, while Angela Charhut bowled a 306.

Up ahead for the Lady Knights is a conference clash with DeKalb at Mardi Gras Lanes on Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Holly Thomas file photo

Bowlers beat Huntley in busy week

While the Lady Knights bowling team found itself on the wrong end of a conference loss to Sycamore on Tuesday, Kaneland (3-5, 1-4 Western Sun Conference) beat Huntley by a final of 2,340-2,023 in varsity play.

Holly Thomas continued her positive trajectory on Jan. 6 with a 610 series consisting of 237, 224 and 149 games.

Teammate Jessie McHenry bowled a 455 series, highlighted by a 190 game. Tierra Lee bowled a 428 series for third best on the team.

Against the Spartans at Mardi Gras Lanes, Thomas landed a 534 series (high game 197) and Molly Lambert bowled a 482 series (high game 187).

Coming up for bowling is a Tuesday, Jan. 26, matchup vs. DeKalb.

Lady Knights come back vs. BC, lose to Batavia, Geneva

Lady Knights basketball looked like it was headed for more of the same at Burlington Central, but came out with an extraordinary win.

Using the strength of defense, rebounding and a stingy fourth quarter on Saturday, Kaneland beat the Lady Rockets by a final of 42-38.

The result sat much better than Friday night’s 43-16 loss at Batavia.

KHS also lost vs. visiting Geneva on Tuesday evening by a final of 71-18.

KHS is now 5-14 with an 0-7 record in Western Sun Conference play.

Against BC, Kaneland had 10 points from Nicki Ott and seven points and seven assists from Andie Strang. Strang also had the tough defensive task of guarding Taylor Colby.

Mallory Carlson had five points and 10 boards.

KHS had a 6-3 lead after one quarter and 19-13 going into the halftime break. Burlington Central turned it into overdrive out of the locker room and outscored the Lady Knights 19-6 in the third to lead Kaneland 32-25. Kaneland came back with defense in the final frame and outscored BC 17-6 to get the four-point nod.

On Friday in Batavia, KHS fell victim to cold shooting and missed its first 15 shots en route to a 43-16 loss.

Against Geneva, the Lady Knights went just 4-for-30 from the field and 10-for-18 from the foul line. In the two most recent contests, Kaneland lost to Geneva 139-43.

Saturday also saw the sophomores lose a 34-21 battle to BC. Friday had the sophomores drop a 38-15 decision to Batavia.

Up next for the Lady Knights in varsity play is a road jaunt to Glen Ellyn, Ill. to face Glenbard South for the final time on their home floor as conference rivals. The game is set for Friday, Jan. 15, at 5:30 p.m.

Photo: Kaneland’s Mallory Carlson is quickly enveloped by three Lady Vikings during Tuesday’s convincing loss to Geneva. Photo by Ben Draper

Wrestlers exhibit strong Sycamore Invite showing

by Mike Slodki
With the way Kaneland High School wrestling began the regular season, conventional wisdom would dictate that it would perform better in Saturday’s 34th Sycamore Invite than last year.

That line of thinking proved to be a winner.

Out of 17 teams present in Sycamore’s gym, the Knights finished sixth with 110 points as a team. It beats last year’s 13th place finish out of 16 teams (49.5) points.

While last year featured no top-three finishes, the Knights brought four of them out of Spartanland. Nick Michels took second place in the 171-pound category.

Jimmy Boyle (285), Devon Scholl (125) and Esai Ponce (103) all came away with third place finishes.

With the vastly improved finish, coach Monty Jahns didn’t put the reason soley at one more year’s experience for the squad, or the aggressiveness he wants Kaneland grapplers to employ.

“It’s a little of both,” Jahns said. “The technical skills they have gained over the last year is evident in the practice room and in competition. The coaches stress basic fundamental wrestling combined with high reps and an aggressive attack. When you have wrestlers willing to give the effort and buy into our coaching strategy, it makes coaching much easier and fun.

Lockport took the invite, as it did in 2009, with 193.5 points. Host Sycamore took second with 173 points and Grant had 158.5 for third place.

For the Knights, Michels went 3-1 on the day which began with a 4-minute, 26-second pinfall against Jacobs’ Kyle Cook.

Michels then beat Downers Grove South’s Adam Oakes with an 8-0 major decision. Michels then beat Moline’s Peter Mickiewicz with a 6-1 decision before losing to Lockport’s Matt Andre in the final, 6-2.

In the 285-pound grouping, Boyle pinned Crystal Lake South’s Sam McCole in 2:17 and then took a major decision over Genoa-Kingston’s Skyler Petracosta, 11-0. Moving to the semis, Boyle was defeated in a 3-2 squeaker by Moline’s Jeremy Howell. Boyle then clinched third place with a 9-1 major decision over Hononegah’s Max Geyer.

Scholl’s day started with a pin in 3:12 over Downers Grove South’s Travis Hill. Scholl then beat Harlem’s Mitchel Kennington 8-2. Lockport’s Jameson Oser of Lockport got the best of Scholl with a pin in 3:30 in the semis before the Kaneland asset won a 7-2 decision in the third place match over Sycamore’s Jeff Flanigan.

Ponce began his day with a 5-2 victory over Downers Grove South’s Frank Wenmouth, and then moved on to a 7-0 win over Harlem’s Jordan Northrup. The Kaneland grappler lost a 3-0 matchup with Crystal Lake South’s Nick Fontanetta before taking the third place match in a 3-2 result over Grant’s Cameron Kennedy.

Lying in wait for Kaneland wrestling is a Western Sun Conference battle at Geneva on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 5:30 p.m.

Plano speaking: Boys b-ball takes 2009 Classic title

47-39 win over Rockford Christian gives Knights third-ever championship
by Mike Slodki
What does an eight-point win over Rockford Christian get you?

How about a Plano Christmas Classic Tournament win?

The 47-39 win over Rockford Christian on Dec. 30, 2009, netted the Knights their third Plano tourney win and their first since 1994.

The win put the cap on a gathering that saw coach Brian Johnson’s crew also defeat Putnam County, Sandwich and Genoa-Kingston.

“Winning the Plano tournament gives us a head of steam going into an extremely tough part of our schedule,” Johnson said. “We are very excited about what we were able to accomplish and are hopeful that the momentum that has been built will help us within the conference.

Center Dave Dudzinski was named the tournament MVP, following Seneca’s Seth Evans who won in 2008.

Ryley Bailey was also named to the all-tournament group.

Kaneand (9-2, 3-1 Western Sun Conference) got 32 points from Dudzinski, who was also 8-for-10 from the foul line. It’s the second highest point total for a Knight, behind P.J. Fleck’s 40 against Sandwich in 1999.

Kaneland and RC were tied 10-10 after one and the Knights poured it on in the second frame and led 26-16 at the break.

