Category Archives: Boys Basketball


Dudzinski bides time before next step

Europe a possibility for former Knight roundball talent
KANELAND—After another workout bordering six hours, KHS Class of 2010 member Dave Dudzinski has a philosophy surrounding his plan of attack.

“I want to make this my career,” he said.

Home for two-and-a-half weeks, the 6-foot-9 frontcourt presence has spent this summer doing what he spent eight years total at Kaneland and the Patriot League’s Holy Cross College: honing his court game.

Fresh off an All-Patriot League senior year which saw him average a steady 15.2 points per game, Dudzinski has been working out regularly at KHS with future Aurora University Spartan Tyler Carlson with the purpose of solidifying his skills and waiting for that call.

Now signed with Boston-based Pro Partner Sports Management, an agency that houses many American college players who have gone to play in Europe, Dudzinski feels that could be the next step.

“They’ve been good to me and I trust them,” Dudzinski said. “They mostly deal with guys from America that have gone to Europe. They’ve had talks with teams in Switzerland, Belgium, France and Romania. Spain and Italy are the most talented leagues; that’d be like graduating college and going right to management.”

Dudzinski would love to hit the NBA peak, but is also realistic coming from the small Division I Holy Cross.

“My skillset is not NBA-ready, but I have to keep training. I want to be physical enough for Europe and to be a ‘stretch 4,’” Dudzinski said. “I’m looking at this as my job.”

Last month also gave Dudzinski a glimpse at what the job at the highest level of play would entail, as he was one of six college players invited to a pre-draft workout with the Boston Celtics at their practice facility in Waltham, Mass.

“It was extremely tough, but it was cool to see guys like (Miami Heat player) Shabazz Napier and (Michigan State player) Keith Appling leading up to the draft. Just to be there was cool,” Dudzinski said. “You get a feel for how they do it in the NBA.”

Dudzinski’s trajectory, dating back to his time bumping bodies in the Western Sun Conference paint, has seen constant improvement, always with an eye on what’s ahead.

“I think I’m a lot more comfortable playing in front of bigger crowds now,” Dudzinski said. “I’m a smarter player, and I became more of a vocal leader at Holy Cross. I think all of that gives me a better shot.”

No downtime

Johnson’s roundball outfit takes to court for busy month
KANELAND—Kaneland’s 2013-14 boys basketball team had itself quite the ride, that featured a buzzer-beating regional final win over Marmion Academy and a sectional semifinal appearance against Rockford Lutheran.

Whatever ride the Knights hope to have in 2014-15 begins now.

An 18-10 final record was a nice turn of events, but with departed sharpshooters like Drew David, Tyler Carlson, John Pruett and more away from the Maple Park base of operations, it’s time for KHS to look from within again.

“You’re basically getting the guys to get used to playing with one another,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “They know what we need to do.”

With David, Carlson and Pruett vacating the roster, its up to returnees like Ryan David, Dylan Vaca, Jacob Gomes, Connor Fedderly and Steven Limbrunner.

“Ryan and Dylan saw a lot of time as sophomores, and Jacob is six-foot-five and we’re glad he’s back and staying healthy. Connor is probably the best shooter on the team right now, and Steven and guys like Owen Korpela came in and worked hard every day in practice,” Johnson said.

Dealing with camps for various levels and the weekly Geneva League in the evening, routine seems to be paramount for the Knight roundball crew.

“We’re just getting them playing together, Drew is helping out with the camp and it’s nice to have another set of eyes. He was a leader on the court for four years. I’m looking for a lot of things this summer,” Johnson said.

Besides the Geneva League, the Kaneland basketball summer brigade takes a bit of a different tour, replacing the usual Morris shootout with a shootout excursion to Glenbard East.

“Morris always fell on the last day of Geneva’s league, and we just felt it was right to complete the whole league. We’re also going to Glenbard East’s shootout, which has great teams, and we’ll see St. Joseph’s, which has a legendary coach,” Johnson said.

Kaneland’s tour also sees the West Aurora Shootout on Friday, June 20, and the Waubonsie Valley Shootout on Tuesday, June 24.

The Geneva League features 20 Chicagoland area teams, with Kaneland in the Blue Division along with Geneva, Bartlett, Metea Valley, Mooseheart, Naperville Central, St. Charles East, Streamwood, Waubonsie Valley and West Chicago.

Kaneland boys basketball golf outing June 7

SUGAR GROVE—The Kaneland Boys Basketball program will host its fifth annual golf outing on Saturday, June 7, at Bliss Creek Golf Club in Sugar Grove.

The event is a fundraiser for the program, and funds raised will go toward uniforms, equipment, and fees for summer leagues and shootouts.

A variety of prizes donated by local businesses will be available in a raffle. There will also be a silent auction.

The golf outing will be a scramble and costs $100 per person or $400 for a foursome. Dinner is included for all golfers. Dinner-only tickets are $40.

To sign up or for more information, including sponsorship information and donations, contact head coach Brian Johnson at




Postseason party

Photo: Senior Tyler Carlson was named co-Player of the Year for the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference. Fellow seniors Drew David and John Pruett also made the all-conference squad. File Photos

Knight boys see sectional berth pay off
KANELAND—It wasn’t the end of the good times for Kaneland boys basketball last week, even with the season-ending loss to Rockford Lutheran.

On Thursday, the Northern Illinois Big XII All-Conference list was released, featuring three unanimous first-team selections from the Knight roster.

Seniors Tyler Carlson, Drew David and John Pruett were all named to the first team in the East division. Carlson was also named as co-Player of the Year.

“Tyler Carlson had a very good season. He had the best season in my tenure at Kaneland since David Dudzinski,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said.

Other East first team selections included Morris junior Austin Patterson, Sycamore seniors Devin Mottet (co-Player of the Year) and Ben Niemann, DeKalb junior Rudy Lopez and Yorkville junior Kyle Shimp.

Knight senior Cole Carlson’s senior campaign resulted in an honorable mention for the All-Conference list.

Note: Carlson will also be competing in this weekend’s Three-Point Showdown at Carver Arena in Peoria, Ill., as part of the IHSA 3A and 4A State finals. Preliminary round shooting begins on Thursday, March 20, at 5 p.m.

Carlson, who put up 70 points combined in regional final and sectional semifinal action, emerged with Belvidere’s Maurice Jackson, Burlington Central’s Drew Wiss and Marian Central Catholic’s Kyler Hardie out of the Hampshire Sectional as qualifiers.

One of 32 3A competitors, Carlson is joined by fellow NIB-12 competitors Patterson of Morris and Zach Rehmert of Sterling, Ill.


Every second counts

Sectional semi loss follows David’s buzzer-beater for Regional crown
KANELAND—Kaneland boys basketball set the bar pretty high for Tuesday evening’s Hampshire Sectional semifinal against fellow No. 1 seed Rockford Lutheran.

After all, how could a team top a 62-60 Kaneland Regional final from Friday night that saw Drew David’s 20-footer go in as the buzzer sounded, prodding the KHS faithful to storm the court?

For the first 16 minutes of play in Hampshire on Tuesday night, it seemed like KHS would top the weekend and write a ticket to the sectional championship on Friday, up 37-26 at the break.

But a 31-11 third quarter in favor of RL put Kaneland in a deep hole. The Knights were able to cut it to two before RL ran away in a 76-61 win.

Kaneland finishes the 2013-14 season at 18-10. Rockford Lutheran was set to face the winner of Wednesday’s Marian Central Catholic-Sycamore contest.

Senior Tyler Carlson had 38 points Tuesday against Rockford Lutheran. Photo by Patti Wilk
Senior Tyler Carlson had 38 points Tuesday against Rockford Lutheran. Photo by Patti Wilk

Tyler Carlson put up 38 points against the Crusaders, with John Pruett adding 15 in the losing cause.

