Category Archives: Winter Sports

Winter Sports Preview: Season of change

Knight cagers hope returnees lead team full of newcomers
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There seems to be a wrinkle at the beginning of every Kaneland High School boys basketball season.

In 2009-10, Dave Dudzinski ran roughshod over the area, while in 2010-11, the Knights captured their first conference title since the Reagan administration. And in 2011-12, the Knights benefited from all-Northern Illinois Big XII selection and West Aurora transfer Marcel Neil and secured a Regional plaque.

Now, coach Brian Johnson has to prepare a group for a similar postseason run like the one that advanced to the Sycamore Sectional semifinal, but without personnel like Neil (at Kishwaukee Junior College) and junior Thomas Williams, who transferred to Texas.

“There’s been a lot of change, even from just the summer when we had Thomas, but we have some boys that have put in a lot of hard work,” Johnson said.

Among the group of hard-workers Johnson is talking about are senior guard Dan Miller and senior forward Matt Limbrunner, the two oldest reps on the Knight squad. The Knights will also expect heavy contributions from junior forward John Pruett and junior guard Tyler Carlson.

“Those guys have put in a lot of time. They’re good athletes and good kids. People ask me what type of team we’ll have and I don’t know yet,” Johnson said. “Last year, we could attack the rim, and we rebounded fairly well. I don’t know if we’ll be able to do all those things this year.”

Adding to the question pile is the health of third-year point guard Drew David, still on the mend after football bumps and bruises.

“It’ll be nice having Drew back in his third year at the point, and Tyler and John practiced with us all year and they know what we’re expecting,” Johnson said.

Also looking to contribute with varsity minutes in 2012-13 are sophomore guard Connor Fedderly and fellow sophomore guard Ben Barnes, junior forward Tom VanBogaert, junior guard Bailey Harvell and junior forward Cole Carlson, who saw quality summer minutes.

The Knights also bring a freshman guard into the mix in the form of Dylan Vaca.

“They’ll fill their roles as best they can and see some successes. This year, we’re going to have to be a team in every meaning of the word. That’s one thing I’ve really noticed, is we don’t necessarily have those go-to guys; they all work really well together,” Johnson said.

When it comes to the hierarchy of the NIB-12 and the odds of getting to a second conference title in three seasons, Johnson knows Kaneland must wade through several capable teams.

“DeKalb’s coming back with a really nice player in Andre Harris. Rochelle has their two guards that are very solid players. They’re good teams and are at the top of our league, and Yorkville did a really nice job last year,” Johnson said.

Action got underway on Wednesday at the Batavia Windmill Classic, with results unavailable as of press time against the hosts. The home opener is Friday, Nov. 30, against Morris, with the Knights once again making a stop at the Plano Christmas Classic, beginning on Saturday, Dec. 22.

Winter Sports Preview: Grapplers count on experienced core

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Last year brought a handful of success for Kaneland High School wrestling.

In 2012-13, the Knights are looking for more good fortune than they are able to carry.

KHS improved its dual meet mark from the previous year to finish 11-12, and was fortunate to have a sizable postseason presence.

Three of those people return as seniors, including the sixth-best 106-pounder in the state, Stephen Gust, plus Dan Goress (138 pounds) and Esai Ponce (126).

Out of last year’s State qualifiers, Ben Kovalick is gone to graduation, but the returning personnel also includes wrestlers like senior Regional champ Zach Theis, as well as fellow Sectional qualifiers Connor Williams and Sonny Horn.

“Absolutely, these seniors are going to lead the way for us,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “We are going to need points anywhere we can, with us giving up some weights in dual meets. The senior guys take over the room.”

Not only do the senior guys provide talent and leadership, but the wrestlers also have an extra added bonus.

“We were able to get the football players in a little earlier than in the past two years. They are busting their butts right now,” Jahns said.

Additional members of the Knights crew who look to duplicate more positive success to build on include Dane Goodenough and Luke Kreiter.

With the third-place finish in the Northern Illinois Big XII tournament plus additional success as the postseason wore on, Jahns trusts the returning Knights to use those experiences for motivation.