While Rockford Christian closed the deficit to 32-27 after three, Kaneland won the fourth quarter battle 15-12.

Kaneland hosts rival Batavia on Friday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. The last meeting in Maple Park between the two squads on Feb. 27, 2009, resulted in Mike Pritchard’s evident three-point shot being ruled a two and a 54-53 loss for KHS.

Photo: Dave Dudzinski travels to the hoop during the Plano Christmas Classic. The Holy Cross signee scored 32 to lift the Knights to the title. File Photo

Plano Christmas Classic
2009 All-Tournament Team
*Dave Dudzinski – Kaneland (MVP)
*Ryley Bailey – Kaneland

Brayden Teuscher – Rockford (Christian)
Jahlil Smith – Rockford (Christian)
Scott Suchy – Genoa-Kingston
Josh DeGraaf – Morris
Kjeld Torkelson – Morris
Kyle Anderson – Newark
Robert Hearon – Plano
Brian Michaels – Hinckley-Big Rock
Tavis Gibson – Yorkville
Justin Wegener – Sandwich

The 00’s Champions
2000 Bureau Valley
2001 Bureau Valley
2002 Coal City
2003 Yorkville
2004 Seneca
2005 Seneca
2006 Seneca
2007 Hall
2008 Seneca
2009 Kaneland

Girls hoops split pair of contests at Geneva, Oswego

by Mike Slodki
It wasn’t just the weather outside that left the Kaneland Lady Knights girls basketball team cold on Tuesday night.

A five-point first half, 9-for-40 shooting from the field and a 12-minute stretch of no points all went toward sending KHS to a 68-25 loss in Western Sun Conference action.

“You have to sprint against (Geneva), and you’ve got to tip your hat to them,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “They’re a very talented team, obviously, and they work very hard. We can’t expect to come in here and compete against them if we’re not going to do that.”

The Lady Knights also finished up play at the Oswego East Holiday Classic with a 55-49 win over Aurora Christian on Dec. 30, 2009.

Kaneland’s record is 4-12 with an 0-5 record in the WSC.

The Lady Vikings went out to a 17-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. Kelly Evers’ bucket with 1:02 remaining in the quarter were the last Kaneland points until Nicki Ott’s basket with 5:19 remaining in the third made it 47-7.

The biggest lead for Geneva was 49 points, happening with 3:39 remaining in the game when it was 64-15.

The Lady Knights did manage to grab a win this week right before 2009 came to a close against the Eagles of Aurora Christian.

A 7-6 lead after one increased to 23-21 at the break. The Lady Knights increased the lead to 37-34 before taking advantage of AC foul trouble in the fourth. KHS made 14-of-22 foul shots in the frame and 23-of-38 foul shots in the game.

Mallory Carlson, who had 16 points, was 10-for-10 from the line with seven boards. Emily Heimerdinger had 10 points and four steals.

The girls suit up for host Batavia on Friday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m.

Grapplers finish fourth at Don Flavin Invite

The wrestlers improved to 15-6 in dual meets this season after a productive Don Flavin Invite in Dekalb that saw the Knights finish in fourth place.

The 11-team meet had Kaneland start off on a high note with Waubonsie Valley on Dec. 29, and also lose to Bloomington 36-35 and beat St. Viator 63-13.

On Dec. 30, the championship bracket had Kaneland beat Elmhurst’s York High School 32-29, and lose to Rockton’s Hononegah 44-18 in the semis before dropping a 40-24 decision to Naperville North.

Ultimately, Hononegah captured the title with a 41-27 win over Stillman Valley. Pewaukee High School of Wisc. beat Prospect 34-26 to take fifth place.

Against St. Viator in the opening session, falls were had by 215-pounder Ben Kovalick, 103-pound entry Esai Ponce, 112-pounder Dan Goress, 119-pounder Tyler Esposito, Deven Scholl at 125, 140-pounder Spencer Bergstrom, JT Webb at 160 pounds, 171-pounder Nick Michels and 189-pounder Keagan Mattes.

In the loss to Bloomington, Esposito earned a fall, while Davidson earned a 17-1 technical fall to keep it close.

Against York, Jimmy Boyle’s win in the heavyweight category by decision gave the Knights the three-point win.

Kaneland wrestling now gets set for a road jaunt to Sycamore on Thursday, Jan. 7, and the Sycamore Invite on Saturday, Jan. 9.

Photo: 171-pound Knight wrestler
Nick Michels had a
productive Flavin Invite, which included
a pinfall vs. St. Viator
of Arlington Heights, Ill.
File Photo

Lady Knights bowling begins ‘10 with 2 losses

by Mike Slodki
The bowlers got back into the swing of things at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb on Monday afternoon, but with a 2,560-2,220 loss to visiting Rochelle.

Kaneland followed it up with a 2,454-2,222 loss at Lisle Lines to the Lions.

Against the Hubs, Kaneland (2-5, 1-3 Western Sun Conference) saw a nice outing from junior Holly Thomas, who had a 555 series. The display was anchored by three games of 190, 203 and 162.

“She really shined today and is performing well as a leader,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said.
Senior Amy Kuryliw supplied a 459 series, and Jessie McHenry added a 429 series.

Melanie Early of Lisle had a 511 series to lead the hosts against Kaneland.

Thomas performed to expectations once again with a 577 series, featuring games of 226, 181 and 170.

Molly Lambert had a 435 series, while Kuryliw had a 409 series.

The bowlers get back in the swing of things with a conference matchup at Geneva on Thursday, Jan. 7, and a home matchup with Sycamore on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

Photo: Jessie McHenry of Lady Knights bowling supplied a 429 series on Monday against Rochelle. File Photo

Knight boys spreading cheer in Plano Christmas Classic

Dudzinski, Denlinger, Bailey key components in 3-0 start to tourney
by Mike Slodki

Note: The Kaneland boys basketball team won the Plano Christmas Classic, defeating Rockford Christian 47-39 Wednesday night, behind Dave Dudzinski’s 32 points. This was the fifth year the Knights have made it to the final of the Classic, and their third win.

PLANO—No.1 seed? No problem.

Kaneland Knights boys basketball (8-2, 3-1 Western Sun Conference) cut a path to the Plano Christmas Classic championship contest set for Wednesday against Rockford Christian, after defeating Putnam County, Sandwich and Genoa-Kingston so far in the tourney.

Kaneland took care of business within the cozy confines of Plano High School away from the snowy outdoor landscape, beating the Panthers of Putnam County on Saturday, 62-28.

It was prolific enough a morning that the 14 points each by Dave Dudzinski and Chaon Denlinger were enough to match the entire Panther output.

Kaneland also went 7-for-10 from the foul line, while PC went 10-for-14.

The Knights found the basket early with a 23-5 first quarter production, and kept Putnam County in check in the second to go up 35-11 at halftime.

The Knights once again outscored the Panthers by a 12-6 margin in the third to lead 47-17 after three.