“At halftime, we were real excited,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “The kids were pumped, and I almost think it crept into their mind like ‘we’re going to win this game’. Against a team like Rockford Lutheran, who are very well-coached and has so many guys who can put it in the hole, you just can’t have that mentality.”

Down 19-11 in the first, Pruett made a putback and Carlson managed a three-point play to close it to 19-16 with 28.4 seconds left to close the scoring.

Midway through the second quarter, the Crusaders sunk a trey to take a 26-25 lead with 4:51 to go, but KHS went on a torrid 12-0 run capped by a Carlson three with 12.8 to go.

Fueled by six straight made shots in a row, RL would turn a 41-33 hole into a 57-47 edge before a Carlson free throw with 3.2 ticks left in the frame made it 57-48 going into the fourth.

KHS had one last run left in it, with four free throws from Carlson and Pruett and a trifecta from Carlson to close within 57-55 with 5:51 remaining. However, RL stormed further out into the lead with a 14-0 run to go up 71-55 with 1:58 to go, cinching the game.

Despite the season-ending setback, Johnson could appreciate Knight postseason performances like Carlson’s two-game explosion.

“(Carlson) was just outstanding. You could tell he was determined. It’s not something that comes easy for Ty; he worked really hard,” Johnson said.

Carlson, who put up 30 points against the Cadets, was no stranger to the close contests with the Aurora rival, having himself sunk two foul shots with under two ticks left to beat Marmion on Jan. 14.

“I can’t say enough about my teammates; they were playing awesome,” Carlson said. “Drew hitting that shot? That kid’s clutch.”

Drew David
With under a second to go against Marmion Friday, senior Drew David pulled up for a long two-pointer, draining the shot and prompting the Kaneland faithful to storm the court for a postgame celebration at KHS. The Knights won 62-60, but fell Tuesday to Rockford Lutheran in the Sectional. Photo by Patti Wilk

In the Friday setting that revealed the Knights’ second regional plaque in three seasons. Marmion led early 14-4 before Kaneland put in the next six points to close within 14-10.
Eight key foul shots by Carlson, including four on a technical foul, along with two Pruett foul shots helped supply an eight-point advantage. Marmion hit a shot with 7.3 left to close it to 34-28 before halftime.

The Cadets owned the third quarter, outscoring the Knights 18-8. Carlson’s bucket with 3:03 left in the frame gave Kaneland a 42-39 lead, but Marmion put up the last seven points in the quarter to head to the fourth up 46-42.

While Marmion was a flawless 8-for-8 from the foul line in the fourth, Kaneland held its own. Pruett’s putback and free throw managed to tie the game with 2:17 at 56-56. Two foul shots by the Cadets with 1:53 left lifted the visitors to a 58-56 lead. A floater by Cole Carlson followed with 1:40 to go to tie matters again. David hit free throws with 42.3 left for a 60-58 lead, and Ryan David’s chance to up the lead with two foul shots of his own came up empty.

“(Drew) makes those two free throws, he makes the game winner. I say it all the time, he’s a four-year starter, captain, an All-State football player. You come to expect those things out of him,” Johnson said.

Cadet Jordan Glasgow hit a shot attempt with 10.5 left, paving the way for Tyler Carlson to dribble up and haphazardly pass to David just inside the arc for the game-winner.

“This is something that not a lot of people get to do, and for us to do it especially the way that we did, it’s insane,” David said. “It’s something that I’ll never forget. It’s awesome.”

There wasn’t a lot of time to think once the game was deadlocked again.

“We wanted to get a stop. We thought we could win it on the defensive end. Once they got a bucket, everything just kind of went crazy,” David said.

After the loss to Rockford Lutheran, Kaneland says goodbye to seniors David, Pruett, Tom Van Bogaert, Tyler Carlson, Eric Przbylski and Cole Carlson.

Photos from Kaneland/Marmion game (by Patti Wilk):

Photos from Kaneland/Rockford Lutheran game (by Patti Wilk):

Ringhouse earns college conference honor

ASHLAND, WIS.—Maple Park native and Northland College junior guard Zach Ringhouse was named to the 2013-14 Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Men’s Basketball All-Conference Honorable Mention. Ringhouse finished his junior campaign with 332 points, which ranked eighth in the conference at 13.3 points per game. Ringhouse also ranked second in the conference in three-point field goal percentage at 41.4 percent. For the second year in a row, Ringhouse’s three-point field goal percentage was good enough to rank him in the top 50 among all NCAA Division III student athletes at 34th.


Prize fighting

Photo: Senior Drew David was a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line on his way to a team-high 22 points against Glenbard South Tuesday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Share of NIB-12 title in bag, Kaneland begins Regional quest
KANELAND—Say this for Kaneland High School boys basketball: they’re playing a brand of ball that works at the right juncture of the season.

With a furious fourth quarter on Tuesday night, KHS was able to defend its No. 1 Regional seed with an 81-70 win over former conference rival Glenbard South.

With a regular season-ending win over the visiting DeKalb Barb in Maple Park on Friday, 57-55, the Knights were able to secure a triple-share of the Northern Illinois Big XII title. KHS shares it with Morris and Sycamore and has now captured at least a share of the East Division three of the last four years.

Kaneland (17-9, 7-3 NIB12) has won seven of nine after Tuesday’s Regional semifinal clash with Glenbard South.

For the Kaneland Regional, Monday’s contests featured No. 4 Glenbard South winning 88-57 over No. 5 Aurora Central Catholic and No. 3 Marmion Academy beating No. 6 IMSA 85-51. Kaneland’s Regional final opponent was to be determined in a Wednesday night game between No. 2 St. Francis of Wheaton, Ill., and Marmion. Kaneland will now face Marmion in the Regional final, after the Cadets dispatched St. Francis of Wheaton, Ill. 73-57.

Facing off against the Metro Suburban Conference rep Raiders, Kaneland withstood a game-high 30 points from senior point guard Chaun Rickette. Helping withstand the onslaught was a team-high 22 points for guard Drew David, 20 from sophomore Dylan Vaca and 16 from Ryan David.

“(GS) plays in a nice league; I think they were second,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “(Rickette) can really get to the bucket. I’m just happy the boys fought through their runs, and we were able to compete.”

After an even first quarter that saw Kaneland up 18-17, GS hit six of seven shots in an impressive stretch and took a 34-33 lead on KHS. A baseline jumper by Drew David with 1:19 to go was followed by a long-range bucket by the senior with 1:01 left for a 37-34 lead. Rickette hit the front end of two foul shot tries with 41.3 left in the half to close the scoring at 37-35.

The Raiders would take a five-point lead at 54-49 after a Rickette steal and hoop with 1:08 left in the third, but Ryan David’s trey with 40 seconds left brought it back to a manageable 54-52 deficit preceding the fourth.

The fourth quarter began with David tying the game just 15 seconds in and GS taking the lead again with 6:44 to go at 56-54. Vaca was fouled on a successful three try and sunk the foul shot for the go-ahead attempt, and David jacked a three for a quick turnaround and a 61-56 lead with 5:54 left. John Pruett’s putback and a Vaca foul shot completed a 10-0 run and made it 64-56 with 4:40 to go.

KHS would hit seven of nine foul shots the rest of the way and see a barrage of four made shots in a row by Pruett, Ryan David, Vaca and Ryan David once again as the hosts enjoyed their biggest lead of the night at 77-64.

“Some teams would look at that and think they’re not very good, but we knew they were very talented, especially after watching them (Monday),” Drew David said. “We knew we were going to have to play a really solid game.”

Against the visiting Barbs, who beat the Knights on Feb. 4, 76-70, Kaneland was led by Pruett’s 13, Cole Carlson’s 12 and Drew David’s 12. David’s output came entirely thanks to four three-point shots.

Kaneland led 20-16 after the first quarter and 33-30 at the halftime buzzer. The Knights maintained a 48-45 lead going into the final eight minutes of play.