The Knights took it to their second round opponent, Sandwich, in the form of a 47-27 win on Monday afternoon.

Dudzinski and Denlinger supplied 15 points apiece.

The first quarter got off to a nice start for the Knights as Denlinger supplied the first seven points.

“We like to run and Ryley gets the ball up the floor really good,” Denlinger said. “He finds a seam and gets me the ball.”

A Steve Colombe jumper and a Dudzinski putback of a Ryley Bailey blocked shot made it 12-3 with 2:05 left, and Bailey sunk a three-point basket with 31.6 seconds remaining.

That field goal gave KHS a 15-5 lead after one.

The tempo slowed considerably and Kaneland managed just two field goals from Dudzinski at 2:03 and Tyler Callaghan at 16.1 seconds for a 19-8 lead at the half.

Sandwich made six of its first eight shots in the third quarter to close within 30-21 before Callaghan made a shot with 1:39 left in the frame to go up 32-21. KHS had a cold streak which saw the team miss 12 out of 14 shots through the third and fourth quarters, but still led 32-23 at the end of the third.

The Indians put two foul shots in just eight seconds into the final quarter to close within 32-25, but two free throws and a basket by Denlinger, followed by a bucket by Bailey brought the lead to 38-26 with 3:01 to go. A reverse layup by Dudzinski put a nice flair on the afternoon and increased the lead to 45-27 with 1:35 remaining.

“When we decided to pull the ball out, extend their zone and get David the ball in the middle of the floor, he kicked it out a couple of times. That’s when we started to feel we could play our game,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said.

In the semifinal matchup, Kaneland got past the Cogs 58-47 on Tuesday.

A 21-point night by Bailey led the way and Dudzinski had 11.

Kaneland gets back into the regular swing of things on Friday, Jan. 8, 2010, vs. Batavia.

Photo: Chaon Denlinger goes skyward during Monday’s 47-27 second round win over the Sandwich Indians at the 47th Plano Christmas Classic Photo by Ben Draper

Lady Knights start 1-2 in Oswego East Holiday Classic

Girls nab win over Joliet, lose to OE and Plainfield C. at tourney
by Mike Slodki
OSWEGO—Kaneland girls basketball got off to a less than desirable start to its first-round matchup, and thus the Oswego East Holiday Classic, but found a win vs. Joliet on Monday before losing to Plainfield Central on Tuesday.

Spotting the host Wolves a 13-2 lead after the first eight minutes, Kaneland closed the dam and played with OE evenly before succumbing 43-31 on Saturday evening.

Overall, the Lady Knights (3-11, 0-5 Western Sun Conference) went 10-for-37 from the field and 10-for-21 from the foul line.

For the Lady Knights, Emily Heimerdinger and Mallory Carlson had eight points apiece to pace the effort, with Heimerdinger adding five steals.

Area standout Jordan Jackson led the host Wolves with 14 points.

Oswego East took what the first quarter had to offer with a 13-2 lead after the first frame. A Nicki Ott basket with 3:47 to go closed within 8-2, but the Lady Knights went 1-for-9 from the field, while OE had its passing game working well.

A Kelly Evers putback and a Strang basket made it 16-9 with 4:31 to go in the half. An Ott bucket with 3:48 to get within 16-11, but OE went on a 6-1 run to close the frame.

The Lady Knights got their bearing in the third and with a Tesa Alderman foul shot, cut it to 24-18 with 5:54 remaining. Oswego East converted on its opportunities in the quarter and extended its lead to 34-22 by the end of the frame.

In the second round matchup, KHS beat the Joliet Steelwomen 56-34 on Monday evening.

Andie Strang (13 points), Nicki Ott (10), Heimerdinger (11) and Carlson (11) supplied double-figure scoring for the Lady Knights.

Kaneland went 23-for-64 from the field and 7-for-20 from the foul line.

The Lady Knights hit three out of four shots and used three free throws to go on a 7-0 run and make it 38-31 with 4:12 to go, but could get no closer.

“We’ll play well, and then switch it off and not play well for four or five minutes,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe. “Our goal is trying to extend those good periods longer and longer. We need to try and turn a four-minute good stretch into a six-minute good stretch.”

Kaneland lost its third round matchup by a final of 45-37, having difficulty with shots against PC’s 1-2-2 zone. The Lady Knights were 14-for-58 from the field and 0-for-15 from the three-point arc.

Kelly Evers supplied a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards.

After their final game at the Oswego East Holiday Classic, the girls go to Geneva on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010.

Photo: Emma Bradford (32) tries a layup during Monday evening’s 56-34 handling of Joliet at the Oswego East Holiday Classic. Photo by Ben Draper

Wrestlers drop WSC clash with Yorkville, compete in Chicago

Knights earn one win out of four in busy week; prepare for DeKalb trip
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland wrestling saw its prolific dual meet streak end on Thursday night vs. Yorkville, but still managed to get one win out of three opponents at a dual meet on Saturday.

The Knights lost to Yorkville 43-19 in front of the home fans, and then traveled to St. Patrick High School in Chicago, where they lost 37-27 to Argo, 43-27 to St. Patrick and beat Kelly 39-21.

Kaneland now sits at 12-3 in dual competition.

Against Yorkville in the 171-pound clash, Nick Michels took a fall from Brian Mogle in one minute, 24 seconds. Jimmy Boyle, at 285 pounds, beat Seth Gonzalez with a pinfall in 2:30. 125-pounder Deven Scholl won a major decision, 11-3 over Chris Watts, and Dennis Brettman won a 6-1 matchup over Brian McCue in 130-pound action.

On Saturday, Kaneland got noteworthy wins over Summit’s Argo High School thanks to Dan Goress at 112 pounds (1:38 pin) and Boyle (3:34 pin). Joe Levita won a 2-0 battle at 135 pounds, and Kyle Davidson won his 145-pound matchup with a 9-2 outing.

Against St. Patrick, the Knights got pinfall wins from 140-pound entry Spencer Bergstrom at :57, Davidson at 4:31 and Boyle at 5:09.

In the lone win of the morning, 103-pounder Esai Ponce won a 15-0 outing, and Goress won a 10-2 meeting. Davidson had himself a 17-0 tech fall win, and 152-pounder Chris Sabal won a 3-1 match. Michels won his match by sticking a pin at 1:43. Keagan Mattes, at 189 pounds, won a 11-1 match. Ben Kovalick won his 215-pound match at 4:59, and Boyle went the distance in a 7-5 win.

The Knights wait until Tuesday, Dec. 29 to face top Midwestern competition. That’s when they’ll travel to DeKalb and join the Don Flavin Invite hosted by the Barbs.

Photo: 103-pound wrestler Esai Ponce, shown here in action on Dec. 5, managed a 15-0 win over his Chicago Kelly opponent on Saturday. File Photo

Grapplers take care of DeKalb, Glenbard S.

by Mike Slodki
Just call them Kaneland’s 11.