With the season now in full survive-and-advance mode, the Class 3A Regional championship is set for Friday at 7 p.m.


Dudzinski plays final home game for Holy Cross

Photo: Holy Cross senior Dave Dudzinski was honored prior to his final home game for the college Saturday. He was joined on the court by his sister Katy (from left) brother Robbie, father Dave Sr., mother Barbara, Holy Cross head coach Milan Brown and Holy Cross Athletic Director Nathan Pine.
Photo courtesy Holy Cross media relations

WORCESTER, MASS.—Elburn native and Holy Cross senior forward Dave Dudzinski recorded 20 points and five rebounds in his final regular season home game of his collegiate career. The lone senior on the team, he was honored before the game Saturday against Boston University.

Dudzinski leads the Crusaders in numerous statistical catagories this season, including games started (30), minutes (947), field goals (163), free throws made (112), rebounds (225), rebound average/game (7.5), total points (458) and points average/game (15.3).

Sophomore basketball wins NIB-12

Feb. 28 vs. DeKalb—The sophomore Knights finished the season with a 46-43 win over visiting DeKalb. Mark Lilly led KHS with 15 points, while Mitchel Groen had 13, Jake Marczuk had 10, Kevin Fajardo had four and Tanner Robertsen had three points. The win put the Knights at a season mark of 19-6, and 9-1 in Northern Illinois Big 12 play, earning them the conference title in the sophomore division.


On a tear

Photo: Senior Cole Carlson hit this double-clutch jumpshot as time expired in the first half Saturday vs. Sycamore. The basket gave the Knights a 27-24 lead. Photo by Ben Draper

Boys lineup sees ball bounce their way in wins over Morris, Sycamore
KANELAND—It’s been a busy time for Kaneland boys basketball.

Outside of a tough loss to renowned hoops program Hillcrest at the Day and Night of Hoops and St. Charles North two weeks ago, it’s been largely positive, as well.

With a home win over rival Sycamore 50-44 on Saturday, preceded by a 47-44 road win over Morris, the Knights sit at 15-9 and 6-3 in Northern Illinois Big XII play.

The win over the Spartans, rescheduled from Jan. 24 due to inclement conditions, was a nice switch from a 41-38 loss along Spartan Trail on Dec. 6, 2013. Knight offense was paced by Tyler Carlson’s game-high 24 points and John Pruett’s 10.

Kaneland was also helped by a 17-of-19 night from the foul line, as well.

The first frame ended with Sycamore ahead 13-11, before Kaneland was able to jump ahead at 27-24 by halftime. The action stabilized with Kaneland leading after three in a 38-35 situation, and the Knights’ 12-9 fourth quarter was enough to pull away from the Sycamore rival.

Against the Redskins, which suffered a season sweep to the Knights after a 42-41 result on Jan. 10, KHS was served by Drew David’s team-high 13 points, Pruett’s 11 and Carlson’s 10.

The Knights led 12-10 after the first quarter but fell behind 19-18 at the half. After rallying to take a 34-32 lead after the third quarter, Kaneland outscored Morris 13-12 to earn the conference win.

Overall, KHS Brian Johnson was pleased with the recent run.

“It was a rewarding weekend for the boys,” Johnson said. “They had a tough game against Hillcrest and a hard fought loss to St. Charles North. It was nice to see them respond against the top two teams in our league. Hopefully we can continue to play hard and put up a good fight against a strong DeKalb team.”

Johnson refers to the regular season finale against the Barbs in Maple Park on Friday, Feb. 28.

Friday also revealed the Class 3A postseason slate for the Knights, as the No. 1 seed of the Kaneland Regional. On Tuesday, March 4, KHS plays either No. 4 Glenbard South or No. 5 Aurora Central Catholic. Friday, March 7 sees the regional final against either No. 3 Marmon Academy or No. 6 IMSA.

Sports recap

Sophomore Boys Basketball
Feb. 19 vs. Geneva—It was a tough night at KHS, with the sophomores falling 53-29 to visiting Geneva. Jack Marczuk led the way with 12 points, while Tanner Robertsen supplied six and Mitchel Groen had five.

Feb. 21 at Morris—The Knights bounced back in Morris Friday, and improved their sparkling NIB-12 Conference record to 8-1 with a 57-48 win over the Redskins. Marczuk led the way with 16 points, followed closely by Robertsen’s 15 and Mark Lilly’s 13. Kevin Fajardo had seven and Groen had six points, as the Knights improved their overall record to 18-6. Next up, the Knights host DeKalb Friday night 5:30 p.m.

Inaugural Day and Knight event raises over $5,000

KANELAND—On Feb. 15, nearly 1,000 basketball players and fans filled the gym at Kaneland High School as the boys basketball held its inaugural Day and Knight of Basketball to benefit Wounded Warrior Project. Varsity and sophomore basketball programs from Hillcrest, North Chicago, St. Charles North, Peoria Richwoods and Larkin (Elgin) joined the Knights in thrilling the crowd with galactic three-pointers, stifling defense and thundering slam-dunks.

Most important, the event celebrated our nation’s veterans as proceeds went to Wounded Warrior Project to honor and empower wounded veterans.

“It was a really special event. In addition to great basketball action and bringing the community together, we celebrated veterans and recognized those who serve. This is an important lesson to reinforce with the players, parents and fans. Thanks to the volunteers and sponsors that made it happen,” said KHS head coach Brian Johnson.

More than 100 sponsors—businesses and individuals—made the event possible. Net contributions of more than $5,000 dollars will go to Wounded Warrior project. And the event website will remain open and accept donations –

The event organizers plan to hold the second annual event in February 2015.


Warrior week

Photo: Sophomore Dylan Vaca scored 12 points against Hillcrest Saturday, following up his 10-point output the night before at Yorkville. Photo by Patti Wilk

Knights host gathering for a cause after getting upper hand on YHS
KANELAND—It was a week of the familiar and unfamiliar for Kaneland boys basketball.

Although it wasn’t a perfect slate, the boys got to see how they measured up against the conference and other respected programs.

On Tuesday, the Knights hosted St. Charles North and lost in the final seconds 62-59.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the Knights hosted a day-long event, the Kaneland Day and Night of Hoops, that benefited the Wounded Warrior Project ( In the nightcap, the Knights fell victim to Hillcrest by a final of 81-60. On Friday, Kaneland traveled down Route 47 to Yorkville High School and earned a 63-55 win.

Kaneland sits at 13-9 (4-3 Northern Illinois Big XII).

Against the North Stars, Tyler Carlson led the way with 17 points, but St. Charles North’s Alec Goetz’ 22, including a last-second trey, broke a late 59-point tie. Drew David had a strong game with 14 points, hitting two three-pointers and going 6-6 from the free throw line.

Head coach Brian Johnson awarded Donna and Bob Harner the “Friends of Kaneland Day & Knight of Basketball” award prior to the Kaneland/Hillcrest game Saturday evening. See boys basketball story on page 3B.     Photo by Patti Wilk
Head coach Brian Johnson awarded Donna and Bob Harner the “Friends of Kaneland Day & Knight of Basketball” award prior to the Kaneland/Hillcrest game Saturday evening. See boys basketball story on page 3B. Photo by Patti Wilk

Facing Country Club Hills program Hillcrest on Saturday, the Knights made five-of-nine shots to give KHS a 10-7 lead with 4:14 to go in the frame, until Hillcrest blitzed out to a 10-0 run. Carlson’s basket with 40 ticks left closed the first quarter scoring out at 17-12 in favor of the visitors.

In the second quarter, the deliberate pace and feeling-out process ceased and action picked up with the Knights converting on five of six shots, ending with a John Pruett putback to close it to 29-26 with 2:43 left in the half.

Pruett’s bucket with 2:21 left closed within 30-28, but that’s when the margin chasing stopped for KHS. Hillcrest closed the half on a 9-3 run to lead 39-31 at halftime.

The third quarter featured a flurry, including two foul shots from Pruett, a three-point play from Carlson, two more foul shots from Carlson and a free throw from Cole Carlson to close to within 47-40 with just over four minutes to play. Hillcrest then stretched the floor and went on a 9-2 run, ending with 1:56 to go. Hillcrest led Kaneland 56-44 by the end of the third. Kaneland’s deficit was as much as 25 at 79-54 with 1:18 to go in the game.

For Hillcrest, DeAngelo Isby had a game-high 22 points, followed by Taylor Adway’s 14. Pruett had 19 for Kaneland while Tyler Carlson had 13.

“It was nice being in the game,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “I thought we really got outmuscled on the glass. When you’re playing a team that’s a lot more athletic than you are and a lot taller than you are, you’ve got to do the little things right.”

Things could have gone more the Knights way if the first-quarter scheme held up.

“It was nice to see John start the game with a nice little step-back jumper. That was huge for John to show he could play with the big boys. We were trying to figure out what we could do successfully,” Johnson said.

The night also featured draw-down and 50/50 contests, chuck-a-ducks, hoops battles for Cagers and Kaneland Youth Program teams, and cheer and dance performances.

Teams were also brandishing “camo” shooting warmups on a day that proved bigger than hoops.

“That North Chicago-Larkin game was awesome. St. Charles North was excellent, and it was good to see Peoria Richwoods. It was a pleasure to put the name of Kaneland with those programs. We’re going to do it for sure next year, without a doubt,” Johnson said.

Larkin defeated North Chicago, 79-76, while SCN beat Richwoods 87-66 in other action at KHS.

Friday’s tilt against Yorkville featured a game-high 18 points for Tyler Carlson and 10 from sophomore Dylan Vaca.

Kaneland was up 14-10 after one quarter and 31-25 at halftime. Yorkville stormed back to chisel into the KHS lead at 44-43 by the end of the third, before the Knights’ deficit stretched enough for the win. The Knights also benefited from a 30-for-38 night from the foul line.

On Friday, Feb. 21, the Knights travel to Grundy County to face rival Morris.

Feb. 20 sports recap

Freshman Girls BBall
Feb. 8, 10, 12 @ NIB-12 Tournament—The Lady Knights finished their 2013-14 season with a fourth-place showing at the NIB-12 Freshman Tournament, held at Rochelle Twp. High School. KHS won their first two games—38-35 over LaSalle-Peru and 33-30 over Sycamore—before falling to Rochelle in the quarterfinals. KHS lost the third-place game to Ottawa 54-28.

Sophomore Girls BBall
Feb. 13 vs. DeKalb—The Lady Knights jumped out to a 16-6 lead after the first quarter and never looked back in their 37-20 win over DeKalb. It was their final game of the 2013-14 season. Kristen Siebert led the team with 10 points, while Meg Cohrs and Kylie Modaff each had six points. Kiandra Powell had five points, Sophie Sandquist had four points and Jenna Harvell and Nichole Koczka each supplied three points. The Lady Knights ended the season with a 14-11 overall record, and an even 5-5 record in NIB-12 conference play.

Sophomore Boys BBall
Feb. 14 at Yorkville—The Knights beat their Route 47 bretheren 48-42 behind Mark Lilly’s 14 and Jake Marczuk’s 10 points. Joe Laudont had seven points for the Knights, while Jacob Violett and Brett Hansen each had five points. Jason Edwards had four points and Tanner Robertson had three points.

Feb. 15 vs. Hillcrest—The Knights dropped just their fifth game of the season against a strong Hillcrest team 72-46. Violett had 10 points, while Mitchel Groen had nine, while both Marczuk and Matt Vanenborn each had eight points and Robertsen had three.

Feb. 18 vs. St. Charles North—The Knights earned their 17th win with a 73-66 triumph over the North Stars. Marczuk led the way with 18 points, while Lilly had 15, Robertsen and Laudont each had 12, Groen had nine and Hansen had seven. The team is 17-5 overall, with a 7-1 conference record.

Screen shot 2014-01-16 at 11.24.20 AM

Helping hands

Six-team shootout at Kaneland on Saturday to benefit worthy cause
KANELAND—It stands to be no ordinary Saturday at Kaneland.

You’ll have your customary weekend basketball action, but the Kaneland boys team and dedicated volunteers are coming together for something bigger than jump shots.

The first-ever Hoops For Heroes-Kaneland Day and Knight of Hoops will feature five other Chicagoland teams, and proceeds from the six-game extravaganza go to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. The Wounded Warrior Project organizes to honor and empower wounded veterans.

Scheduled to run from noon to 9 p.m., beginning with sophomore contests, the Knights battle Hillcrest High School from Country Club Hills, Ill., in the 7:30 p.m. nightcap, with North Chicago and Larkin doing battle at 5 p.m. and St. Charles North meeting Peoria Richwoods at 2:30 pm.

“The volunteers and I decided for this night to have some special meaning, and we have some great basketball programs coming in,” KHS boys coach Brian Johnson said.

The first of its kind in Kaneland basketball history, the gathering already holds importance before the jump ball.

“It’s important to be there for those that have served and come back. I’ve told the team it’s bigger than basketball that night,” Johnson said.

The night, also featuring Bob and Donna Harner receiving a Friend of the Program award, is also set to feature games for Kaneland Youth Basketball and Cagers, as well as performances by the KHS Pep Band and cheer programs.

“It’s an honor to be able to host the event, and we have storied programs and a couple of top-20 ranked teams,” Johnson said. “If you take Kaneland out of it, it’s still a big night at KHS.”

Saturday also featues 50/50 and draw down raffling and Chuck-a-duck contests that benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.

For information on the night’s proceedings, head to

2-13 sports recap

Sophomore Girls BBall
Feb. 6 at Morris—KHS treked south on Route 47 and returned with a 43-35 NIB-12 win over Morris. Kiandra Powell’s 16 points led the Lady Knights, and Meg Cohrs was close behind with 12 points. Nicole Koczka supplied seven points while Hollie Fedderly had four.
Feb. 8 at LaSalle-Peru—The Lady Knights defeated LaSalle-Peru 44-40 Saturday. Kristen Siebert led the way with 14 points, while Powell had nine, Koczka had eight and Kylie Modaff had five for KHS.
Feb. 10 vs. Yorkville—Twenty-one turnovers doomed KHS in a 44-22 loss at home to Yorkville. Fedderly, Koczka and Siebert each had five points, while Cohrs had 4. The sophomore Lady Knights are now 13-11, 4-5 in NIB-12 play before playing DeKalb at home tonight.

Sophomore Boys Bball
Feb. 7 at Rochelle—The sophomore Knights fell on the road 78-72 at Rochelle. Tanner Robertsen, Mark Lilly and Jake Marczuk each had 18 points, while Joe Laudont had eight points and Kevin Fajardo and Brett Hansen each had three.
Feb. 11 at West Chicago—KHS lost for just the fourth time all season at West Chicago Tuesday, 66-56. Lilly led the way with 15 points and Marczuk had 14. Mitchel Groen had eight points, Laudont had five, Robertsen and Jacob Violett each had four points and Fajardo and Hansen each had three points. The Knights are 15-4 overall, 6-1 in NIB-12 conference play. They play at Yorkville Friday.


Emerging victors

Photo: Senior John Pruett continued his torrid scoring streak, putting up 26 points Friday at Rochelle, and following that up with 28 more against West Chicago Tuesday evening. Fellow senior Tyler Carlson (23) was the team’s high-scorer with 33 points against Rochelle. Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—Whatever questions exist concerning the fortunes of Kaneland boys basketball, the offense doesn’t have to be included.

Dealing with an athletic West Chicago lineup on Tuesday in a road jaunt, the Knights withstood the floor-spreading attack and emerged with a 71-65 win.