While not quite on the same scale of the ensemble movie that was released eight years ago this month, the Knights wrestling squad has shown a penchant for boosting victories— 11 of them in fact—as opposed to zero dual losses.

The Knights went into DeKalb and solved the Barbs 28-16 on Friday, and took care of visiting Glenbard South 53-18.

On Friday, 103-pounder Esai Ponce earned a 56-second pin, and 112-pound entry Dan Goress won a technical fall in six minutes. Deven Scholl, at 125, won an 8-6 decision. Mark Southern at 140 won an 8-7 decision. Chris Sabal, at 145, took a 3-2 decision. 160-pounder JT Webb stuck a pin at 1:26. 171-pounder Nick Michels won an 8-4 decision, and Ben Kovalick took a 7-1 decision at 215.

Against the Raiders on Tuesday, Michels took a pin with 57 seconds left in regulation, and Kovalick won 3-1 in his match. Goress won 11-4. Tyler Esposito managed a pin in the 119-pound matchup.

Dennis Brettman was down 5-2 in the 130-pound match and managed to leave regulation tied at 7 until executing a takedown in overtime for a 9-7 win.

“I really started out dead but saw opportunities and got a lot of points and tied it up. It was just not letting him score and doing a takedown,” Brettman said.

Joe Levita took an 11-5 win in 135-pound action. Sabal earned a pin, and Kyle Davidson won on a technical fall in a 15-0 affair at 152. Webb also earned a pin.

It all leads to a WSC showdown vs. Yorkville on Thursday, Dec. 17. KHS is ranked 10th in 2A according to Illinoismatmen.com, and Yorkville is ranked fifth.

Photo: 160-pounder JT Webb is a main reason for the hot undefeated start for Kaneland wrestling. Webb earned two pinfalls in this past week of competition. File Photo

Lady Knights victim of poor shooting against Yorkville

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Kaneland girls basketball had a tough task ahead of it on Friday night in Maple Park with an improved Yorkville squad.

The fact that the Lady Knights went 17-for-52 from the field didn’t help matters, either.

A tough shooting night that saw Kaneland make just four of 23 shot attempts in the first half and all seven foul shot attempts paved the way for a 49-40 loss to the visiting Lady Foxes.

KHS drops to 2-9 on the season and 0-4 in Western Sun Conference play.

“You’re not going to beat many teams when you’re (4-for-23) to start,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “Against Rochelle we were 5-for-31 in the first half. We’re not going to beat anybody shooting the ball like that, and that’s where it starts. We played hard all night, and we did a good job on defense, but some of the shots we missed were two-foot shots and point-blank shots at the basket, so we have to do a better job at that.”

Lone senior Mallory Carlson had a productive night with a game-high 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting.

A Nicki Ott basket with 13.9 seconds to go in the first quarter closed the deficit to 7-4.

Life got more difficult for the Lady Knights in the second quarter. Kelly Evers and Emma Bradford supplied the only field goals, and Yorkville increased its lead to 19-9 by the end of the first half.

Down 25-11 in the second quarter, Kaneland made a run and hit five consecutive shots, thanks to Carlson, Emily Heimerdinger and Tesa Alderman, to close within 28-20 with 4:20 to go.

After the Lady Foxes went back out to a 34-22 lead with 1:54 left, Carlson made good on a putback, Bradford put back Carlson’s ensuing foul shot attempt, and Bradford then converted a three-point play to close within 34-29 as the teams went into the final quarter.

A Carlson free throw 71 seconds into the fourth quarter closed within 34-30, but the Lady Knights would get no further as Yorkville upped its tempo and went out to a 46-36 lead. They’d hold Kaneland at bay for the duration.

The varsity troops take an extended break until picking up the action on Saturday, Dec. 26, at the usual Oswego East Holiday Classic stop. The Lady Knights’ first contest will be the host Lady Wolves at 6:30 p.m.

Bowlers run into WSC juggernaut schools

by Mike Slodki
Kaneland bowlers will need to pick up their game in order to navigate through a tough Western Sun Conference season.

KHS bowling fell hard to Western Sun Conference rival Sycamore on Thursday by a final of 2,886-2,141, and followed that up with a 2,948-2,125 loss to DeKalb in an “away” meet at Mardi Gras Lanes.

KHS now sits at 2-3 with a 1-2 record in conference action.

Junior Holly Thomas was the top series bowler for the Lady Knights with a 510 output, followed by Amy Kuryliw at 443 and Jessie McHenry at 418.

Thomas bowled a 202 game for the high KHS mark, and a 168 as well. McHenry bowled a 163 game.

Tops for Sycamore was area standout Chelsea Royalty with a 648 series and 234 game. Kelsey Colness also supplied a 234.

Meanwhile, the JV crew lost to Sycamore by a final of 2,125-1,621. The top series for KHS was had by Angela Charhut at 340.

Against the Lady Barbs, Thomas supplied the brunt of the offense with a 551 series and the top three games for the KHS outfit (193, 178, 180). McHenry had 445 for a series and Molly Lambert had 417.

Thomas knows she’s being counted on and uses that to drive her and the team through a tough conference stretch.

“I always have room to improve,” Thomas said. “I can be more consistent, but it gives me more confidence to be a leader, and I feel like I can bowl better.”

The Lady Knight bowlers now gear up for the Lisle Invite on Saturday, Dec. 19, at 10 a.m.

Photo: Seleana Isaacs takes to the lines vs. IMSA on Dec. 7. The sophomore bowled a 354 series against DeKalb on Tuesday and a 337 at Sycamore on Thursday. Photo by Ben Draper

Bowling continues nice start

by Mike Slodki
It’s early, but the Kaneland bowling roster will definitely take this inviting start.

With a hard-fought win on Monday evening at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb over non-conference rival IMSA, the Lady Knights are 2-1 with a 1-0 record in Western Sun Conference play.

The Lady Knights took it to the Titans by a final of 2,364-2,209, marking their second dual win in a row after losing their opener to Morris on Nov. 30.

The girls also took third out of 14 teams at the Dundee-Crown Tournament on Saturday.

Holly Thomas once again led the way as the junior had a match-high series of 509 against the Titans. Following her were teammates Molly Lambert at 417 and Jessica McHenry at 412.

High games were bowled by Thomas and Lambert at 177 and McHenry at 170.

“We’re doing OK, with Holly averaging 170,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “The other girls are hot and cold—inconsistent. Fortunately, we’ve had occasional decent scores from the others. We need to get a few girls to average in the 150s or higher in order to be even more competitive.”

In the JV matchup, Kaneland lost a close 1,763-1,760 battle despite the best efforts of Amy Kuryliw, who bowled a 412 series.