That came on the heels of a successful Friday trip to Rochelle, where KHS ran to a 91-67 win over the host Hubs.

Kaneland enjoys a 12-7 record with a 3-3 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII conference play.

The Knights’ win on Joliet St. in West Chicago proved considerably more agreeable than the 54-43 Wildcat win from a year ago.

Kaneland resisted several lead changes and 27 points from scoring threat John Konchar by utilizing John Pruett’s 28 points, including 14-of-17 shooting from the foul line in the win.

“I’m just coming out here, and it’s my senior year, and this could possibly be the last time I play basketball, in high school for sure, at least,” Pruett said. “I’m just going to try to end it with a bang.

An even first quarter ended with West Chicago up 13-11, and the close tempo held for much of the second quarter when Pruett’s three-pointer with 2:25 to go in the half gave KHS a 24-22 lead. After a WC three, Pruett came back with a three-point play with 1:14 to go for a 27-25 lead. An offensive putback on the other end tied the affair. Drew David’s bucket with 43.4 to go put the Knights back on top, 29-27, but a Wildcat three with 29.7 ended the scoring at 30-29 for the first half.

The third quarter saw West Chicago get out to a five-point lead during one stretch, but the Knights were helped by two foul shots from Pruett, a foul shot from Tyler Carlson and a putback by Carlson in a 49 second stretch to lead 49-45 at the end of three.

A Pruett three 21 second into the quarter gave the Knights a seven-point edge at 52-45, but WC wouldn’t go away, missing just three shots in the quarter and going six-for-nine from the charity stripe.

Kaneland saw its lead grow to eight with 2:26 to go at 66-58, but a WC trey with 1:59 left closed it to 66-61. Two Pruett foul shots with 1:14 left made it 68-61 before a Wildcat trifecta and a foul shot cut it to 68-65 with 48.5 left.

With the Wildcats potentially able to tie the score on the next possession, the senior cornerstone David’s quick steal of a pass led to a foul and two free throws with 19.9 left. The pair gave the Knights a 70-65 lead which iced the contest.

“(The steal) was huge,” Pruett said. “Drew is a four-year starter. Whenever we need him, he’s always coming through. Free throws, threes or steals, he’s always doing what we need to do.”

“The boys were a little more comfortable, and that was a game we were going to have to play hard,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “There’s no let-up in them, and I thought the boys responded. They played hard and they played physical.”

Against the Hubs, Kaneland was helped by a 33-point night from Carlson and 26 from Pruett in the win. Pruett also went 12-of-18 from the foul line.

Kaneland and Rochelle were deadlocked at 18 after one, and the Knights led 36-29 at the halftime buzzer. Up 65-52 after three frames, Kaneland poured it on and outscored the Hubs 26-15 in the fourth.

On Friday, Feb. 14, the Knights head to Yorkville for NIB-12 play, and Saturday, Feb. 15, brings Kaneland’s first Day and Night of Hoops with six varsity and sophomore games featuring storied programs.

Kaneland tips off against Hillcrest in the 7:30 p.m. nightcap, with proceeds from the event benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project.


Starts and stops

Photo: Sophomore Ryan David had six points for the Knights at DeKalb Tuesday. Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—It was a game that had two near-misses.

Unfriendly weather had shelved the Kaneland boys basketball team to Elgin outfit St. Edward on both Jan. 30, and Thursday before finally settling for a Friday tip-off.

With no elements in their way, the Knights worked toward a 65-55 victory.

After yet another makeup contest on Tuesday in DeKalb, the Knights sat at (10-7, 2-3 Northern Illinois Big XII).

The Knights have alternated wins and losses in their last six games.

The DeKalb contest was originally set for Saturday, while the Knights have yet another makeup contest against visiting Sycamore scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22, from Jan. 24.

Senior John Pruett continued his high-level of play in 2013-14 with a 29-point evening, followed by classmate Tyler Carlson with 17.

The Knights also benefited from 32 chances at the foul line, allowing for 16 baskets from the charity stripe for a 50-percent night.

KHS and the Green Wave were deadlocked at 13-all before Kaneland stormed to a 30-21 advantage at halftime. Kaneland led 45-36 after three before stretching the lead with a 20-19 fourth frame.

Against DeKalb, Pruett had a game-high 23 points, but DeKalb had four players in double-digits, as the Barbs used a 19-13 opening quarter to pave the way for a 76-70 win over visiting Kaneland. Tyler Carlson had 19 points and Cole Carlson had 15 for the Knights in the loss.

Kaneland continues the NIB-12 tour with a trek to Ogle County on Friday, Feb. 7, against Rochelle, in what continues a five-game road swing.

Feb. 6 Sports recap

Girls Soph. Basketball
Jan. 31 at Yorkville—Bailey Crimmins had 16 points and Kiandra Powell had 11, but the Lady Knights fell to the host Lady Foxes 56-43 Friday. Kristen Siebert had six points for Kaneland. KHS was 11-10, 3-4 in NIB-12 play through Jan. 31.

Boys Soph. Basketball

Jan. 31 at St. Edwards—The sophomore Knights defeated St. Edward 56-47 Friday. Tanner Robertsen had 17 points, while Brett Hansen supplied nine points. Mark Lilly, Mitchel Groen and Joe Laudont each had eight points, and Jacob Violett had four points.
Feb. 4 at DeKalb—The 15-2 sophomores (6-0 in NIB-12 conference play) routed the host Barbs 50-32 Tuesday. The Knights did it with even scoring, with Robertsen, Lilly and Jake Marczuk each supplying nine points, Hansen with eight points, Groen with six points, Laudont with five points and Violett with four points.

Jan. 30 sports recap

Sophomore Girls Basketball
Jan. 23 vs. Sycamore—Bailey Crimmins’ seven points paced the cold-shooting Lady Knights against Sycamore, as the squad lost 41-26. Jenna Harvell had four points, while Nicole Koczka and Kiandra Powell each had three.
Jan. 25 at Rochelle Twp.—Kristen Siebert led the Lady Knights with seven points as KHS defeated Rochelle 41-25. Kylie Modaff, Powell and Crimmins each supplied six points, while Harvell, Meg Cohrs and Hollie Fedderly had four points apiece. The Lady Knights are now 11-9 overall, and 3-3 in NIB-12 play.

Sophomore Boys Basketball
Jan. 23 vs. Sycamore—The Knights rolled over the visiting Spartans 53-35. Connor Peterson paced the team with 14 points, while Tanner Robertson and Jake Marczuk each had 12. The trio of Mark Lilly, Mitchel Groen and Kevin Fajardo had five points each. The Knights are 13-2 overall, and 5-2 in NIB-12 play.

Screen shot 2014-01-16 at 11.24.20 AM

Hoops for Heroes Feb. 15

Kaneland to host inaugural Day and Knight of Hoops
MAPLE PARK—Kaneland Boys Basketball announced the Hoops for Heroes inaugural Day and Knight of Hoops, to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15.

Six premier varsity/sophomore basketball programs—Kaneland, St. Charles North, Hillcrest, Elgin Larkin, North Chicago and Peoria Richwoods—sporting deep traditions in basketball, community, service and youth sports, will be showcased throughout the day.

In addition to the great action on the court, the event will also have plenty of off-court entertainment as well, including:

• Exhibition games by the Kaneland Youth Basketball and Cagers programs
• Kaneland Pep Bands filling the place with sound
• Team cheers and spirit for all teams, by Kaneland Youth Cheer
• Food and drink by the Kaneland Sports Boosters
• Customizable event clothing, to capture the memories
• 50/50 Raffle with winners all day and “Knight” long
• Draw down raffle following the hoops at Maple Park’s Bootlegger’s Bar and Grill with a $2,000 Grand Prize

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, to honor and empower wounded veterans.

In addition to attending the event, sponsorship opportunities are available as well,

For more information or to donate, click here.

1-23 Sports Recap

Soph. Girls Basketball
Jan. 17 at DeKalb—Kiandra Powell’s 18 points led the Lady Knights as they romped the host Lady Barbs 53-24. Powell made four treys. KHS led 35-8 at halftime. Bailey Crimmins had nine points, Jenna Harvell and Nicole Koczka each had six points, and Kylie Modaff had five. KHS is now 10-8 overall, and 2-2 in NIB-12 play.

Soph. Boys Basketball
Jan. 17 vs. Yorkville—The Knights used a strong start and finish to hang on and beat the visiting Foxes. After down 17-10 in the first quarter, Yorkville closed within one point to start the fourth quarter. The Knights outscored the Foxes 16-11 in the final frame to seal the victory. Tanner Robertson led the way with 15 points, while Jake Marczuk supplied 14 and both Mark Lilly and Joe Laudont each had 11 points. The sophomore Knights are 12-2 overall and 4-0 in NIB-12 conference play.

Don’t see your lower-level results here? Send them to or fax to (630) 365-2251.


Knights contain Cadets

Photo: Kaneland varsity boys basketball coach Brian Johnson and his team honor senior Drew David for breaking the program record for most games played. David has played in over 87 games for the Knights varsity basketball team as of Tuesday against Marmion. Photo by Mary Paulson

Late FTs down Marmion in busy three-game week
AURORA—While the Kaneland High School boys hoops squad would have preferred a clean sweep of the week, two out of three will do fine for now.

On Tuesday off of Butterfield Road in Aurora, the Knights got two late free throws from Tyler Carlson to down the host Marmion Academy Cadets 49-47. That dramatic result took some of the sting out of a Saturday road loss to Burlington Central in a 67-43 result, while Friday night had a 42-41 comeback win over the invading Morris Redskins after a Carlson basket with under a second remaining.

The KHS record improved to 9-5, and 2-1 in the Northern Illinois Big XII conference.

The Knights went out to an early 12-5 lead as Marmion struggled to find its shot, and KHS took advantage of turnovers. A John Pruett basket and two Carlson free throws gave KHS a 23-11 lead at halftime. The lead ballooned to 37-22 with 1:59 left in the third before Marmion went on a 12-1 run to end the frame, thanks in part of a late basket and two foul shots due to a technical foul on head coach Brian Johnson.

In the fourth, Pruett fouled out, after being responsible for the only field goal the Knights would make in the quarter. Kaneland would go 9-of-12 in the fourth from the charity stripe, including Carlson going 7-of-8. His front-end shot with 2:45 to go made it 43-40 with 2:45 to go, and two more would give KHS a 45-40 lead with 1:57 left. Another later pair made it 47-44 with 1:02 remaining before a game-tying three try for Marmion athlete Michael Sheehan with 51.2 left tied the score.

With time running out, Carlson was fouled on an offensive putback try with 1.3 to go. After nailing both tries, Tom Van Bogaert stole an inbounds heave to end it.

Pruett and Carlson each had a game-high 16 points for Kaneland.

“(Tyler) made some big free throws, and he was running a play that we run for John, and he was able to execute on that. We ran it earlier and John was able to get a look. It probably helped having Ty down there,” Johnson said.

With Pruett’s exit and Marmion’s comeback, Kaneland handled the in-game adversity well, according to Johnson.

“Having Drew (David) and John in foul trouble and having guys do things they weren’t used to doing, and that puts a lot of pressure on the other guys and I thought they handled it pretty well,” Johnson said.

Against BC, Carlson’s 13 points was the only double-figure total. Kaneland was down 14-10 and 33-23 after the first half concluded. The Rockets pulled away to lead 50-31 at the end of the third quarter.

Carlson had a game-high 18 points in the Morris outing, followed by Pruett’s 14. David (8 points) and Cole Carlson (2) were the only other Knights to find the scoring column. The Knights led 8-7 after one and pulled away some, 19-11 at the half, before the margin closed to 31-25 after three.

After this latest stretch, the Knights roster is home against rival Yorkville on Friday, Jan. 17.

Jan. 16 sports recap

JV Girls Bowling
Jan. 8 @ La Salle-Peru—The Lady Knights were led by Amber Spaetzel’s 126 game and 329 series, but fell to the host Lady Cavaliers 2,114-1,478. Kayla McDuffee bowled a 277 series, while Grace Lindgren had a 246, and Natalie Barnhart had a 186.
Jan. 11 @ IMSA Tourney—The Lady Knights placed sixth out of eight teams at Saturday’s IMSA tournament. Emma Nawrot led KHS with a 349 series, followed by Barnhart’s 328. Barnhart also bowled a Kaneland-best 135 game. Summer Gibbs (322 series), Margaret Nelson (286) and Spaetzel (237) rounded out the JV bowlers.

Soph. Girls Basketball
Jan. 9 vs. Morris—The visiting Lady Redskins defeated KHS 47-37. Meg Cohrs led the Lady Knights with 11 points, while Kylie Modaff had 10. Kiandra Powell had five points, Bailey Crimmins had four and Morgan Weber had three.
Jan. 11 at Burlington Central—Crimmin’s 13 points and Kristen Siebert’s six led KHS as they defeated the host Lady Rockets 33-28. Madi Edwards had four points while Nicole Koczka and Modaff each had three.
Jan. 13 at Plano—KHS led by double-digits at halftime, and handed Plano a 49-28 loss. Koczka’s 14 points led the Lady Knights. Crimmins had seven points, Cohrs, Modaff and Powell each had six points, and Siebert had four points. The sophomore Lady Knights are now 9-8 overall, while 1-2 in NIB-12 play.

Soph. Boys Basketball
Jan. 10 vs. Morris—After a deadlocked first quarter at 13 apiece, the Knights outscored the visiting Redskins 38-23 in the final three quarters to win 51-36. Tanner Robertson’s 16 points led the team. Mark Lilly had 13 points, while Joe Laudont had eight, Jack Marczuk had six and Mitchel Groen had four.
Jan. 11 at Burlington Central—The Knights prevailed in Rocket-land 41-32. Robertson again had a team-high points, with 10. Marczuk had nine points, Lilly and Groen each had seven and Laudont had six.
Jan. 14 at Marmion—the Knights lost for only the second time this season with a 60-40 setback to the Cadets. Robertson led the team with 10 points, while Lilly had nine. Four nights had four points: Marczuk, Groen, Jacob Violett and Kevin Fajardo. Connor Peterson had three points. The Knights sit at 11-2, 3-0 in NIB-12 conference play.

Boys Bowling
Jan. 13 at Streator (NIB-12 Meet)—The Kaneland boys bowling club took on the NIB-12 field in Streator Monday. Steven Becker led the Knights with an 1,119-pin day, while Nate Dyer (1,076) and Joey Mendoza (1,048) also broke the 1,000 pin mark. Tyler Rowe (971), Joe Kusarek (891) and Josh Rodrigues (636) also bowled for the Knights.


Knights renew UC rivalry with Geneva

Photo: Senior Cole Carlson tries to recover a rebound in the first quarter of Kaneland’s 54-51 loss to Geneva at the United Center Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Late 3-pointer dooms Knights; KHS closes Plano tourney as 9th-place team
CHICAGO—It’s been the home site of three Bulls championship-winning seasons, and two previous meetings between former conference rivals Kaneland and Geneva.

On Saturday, the United Center housed the first meeting of the Knight and Viking boys hoops teams in nearly four years and saw momentum ebbs and flows until a late three-pointer from Nate Navigato with 3.7 seconds left from Geneva cinched a 54-51 loss for Kaneland. Geneva has won all three meetings at the United Center, including December 2008 and February 2010.

Kaneland (7-4) also ended its Plano Christmas Classic tour on Dec. 30, with a 47-42 win over Northern Illinois Big XII crossover foe Dixon.

Against Geneva, Tyler Carlson had a game-high 21 points, while John Pruett had 16.