The varsity roster looks to beat host Sycamore on Thursday, Dec. 10, at Four Seasons.

Wrestlers leave opponents looking up at lights

Three dual wins on Saturday has grapplers unbeaten
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Ask the likes of Bremen, Lemont and Rochelle high schools if they had a nice weekend.

If it concerns wrestling, chances are they would have rather not faced Kaneland.

For on Saturday, the Knights of the square mat continued their hot start at 9-0 in dual competition.

The Knights beat Western Sun Conference rival Rochelle by a final of 58-17, beat Bremen 65-3 and got past Lemont 30-26.

Falls were accomplished by 103-pounder Esai Ponce (technical fall 5:59), 112-pound Dan Goress (3:55), Devon Scholl at 125 (3:10), Dennis Brettman in the 130-pound match (:57), Mark Southern in the 140-pound clash (4:19), 152-pounder Kyle Davidson (4:00), and JT Webb, who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a reversal and pin at 1:30.

“This is a really big meet,” said Webb. “I knew I had to do it for my team. I was on my back and I knew I couldn’t lose.”

Competitors like Davidson are among those who KHS coach Monty Jahns will be counting on for the season’s duration.

“Kyle is aggressive and his confidence level is high right now. He’s moving well and scoring points,” Jahns said.

The win against Rochelle proved a nice barometer for where the coaching staff felt the team was at.

“On our feet, defensively and in the bottom position, I think we were aggressive. We weren’t as aggressive on the top position as we needed to be,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said.

Nick Michels took his match with a pinfall in 5:46, and heavyweight Jimmy Boyle won with a fall in 3:31.

Southern (1:53), Davidson (5:16) and Webb (1:46) earned pinfall wins in the rout of Bremen.

Scholl (5:12), Davidson (1:42) and Boyle (3:42) took the pinfall wins against Lemont, with Goress pulling out an overtime win, 4-2, in the 112-pound match.

The wrestling crew heads to DeKalb on Friday, Dec. 11, at 6 p.m. in a Western Sun battle.

Photo: 112-pound entry Dan Goress makes life difficult in a 65-3 team win vs. Bremen on Saturday. With additional wins over Rochelle and Lemont, the Kaneland Knights’ undefeated start has produced a No. 10 ranking in Class 2A by illinoismatmen.com.
Photo by Ben Draper

Three WSC foes get upper hand on Lady Knights hoops

by Mike Slodki
The Knights fell to 2-8 and 0-3 in Western Sun Conference play with a tough week vs. Glenbard South, DeKalb and host Rochelle.

With the visiting Raiders handing the Lady Knights a 62-40 loss on Dec. 2, Kaneland went only 16-for-51 from the field and 8-for-19 from the free throw line. KHS was led by Kelly Evers’ 13 points. Tesa Alderman and Andie Strang had two steals apiece.

Down 11-2 in the first quarter, the Lady Knights went on an 8-2 run the final 5:19 to trail just 13-10 after the first eight minutes. Glenbard South used four baskets to go up 21-10 with 4:23 to go in the half. Kaneland benefited from two Alderman foul shots and a baseline jumper from Strang to close within 28-20 with 1:21 to go before the Raiders used two buckets, including a steal and layup at the buzzer, to go up 33-20 at halftime.

Glenbard South used the press to its advantage, making offensive opportunities difficult for KHS. A 13-point deficit ballooned to 18 with 1:27 to go. The Raiders went up 51-28 after three and lead by as much as 24.

“We just need to be more disciplined and not panic,” Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe said after the loss to the Raiders. “The biggest thing was the turnovers and easy layups. We get a rebound, turn it over, and it ends up two points at the end of the half. You have to go the full length of the court in three seconds, you can’t do it dribbling. It’s better to hold it than to put it on the ground.”

Against the Barbs on Friday in a 48-34 loss, Kaneland committed nine first quarter turnovers and fell behind 15-2 after the frame ended. DeKalb led by as much as 26-4 in the second quarter, when the Lady Knights found their footing. Down 29-12 at the half, Kaneland closed within 38-24 before deadlocking the Lady Barbs at 10 points apiece in the fourth. Kaneland was 13-for-35 from the field and 6-for-12 from the charity stripe. Mallory Carlson had six points and 14 boards on the evening. Saturday afternoon saw nine different Lady Knights get into the scoring column with Strang’s 10 leading the way, but it still ended up as a 63-39 setback in Rochelle.

KHS was 13-for-50 from the field and just 50 percent from the free throw line at 12-for-24.

The Lady Hubs were leading 12-6 after the first quarter and increased the chasm to 32-15 at the halfway mark.

Rochelle’s 18-8 run spanning the entire third quarter made it 50-23 before KHS outscored the Lady Hubs 16-13 in the final quarter.

In other girls basketball action throughout the week, the sophomores lost to Rochelle 52-36 on Saturday despite 12 points from Allyson O’Herron, and lost to DeKalb on Thursday by a 43-37 final score. Kylie Siebert had 15 points and Malory Groen had 12 in the effort.

Photo: Kelly Evers scrambles for the ball during the Dec. 2 62-40 loss to Glenbard South. Evers had 13 points and six rebounds Photo by Ben Draper

Boys hoops conference clash fails to go way of Knights

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—KHS boys basketball kept afloat for three quarters.

It was the fourth quarter that sunk the Knights on Friday.

Victim to a 9-0 run and going nearly 10 minutes with just two points scored served a bad ending in a 44-40 loss to visiting DeKalb in a highly anticipated matchup.

The Knights are now 2-2 with a 1-1 record in Western Sun Conference.

“It was a big game and we lost, and I’m not a big fan of moral victories, but our guys are going to learn what it takes to compete with the big boys like the DeKalbs, Batavias and Genevas, and this was a good test for us,” Kaneland coach Brian Johnson said.

The Knights were led by Dave Dudzinski, who put a game-high 22 on the board in the effort. Kaneland held Dekalb at bay for three quarters before DeKalb found its way to the basket and outscored KHS 14-8.

Recent Illinois State University-signee Jordan Threloff had a team-high 16 points.

With Kaneland using a Dudzinski dunk with 27.8 seconds left to go up 32-29, things looked to be going the Knights’ way and they led 32-30 at the end of the frame.

DeKalb went on a tear, hitting six of its first eight shots to go up 42-35 with 55.8 seconds left.

Dudzinski showed an adept outside shooting touch and hit a three to close within 42-38 with 38.9 to go. Matt Cowans’ two foul shots closed within 42-40 after a foul gave the Knights possession, but with two turnovers coming on the next two possessions, DeKalb hit two foul shots to provide the final margin.

KHS faces visiting Yorkville on Thursday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.

Kaneland shines spotlight on fall athletes with awards

Monday saw Kaneland High School dish out their annual awards for the fall sports season.