Carlson found himself with minimal adjustment to the NBA setting on Saturday.

“Just with the backdrop on the hoop,” Carlson said. “It’s kind of hard to judge how to shoot it and see how far away you are. You see bleachers instead of walls back there but we had a pretty good adjustment.”

Down 37-33 going into the fourth quarter, and down by as much as 10 with two minutes left in the third, Kaneland went to work after ending the third frame on a long-distance heave by Carlson.

A basket by Drew David and two baskets with a pair of foul shots from Pruett had Kaneland in a 42-39 lead with 4:53 to go.

Pruett hit two foul shots to extend the lead to 44-41 with 3:59 to go, and Ryan David’s two free throws broke a tie with 2:55 to go to make it 46-44. Geneva and Carlson traded a foul shot to make it 47-45 with 2:27 remaining. The Vikings would score five in a row to take a 50-47 lead with 1:16 remaining, and Pruett’s free throw with 56.8 to go would close it to 50-48.

After Geneva hit the back end of two foul attempts for a 51-48 lead with 44.6 to go, a play drawn up for Carlson had the senior connecting on a three-point try with 17.1 remaining.

With Geneva connecting on the late trifecta, the Vikings fouled David with 2.3 seconds left. With David missing two straight, Connor Fedderly grabbed the errant attempt and missed a three try from the corner that ended the tight contest.

Kaneland had led 13-12 after the first quarter and was down 20-19 at the half.

“We had some big moments, and it was nice to see the guys compete against a team and a coach I think very highly of,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “We competed and wanted to get the win, and it just didn’t happen.”

Johnson stressed to the team beforehand to treat Saturday’s contest like a home game.

“Yesterday, we were able to get into Aurora University and practice on a bigger floor, and I thought our wind was good and were able to press a little bit, and everybody played hard,” Johnson said.

Geneva didn’t miss a shot in the fourth quarter and was 8-for-11 from the charity stripe.

In the Plano Christmas Classic finale for Kaneland, Carlson had a game-high 19 points, while Pruett had 17 of his own. The Knights were up 12-6 after one and 20-17 at the half before nursing a 34-25 lead at the end of three.

The Knights host the visiting Morris Redskins, the 2013 Plano Christmas Classic runner-up, on Friday, Jan. 10.

Soph. basketball Plano champs

The Kaneland sophomore boys basketball team enjoyed its winter break, going 4-0 enroute to the Plano Christmas Classic JV Tournament championship. The Knights had wins against Streator (62-33), Morris (57-53), Princeton (51-50) and finally Genoa-Kingston, 50-37, in the championship game Dec. 30. Photo by Marshall Farthing


Christmas Classic begins with minor holiday hangup

Photo: Senior Tyler Carlson had averaged 16.5 points per game at the 2014 Plano Christmas
Classic. The Knights lost their first game last week, but won three straight to place ninth in the tournament. Photo by Patti Wilk

Knights get back on track against Genoa-Kingston, Mendota
PLANO—For one to survive and advance in the historic setting of Plano Christmas Classic, in its 51st year, a team has to get off on the right foot.

In the tournament opener on Dec. 26, the No. 4 seed Knights boys basketball team (7-3) suffered a 57-50 loss to the No. 13 seed Newark Norsemen of the Little Ten Conference.

The Knights then battled No. 5 seed Genoa-Kingston, which had lost to No. 12 Aurora Christian in yet another minor upset, on Friday afternoon, ending in a 52-40 comeback win.

After Friday’s result, the Knights battled Mendota on Saturday and eked their way to a 65-64 win.

Kaneland then defeated Dixon to claim ninth place on Monday. In 2012, Kaneland finished in fourth place overall, and won it all in 2009, its first year back to the tournament after holiday stops in DeKalb and Marengo.

Against the perennial small-school powerhouse Newark on Thursday morning, the Knights were led by guard Tyler Carlson with 15 points and forward John Pruett with 14. Backcourt general Drew David had 11 points to supplant the effort.

For Newark, the brother combination of Jack Clausel (19 points) and Will Clausel (16 points) made life difficult for the Knights on the heels of holiday celebration.

Kaneland was 23-for-65 from the field during the loss, including a mediocre 9-for-33 in the second half.

The Knights led 16-10 after the first eight minutes of play, and fell victim to an offensive barrage from the Little Ten stalwart, trailing 31-29 at the halftime horn. Newark powered through even more in the third frame and took a 43-35 lead before Kaneland closed the margin slightly in the loss.

On Friday in action against the Cogs, Carlson had 15 points, while David and Pruett each supplied 12. KHS was 20-for-53 from the field and 17-for-24 from the foul line. G-K was led by Tommy Lucca’s 13.

Two three-pointers by David and a keen bucket down low from Pruett helped give Kaneland an early 12-6 lead in the first quarter, but a free throw and three-pointer closed it on G-K’s end to 12-10 by the end of the frame.

Connor Fedderly hit a three to break a tie and make it 15-12 with 5:25 left in the half, breaking a five-minute scoring drought. G-K then converted on five consecutive shot opportunities and led 22-20 with 1:01 remaining. The Cogs then hit the back end of a pair of free throws to go up 23-20 at halftime.

The third-quarter tide turned fairly quickly when Pruett’s bucket, David’s try and Ryan David’s basket gave Kaneland a 27-23 lead just 1:10 into the frame.

Carlson put in a putback for a 31-25 lead with 2:05 to go before G-K made its only field goal of the quarter, a trifecta, to close within 31-28 with 1:28 to go before Pruett’s free throw pair with 38.4 to go stretched the lead before the buzzer at 33-28.

The fast-break tempo that Kaneland used to its benefit soon gave way to ball control, peppered by a three-pointer and putback by Carlson and a basket by Cole Carlson to make it 40-28 with 6:07 to go. KHS made 10-of-12 foul shots down the stretch to get the lead to much as 13 at 48-35 with 1:07 to go.

David and crew noticed the difference in on-court performance.

“We made good plays, it gave us one-on-one momentum,” David said. “We come into each game, you don’t really have time to change things too much. But when you get on the floor, you definitely have to adjust.”

After the loss to Newark, the G-K game was a little more like it.

“We need to be more fundamentally sound because of the way we played yesterday, we turned the ball over a lot. I thought the kids did a good jonb handling pressure in the second half and handling the ball in the fourth quarter. They extended the lead and held it toward the end,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said.

Against the Mendota Trojans, the Knights found themselves down 27-12 after one, and 45-35 at the half buzzer before turning on the comeback afterburners and closing to within 53-46 after three and outscoring the Trojans 19-11 in the fourth.

The Knights were paced by Ryan David’s 16, Drew David’s 15 and Tyler Carlson’s 12.

The Trojans were led by James Carroll with 28 points, 24 hours after setting a tournament record with 42 points in over Forreston.

Monday had Kaneland scheduled to face Dixon in the tournament finale for the Knights with ninth place on the line. The Knights never trailed after a 12-5 opening quarter. Tyler Carlson’s 19 points and Pruett’s 17 points let KHS. Ryan david had 8 points over NIB-12 west team.

On Saturday, Jan. 4, the Knights begin the second half of their schedule with a trip to the United Center in Chicago for the first time since February 2010, against Geneva at 2 p.m.

Editor note: This story has been updated from the originally published version with information from Monday’s game vs. Dixon at the Plano Christmas Classic.

Dec. 31 sports recap

Sophomore Boys BBall
Dec. 23 at Plano Classic vs. Streator—The Knights opened up play at the Plano Christmas Classic Dec. 23 with a blowout win over NIB-12 crossover foe Streator 62-33. Jake Marczuk led the way with 13 points, while Tanner Robertson and Mark Lilly each had 12. Jacob Violett had eight points, Connor Peterson and Brett Hansen each had five points and Andy Delgado had three points.
Dec. 27 at Plano Classic vs. Morris—KHS defeated Morris 57-53 in the second round of play at the Plano Christmas Classic. Marczuk had 23 points for the Knights, while Lilly had eight points, Kevin Fajardo had seven points, Robertsen had six points, Jason Edwards and Joe Laudonteach had four points and Violett had three points.
Dec. 28 at Plano Classic vs. Princeton—The Knights squeaked their way into the Plano Christmas Classic championship game with a 51-50 win over Princeton. Lilly had 22 points, while Violett had nine and Robertsen and Marczuck each had eight. The Knights were 8-1 heading into Monday’s championship game vs. Genoa-Kingston. Results of that game were not available at press time.

Sophomore Girls BBall
Dec. 26 at Batavia Tourney vs. York—The Lady Knights fell to York 36-23 to open up play at the Batavia tournament. Meg Cohrs led KHS with six points, while Nicole Koczka and Kristen Siebert each had five points. Jenna Harvell had four points and Madi Edwards had three points.
Dec. 26 at Batavia Tourney vs. Geneva—KHS fell to Geneva Thursday afternoon 39-35. Cohrs and Seibert each had 12 points in the loss. Kylie Modaff had four points and Hollie Fedderly had three points. Geneva defeated the Lady Knights by 26 points earlier in the season.
Dec. 27 at Batavia Tourney vs. Bartlett—Friday saw the Lady Knights fall to Bartlett 43-25. Modaff led the team with eight points, while Cohrs and Koczka each had seven. Kiandra Powell had three points.
Dec. 28 at Batavia Tourney vs. Lake Park—KHS got into the win column at the Batavia Tournament, winning 55-42 over Lake Park. Three Lady Knights scored 10 points: Edwards, Koczka and Modaff. Cohrs and Powell each had eight points while Fedderly had four. The KHS sophomore girls team is now 7-7 on the season.

Follow the Knights at the Plano Christmas Classic

PLANO—The Kaneland boys basketball team will take on the field at the 51st Annual Plano Christmas Classic this week.

The varsity Knights enter the tournament as the No. 4 seed, and while the tournament started Monday, the Knights’ seed earned them a bye. Their first contest will be Thursday at 10:30 a.m. vs. the winner of No. 13 Newark and Hinckley-Big Rock. The sophomores played Streator Monday, and will face either Mendota or Morris, depending on Monday’s outcome.

To follow the Knights as they take on the talented field, visit and follow the link to the 2013 Christmas Classic. There you’ll find updated stats and brackets for the varsity and sophomore levels.


Air supply

Photo: Junior Ben Barnes scored a team-high 16 points in Kaneland’s 83-63 rout of Rochelle Friday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Knight boys hoops runs wild on rival Hubs
KANELAND—Five players managing a double-figure night should be a harbinger of good things for one’s basketball lineup.

In the case of Kaneland, it meant terrible things for visiting Rochelle last Friday night.

With a strong output from personnel like John Pruett (14 points) and Tyler Carlson (11 points), along with 16 from reserve Ben Barnes, 14 from Dylan Vaca and 10 from sub Ryan David, the Knights flew to an 83-63 win over the Hubs.

Kaneland’s first challenge of the week, coupled with Tuesday’s 63-38 win against Hinckley-Big Rock, raised its record to 4-2, and 1-1 in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play.

KHS held firm in the victory despite being trumped in foul line opportunities by a 26-12 margin.

“The goal was to keep (Rochelle) to one shot so we could keep it and run,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “I thought we did a good job with that. Our three-point shot wasn’t falling, and you have to make them work on defense and tire them out, and we beat them on transition.”

Kaneland stormed out to a 7-0 lead just 2:10 into the contest until Rochelle solidified and used three three-pointers to go up 11-10 with 2:49 left in the quarter. A basket by Drew David, a reverse layup by Carlson and a bucket by Ryan David set Kaneland back on top 16-11 with 1:47 to play in the frame. Later, a putback and foul converted by Carlson and a putback by Barnes with 44.5 to go closed the scoring at 22-13 for the first quarter.

Shots by Drew David, and a foul shot coupled by a steal and hoop from Ryan David, completed a 13-6 run for a 29-19 lead with 5:31 left in the half. A short flurry by Rochelle closed the margin to 33-27 with 2:48 remaining before two Vaca foul shots and a Vaca hoop brought the lead to eight. Two Carlson foul shots and a Hub foul try closed the scoring at 39-31 before the buzzer.

The third quarter represented a pleasant turn of events for the hosts, as Ryan David, Carlson, Vaca and Pruett were responsible for six successful shots in a row en route to a 51-33 lead after a 12-2 run with 4:22 to go in the frame.

Cole Carlson’s bucket with 52.5 left in the third gave KHS a 60-39 lead before the Hubs scored the last five points of the quarter.

Barnes and Vaca alternated fast break buckets to score the first eight points of the frame and seal the Friday contest. A Connor Fedderly three try with 4:24 to go gave the Kaneland unit its biggest lead of the contest at 75-50.

“We just try to get it and run; that worked in the first half and we tried it again, and we had some key stops on defense,” Tyler Carlson said.

With Carlson and the upperclassmen tasked with a laundry list of duties, the routine is continuing to sink in on the floor.

“So far I think we’re alright, we’re trying to fill in the leadership role. Drew is doing a great job and he’s a four-year starter. John and I are just trying to get that leadership role down,” Carlson said.

At Hinckley-Big Rock, the Knights stormed to a 12-2 lead after the first quarter and didn’t look back. John Pruett led the team with 16 points, and Tyler Carlson 15 points. Vaca had 14 points.

The boys don’t suit up until Thursday, Dec. 26, when they begin their fourth stay at the Plano Christmas Classic, which is entering its 51st year. Kaneland enters as the No. 4 seed and is scheduled to battle either No. 13 Newark or Hinckley-Big Rock at 10:30 a.m.

Dec. 19 sports recap

JV Bowling
Dec. 11 vs. Streator—The Lady Knights only had two competitors, so no team score was kept. Kayla McDuffee bowled a 323 series with a 132 high game, while Natalie Barnhart bowled a 282 series with 125 high game.
Dec. 17 @ Morris—Grace Lindgren bowled a 314 series, with a 119 high game, while McDuffee bowled a 291 series (105 high game) and Barnhart bowled a 270 series (119 high game). No team score was kept.

Boys Soph. Basketball
Dec. 13 vs. Rochelle—The Knights earned a 68-47 win over visiting Rochelle Friday. Jake Marczuk led KHS with 16 points, while Tanner Robertson had 11 and Mark Lilly had 11. Fellow Knights Mitchel Groen and Joe Laudont each had seven points, while the trio of Jason Edwards, Jacob Violett and Brett Hansen each had four points.
Dec. 17 @ Hinckley-Big Rock—The Knights routed the host Royals 63-36 Tuesday. Lilly led the team with 16 points, while Robertson (12) and Groen (10) were also in double-digits. The sophomore boys are now 5-1, 2-0 in NIB-12 play.

JV Wrestling
Dec. 14 KHS JV Tournament—The JV wrestlers faired well in their own tournament on Saturday.
The Knights had three grapplers earn individual championships. At 98 pounds, Austin Kedzie won by fall over Mark Wuerfl of Batavia in :32. Johnathan Terry defeated Lukasz Skoczen of Plainfield South 5-2 to win the 170 pound A division. Colin Gussman won a 6-4 decision over Wheaton-Warrenville South’s John Bikulcius in the 145 pound A division.
Earning runner-up status on the day for KHS were Hayden Patterson in the 132 pound A division and Mitchell Jones in the 138 pound A division.
Cullen Murray of Kaneland placed third in the the 182 pound division, while Jordan Hoffman placed fourth in the 132 pound B division.
Preston Havis (113 pounds) and Ben Long (170 pounds B) each earned fifth-place medals, while Ben Smith (152 pounds A) was sixth.