For girls cross country, Shelby Koester and Lisa Roberson were recognized by the team as captains, while Shaela Collins and Jessica Stouffer won the most improved runners nods. Junior Andie Strang took home the Most Valuable Runner award and was also recognized for her all-Western Sun Conference nomination.

In Knights golf action, the varsity most improved player award was given to Adam Grams, while Most Valuable Player was Hayley Guyton. Rhys Childs took home the frosh/soph MVP, and Dan Miller was named the frosh/soph most improved player. Guyton was also lauded for her second-place finish at the girls’ golf State gathering.

For soccer, Kevin Szatkowski, Marcos Dorado, Joe Garlinsky and Genaro Garcia were recognized as captains, and Alex Dorado and Sam Rymarz were given coach’s awards. Jake Tickle won the most improved player award, while J.P. Minogue was named team MVP thanks to his play in goal. Marcos Dorado, Derek White and Minogue were named to the All-WSC squad, while Dorado was also named the 2009 All-Sectional team.

For the tennis troops, Randi Bader, Lindsay Jurcenko and Kelsey Lenhardt were recogznied as garnering the best individual records this season with 18-7 records. Most Valuable Player awards were dished out to Jurcenko, Olivia Emmanouil and Liz Webb. Bader, Webb, Megan Cline and Mel Mazuc were recognized as captains. Jordyn Withey took home the team spirit award, while Stephanie Rosenwinkel and Jess Woodward nabbed the most improved player honors.

For the State-going boy cross country, Joe Levita, Edgar Valle, Dominic Furco, Matt Reusche and Logan Markuson were recognized as captains.

Trevor Holm and Reusche took the most valuable runner awards, while Levita was named most improved runner. Valle and Markuson were given the Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength. The Golden Knight award, given to one representative of each grade level, was given to freshman Brad Kigyos, sophomore Jake Ginther, junior Tommy Whittaker and to Furco, a senior.

Reusche and Holm were lauded for their nomination to the all-Western Sun Conference team.

John Meisinger, Ginther, Billy Hart, Nate Rehkopf, Conor Johnson, Holm, Reusche, Levita, Valle, Furco, Markuson, Whittaker and Clayton Brundige were recognized as State qualifiers.

For the playoff-going Knight football team, Brock Dyer, Ryley Bailey, Brett Ketza, Eric Dratnol and Derek Bus were recognized as captains, while Kyle Davidson won the most improved player award. Dratnol was named the Most Valuable Player. Bailey was named the offensive MVP and Taylor Andrews won the defensive MVP award.

Bailey, Joe Camaliere, Andrews, Tyler Callagahan, Dratnol, Ketza, Jimmy Boyle and Blake Serpa were given all-WSC honors, as mentioned in last week’s Elburn Herald.

In volleyball, Jessica Lubic was named the Most Valuable Player, while Katy Dudzinski was given the top offensive player nod. Kylie Siebert won the top defensive player nod. Tara Groen was named best server, and Meredith Ament took home the spirit award. Mackenzie Curran won the most improved player nod, and Lubic and Dudzinski were nominated for the all-Western Sun Conference roster.

Photo: Tennis asset and tri-MVP Lindsay Jurcenko was one of the many KHS athletes noted for exceptional play during the fall season. File Photo

Bowlers split first two battles

by Mike Slodki
While there were some positive indicators in Monday’s opening bowling matchup with host Morris, the end result was not what Kaneland was hoping for.

Kicking off the 2009-10 season at Echo lanes off of Route 6 in Morris, the Lady Knights lost by a final of 2,635-2,018 to fall to their future Northern Illinois Big 12 rival.

However, the Lady Knights came back to top WSC rival Geneva on Tuesday at Mardi Gras Lanes with a 2,443-2,280 victory.

KHS now sits at 1-1 (1-0 WSC).

Expected to produce big numbers for Kaneland this winner, Holly Thomas bowled a 517 series and had the top three games bowled with 185, 172 and 160 totals.

“She knows exactly what to do out there,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “We are also looking for improved score from girls like Jessica McHenry and Amy Kuryliw.”

Teammate Seleana Isaacs bowled a 382 series, while McHenry bowled a 378 series.

Against Geneva, Thomas came through again with a 537 series, highlighted by a 200 game. Molly Lambert bowled a 471 series, while Isaacs bowled a 371 series. Other high games were Thomas’ 179 and Lambert’s 172.

The JV crew also game away with a 1,892-1,814 victory. Jenna Bartel paced the effort with a 377 series.

KHS takes third at Strombom hoops gathering

by Mike Slodki
How’s that for an opener?

Marking the first game of the coach Brian Johnson era, the Kaneland Knights boys basketball team took roughly a quarter to find its footing before captializing on fast breaks and high-percentage shots.

The resulting offensive party lead to an 82-53 win over Aurora Christian at the opening contest of the historic Leland G. Strombom Holiday Tournament at Sycamore High School on Nov. 24.

Following that contest, the Knights lost to Hampshire in overtime, 54-49 on Friday, and beat host Sycamore in the third-place game, 58-56.

On Tuesday, Kaneland improved to 3-1 (1-1 Western Sun Conference) with a 61-52 win vs. Glenbard South.

Center Dave Dudzinski paced the opening-night effort with 26 points. The night for the Holy Cross-signee included a three-pointer and 5-for-7 from the foul line.

“Both teams were kind of butting heads for awhile, and once we settled down and found our stride, everything just seemed to start clicking for us,” Dudzinski said.

Teammates Chaon Denlinger and Ryley Bailey added 11 points each. Donovan Williams added 10 for more scoring balance.

The Knights were 8-for-13 from the line, as well.

A Bailey bucket gave the Knights a 12-10 lead with 1:29 to go before AC tied it with 49 seconds left. Williams converted on a field from Bailey with :35 left for a 14-12 lead, and then hit a trey with seven seconds remaining in the frame before Aurora Christian nailed a three at the buzzer, thanks to Ryan Suttle, to make the score 17-15.

With 6:10 left in the second quarter, a Nick Marema three-pointer put the Eagles up 23-17 and completed an 11-0 run.

Kaneland then went on an absolute tear with a 14-0 run, capped by Dudzinski’s basket with 2:31 remaining in the half for a 31-23 lead.

Taylor Andrews hit a shot with 1:04 to go for a 37-28 lead, the Knights’ biggest up to that point ,and KHS went up 39-32 at the break.

Kaneland the scored the first five baskets of the third quarter thanks to Denlinger, Bailey and Dudzinski, for a 49-32 lead with 5:41 left in the frame.

With Tyler Callaghan’s basket with 1:01 left in the third, the Knights took their biggest lead of the game at 62-41, which is how the quarter ended. The biggest lead for the game was 29 at the end of the contest.

“Once we kind of spread out the floor, we were able to get better looks,” Johnson said. “It helps to have a 6-foot-9 kid in there to create stuff, but the kids were real smart with their shot selection.”

Against the Whip-purs, Denlinger had 21 points, while Dudzinski had 14 and Bailey had 10. The game was tied after regulation at 41.

Battling the Spartans, Dudzinski had a game-high 16 points, and the Knights were a helpful 17-for-22 from the foul line.

Against GS, Dudzinski and Denlinger had 20 points each, and parlayed a 35-20 halftime lead into a win.

Soph action had the Knights win their own tournament with a 57-55 OT win over Sycamore on Nov. 25.

Friday sees Kaneland host DeKalb at 7 p.m.

Photo: Knight Sean Paulick takes to the air during Kaneland’s 58-56 win over rival Sycamore in the Strombom tourney on Saturday evening. Photo by Ben Draper

KHS grapplers manage strong start with 3 wins

by Mike Slodki
BURLINGTON—Why can’t every meet be like this for the Kaneland wrestlers?

While winning against every opponent for the remainder of the year is monumentally tough, the KHS crew saw at least a glimpse of what it was capable of on Saturday.

The Knights won their first three obstacles on Saturday, beating host Burlington Central 40-26, Oswego 27-21 and Freeport 35-6.

Against the host Rockets, pinfalls were had by 103-pounder Esai Ponce (4 minutes, 52 seconds), 112-pounder Dan Goress (1:38), 119-pounder Josh Kuefler (:54) and Nick Michels at 171 (3:41).

125-pound anchor Devon Scholl won a 4-1 decision, and Joe Levita took a 9-2 win at 135. Kyle Davidson, the 152-pound entry, won a 6-3 encounter. 215-pounder Ben Kovalick came out with a 3-2 victory, and heavyweight Jimmy Boyle won 3-1.

When the Knights handled the Panthers, all the wins came on points thanks to Goress (2-0), Kuefler (8-2), 140-pounder Mark Southern (4-1), Davidson (2-0) and Boyle (3-0).

“I just had to be more aggressive,” Boyle said on his win that went the distance. “I could see he was getting a little tired and I just had to keep going.”

Against the Pretzels, the Knights saw impressive wins from Goress (15-1), Dinnis Brettman (11-2) at 130 pounds and 160-pounder JT Webb (17-1).

Photo: 189-pound entry Keagan Mattes, shown wearing a bandage after his Oswego opponent was bleeding, manuevers for points on Saturday. Photo by Mike Slodki

Girls hoops splits IC tourney

The Lady Knights basketball squad would rather take the first half of their tournament at Immaculate Conception High School in Elmhurst during Thanksgiving week.

Winning the first two but losing the last two, Kaneland now sits at 2-5 on the season.

Kaneland’s first win of the season came on Nov. 24 at the hands of Luther North of Chicago by a final of 57-40, thanks to 13 points from Emily Heimerdinger and 12 points from Emma Bradford.

The Lady Knights went 25-for-71 from the field and 7-for-16 from the foul line.

Kaneland was up 17-11 after one quarter before seeing the lead shrink to 28-25 at the halftime break. Kaneland pulled away in the third to go up 42-36 before going on a 15-4 run in the fourth for the win.

KHS then nabbed its second straight win on Nov. 25 against Elmwood Park in a 41-34 affair.

Mallory Carlson was the lone Lady Knight in double figures with 15 points, as Kaneland went 17-for-51 from the field and 7-for-17 from the free throw line.

Despite falling behind 15-6 after one quarter, KHS managed to close within 22-15 at the break before outscoring its opponent 26-12 in the second half.

The last two matchups in Elmhurst provided a bit roughter as Kaneland lost to host IC on Friday, by a final of 64-17, in a game that featured a scoreless third quarter.

In the finale on Saturday, Plainfield South bested KHS by a 57-45 final despite 15 points from Carlson. The Lady Knights went 19-for-73 from the field.

The Lady Knights try to right the ship vs. DeKalb in Maple Park on Friday, Dec. 4.

Lady Knights drop matchups with E. Aurora, Westmont

Lady Knights basketball is hoping that the next couple of contests go better than their three opening games.

After losing their opener at Rosary on Nov. 17, the KHS troops went to East Aurora on Thursday only to drop a 48-41 affair.

The girls also opened action at the Immaculate Conception Thanksgiving tournament in Elmhurst with a 54-41 setback at the hands of Westmont on Monday.

Coach Ernie Colombe’s squad is 0-3 as it continues at Immaculate Conception. Kaneland had won four straight meetings since losing a regional opener in February, 2006, to the Lady Tomcats.

Senior Mallory Carlson paced the Lady Knights with a team-high 13 points. Tesa Alderman followed with seven.

The Lady Knights fell behind early after the first quarter by a 12-5 count, but closed to within 26-24 at the halftime break. East Aurora took control in the third frame with a 14-7 edge and a 40-31 lead.

Kaneland outscored the Lady Tomcats 10-8 in the fourth quarter to no avail.

Against the Sentinels, a former conference mate in the Suburban Prairie Conference, the Lady Knights fell behind 18-8 after one quarter and 34-15 after two.

Kaneland came back in the third quarter to close within 40-29 until Westmont held its ground.

The Lady Knights were 14-for-37 from the field and 3-for-11 from three-point land. Andie Strang had a team-high 14 points, followed by Emily Heimerdinger with nine.

In other Kaneland-East Aurora action, the freshmen “B” team handled its task with a 21-8 win and the “A” squad won 43-32 thanks to 14 points from Ashley Prost. The sophomores lost 44-41 despite 18 from Kylie Siebert.

On Nov. 17, the freshmen “B” won 15-13 over Rosary, while the “A” won 32-16.

On Saturday, the sophomores were defeated by visiting Rochelle by a 39-22 final.

Next up for the Lady Knights is another IC Thanksgiving game vs. the hosts on Friday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m., and the tourney finale vs. Plainfield South on Saturday, Nov. 28, at 1 p.m.

Kaneland Knights football recognized for talent, smarts

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Kaneland High School learned of five football players that were not just exceptional on the field, but in the classroom as well.

Linemen Brett Ketza and Eric Dratnol, cornerback Taylor Andrews, linebacker Tyler Callaghan and quarterback Joe Camaliere were named to the Class 5A All-Academic All-State team last week.

“That’s what we really strive for,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “To achieve in the classroom and to be leaders on the field is great.”

Not only did those five get recognized for classwork and ability, they also joined lineman Jimmy Boyle, linebacker Blake Serpa and wideout Ryley Bailey for the final version of the All-Western Sun Conference team.

The offensive co-MVP’s of the conference were Glenbard South QB Trace Wanless and Sycamore RB Marckie Hayes.

The defensive co-MVP’s of the conference were Glenbard South DL Austin Teitsma and Geneva DL Frank Boenzi.

Rosary beats Lady Knights in hoops opener

by Mike Slodki
AURORA—A fast start for one team usually means doom for another.

In that case, it was the Kaneland girls hoops team that was the victim on Tuesday evening.

The Lady Knights fell behind 21-4 after the first eight minutes en route to a 50-32 setback to host Rosary.

Kaneland, winless in season openers since 2005, fell to 0-1.

For KHS, Nicki Ott led the team with eight points, followed by Tesa Alderman with seven.

The Lady Knights were 15-for-45 from the field and 2-for-9 from the foul line. Rosary’s Jordan Rettig had a game-high 11 points.

“We had a chance to add them to our schedule,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “If you play a good team like that, it’ll make you better.”

Despite an Ott basket with 5:47 to go in the first to make it 8-4, Rosary went on a 13-0 run to close the quarter.

McKinzie Mangers’ bucket with 34.6 ticks left in the half put the Lady Knights in double figures at 28-11.

Alderman and Mangers came up with three consecutive steals in the fourth for a nice flurry, and Kaneland closed the deficit to 18 by the game’s end.

“I thought we were really tentative in the first half and came out a little nervous. I was happy in terms of the way we battled,” Colombe said.

The sophomores lost to the Royals by a final of 30-25.

The varsity troops try and best host East Aurora on Thursday, Nov. 19.

Photo: Lady Knight Trinae Coachman goes up for a bucket during the first quarter of Kaneland’s 50-32 loss at Rosary. Coachman pulled down five boards in the loss. Photo by Ben Draper

Lady Knights look to steady core in 09-10

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Look beneath the surface if you’re worried about Kaneland girls basketball in 2009-10.

While the Lady Knights finished 8-19 a year ago, with a 3-11 mark in Western Sun Conference play, they did manage a playoff victory for the first time since 2005.

In addition, even though Kaneland lost seven seniors to graduation, the team returns a core of players that saw quality minutes in the starting lineup.

“We definitely lost a lot in terms of graduation,” fourth-year coach Ernie Colombe said. “We are fortunate that we do have Andie Strang, Mallory Carlson, Emily Heimerdinger and Kelly Evers back. Emily and Andie were in our rotation the entire season and gained valuable experience.”

With Strang and Heimerdinger looking forward to bigger roles, Carlson and Evers look to join them in creating a nucleus.

“Mallory knows that she has to step up this season, and we feel like she can do that. Kelly played on the sophomore (team) and the varsity at the end of the year, and we think they’ve all improved,” Colombe said.

New additions to the varsity roster primed for contribution are Nicki Ott, Emma Bradford, Tesa Alderman and Trinae Coachman.

Also making up the Lady Knights roster is Kris Bowen, Tatiana Brown, McKinzie Mangers and Jessica Stouffer.

All will need to subscribe to a “zero-tolerance” policy when it comes to turnovers, a stat that plagued the team a year ago.

“Turnovers really did hurt us last season. We know that we have a young team and we have to be patient in some aspects this season. We are emphasizing taking care of the basketball and knowing what a good pass and a good shot is,” Colombe said.

Working on that aspect will go a long way to adding success to the roster.

“The biggest positive we have right now is that we really have a group of kids that enjoy being around each other and want to work together to get better,” Colombe said.

With the end of this coming season brings the end of the WSC, Colombe said that focusing on the present will help in the future.

“We believe playing in this conference will prepare us well for the move to the new conference. There are no easy games, and the new conference will be tough night-in and night-out,” he said.

The girls began their season on Tuesday in Aurora against Rosary.

With new home, bowlers look for welcome season

by Mike Slodki
DeKALB—When you are looking to turn the page on a program, you might as well start with a new home.

Looking to go on the comeback trail, the KHS bowling team has packed up its belongings after the shutdown of AMF Valley Lanes in North Aurora, and moved to Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb.

“It’s very different here, but the lanes are nice, it’s clean and well-managed,” Kaneland head coach Jim McKnight said.

The Lady Knights, who finished 5-15 in 2008-09 competition, lost seven seniors to graduation, but returned a valuable number of bowlers.

“We’re looking for Holly Thomas to be the big gun, with Jessica McHenry and Amy Kuryliw bowling full time this year,” McKnight said. “They’re throwing the ball real well so far.”

With Thomas (148 average) in her third year, McHenry (123 average) in her third year, and Kuryliw in her fourth, a stable core is key to Lady Knight success.

“McHenry is a natural leader and a hard worker, Thomas is working hard and bowls quite a bit year-round, and Amy is ready to step up and surprise people,” McKnight said.

Other varsity entries in 2009-10 include senior Jenna Bartel, senior Molly Lambert, senior Tierra Lee and sophomores Seleana Isaacs and Megan Scott.

Other competitors for Kaneland bowling looking to make a contribution are senior Sabrina Gabrielle, sophomore Madi Bluml and the lone freshman, Angela Charhut.

The Lady Knights start the regular season off with a matchup on Monday, Nov. 30 at Morris, and end the regular campaign on February 2 at Geneva for the final Western Sun Conference position night.

Photo: Bowler Holly Thomas, who bowled an average of 148, will be counted on heavily for good things at Kaneland. File Photo

Brian Johnson era begins for boys basketball

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—West Aurora’s loss is Kaneand’s gain.

Brian Johnson, an assistant to Gordie Kerkbaum at West Aurora High School a year ago, makes his coaching debut next week in Sycamore.

With a first-year coaching gig on the way, and the challenge of trying to improve a team that went 13-13 (5-9 Western Sun Conferernce) on the way, the task can seem overwhelming.

“I still have a lot to learn,” Johnson said. “I’m learning how to handle the kids energy.”

But the former Judson College player has a built-in ace up his sleeve.

“It starts with Dave, who’s a very good player,” Johnson said.

College of the Holy Cross-signee Dudzinski returns for his senior campaign, having averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game last year. The senior was also nominated for a McDonald’s All-American honor this week.

Johnson also likes what he has with other players going into the 2009-10 season.

“We have guys that are tough—that are looking to get to the next level,” Johnson said.

Returnees include senior guard Ryley Bailey, forward Steve Colombe, who has a flair for the perimeter game, forward Sean Paulick, guard Donovan Williams, forward Chaon Denlinger and forward Pat Fleming.

“Ryley has had a real nice couple of weeks. He’ll be a really strong player for us. Denlinger has gotten a lot better defensively,” Johnson said.

New to the varsity ranks are forward Danilo Bruno, guard Zach Ringhouse, guard Andrew O’Herron, forward Matt Spitzzeri, guard Matt Cowans, forward Taylor Andrews and forward Tyler Callaghan.

“The guys will get used to playing with each other and learning their role and we’re still trying to see where guys will fit in for us, but guys like Taylor, Tyler and Sean are unsung guys who will do the little things,” Johnson said.

The Knights hit the Strombom tournament in Sycamore for Thanksgiving week, beginning with Aurora Christian on Tuesday, Nov. 24.