“It makes a big difference to go toward a goal like that, and you include that going into this year and try to be as solid as you can,” Jahns said.

Kaneland will aim for another top-three finish, but has to battle other capable schools.

“Yorkville is pretty dominant even though they lost some seniors. Sycamore is always solid, but they lost a couple people, and you can’t count out DeKalb. This year, we need to get as many wins as we can in the upper and lower weights to make up for a couple forfeits, but the kids are doing what we ask them to do,” Jahns said.

Saturday, Nov. 24, brings the first test with a home quad meet against Burlington Central, Freeport and Wheaton-Warrenville South. The first NIB12 tussle is on Thursday, Nov. 29, at Sycamore.

Winter Sports Preview: Senior-laden KHS bowlers hope to lay hurt to pins

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Bowlers representing Kane-land High School are taking to the local lanes with a love of the sport.

For the 2012-13 season, the Lady Knight lineup benefits from a heavy presence of seniors in the journey.

Varsity seniors include Angela Charhut, Elissa Eckert, Anne Salerno, Amanda Strayve and Morgan Wojciechowski. They also get a lift from junior talent, as well.

“Christie Crews, a junior, is also back after recording the second-highest average on the team last year,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “We look to Christie and the seniors to lead the team this year. Charhut, Salerno, Strayve, and Wojciechowski can break loose with a high game at any time. Eckert, had varsity time last year and is looking good in practice this year.”

The Lady Knights are joined by sophomore teammate Dominique Lee, with new varsity additions Eckert and Lee being looked upon for big things.

“They both are showing remarkable consistency in practice, so we hope to see some good and consistent scores from them in competition, as well,” McKnight said.

Kaneland bowlers will need to bring that consistency to the lanes on meet day in order to improve on a 2-15 dual meet record from a year ago.

“The better they bowl, the more fun it is for them. It’s usually better to take it slowly when teaching them during the first few weeks,” McKnight said. “It takes time to make new friends and become comfortable playing the game. A good attitude is absolutely essential for instruction and enjoying the game in the short and long term.”

When it comes to the widescale Northern Illinois Big XII conference landscape, Kaneland is preparing to deal with tough forces in the group.

“Our conference is always highly competitive, and this year will be no exception. DeKalb, Sterling, Dixon, Streator and Morris should all be tough this year,” McKnight said. “In addition, Sycamore, Rochelle and Ottawa have the capabilities to roll some very high scores. It should be very interesting to see if any one school starts to dominate the conference. We’re in a position where we just hope we can be competitive.”

Kaneland already had a meet with fellow Mardi Gras Lanes tenant DeKalb on Tuesday, with results unavailable as of press time. The first home meet of the season takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 26, against Marengo.

Photos: Scoring some spaghetti

The Kaneland boys basketball program held it’s fourth annual spaghetti dinner on Nov. 15 at the high school cafeteria. Proceeds benefited the program, and the food was served by the basketball players. Marty Scialabba, 11 (right), gets his helping of food
during the dinner.


A group of kids make a party out
of the dinner by acting silly and
eating treats.

Photos by John DiDonna

Vanik takes 2nd at USAW Pre-Season Nationals

Iowa—Riley Vanik of Sugar Grove nearly pulled off a championship victory in the USAW Pre-Season Nationals at the University of Northern Iowa inside the UNI-Dome Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Nov. 4.

The tournament drew 2,594 wrestlers from 38 states. Vanik entered the 152-pound weight bracket in the Seventh/Eighth-grade Middle School Division.

Because of Vanik’s performance the previous year, he earned a first-round bye in this year’s tournament. He took a tight match, 3-2, in his second-round opener.

Vanik found himself in another hard-fought battle in the next round, taking his Iowa opponent into overtime. He secured the 5-3 victory with just 19 seconds remaining in the overtime period.

He battled the eventual tournament champion into the second period, where he lost by pin, securing second place in the tournament.

Boys basketball spaghetti dinner

Kaneland—The Kaneland boys basketball program will offer its fourth annual spaghetti dinner for the Kaneland community on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.

The price per person is $5. Enjoy food that will be served by the boys in the basketball program.

RSVP to Brian Johnson by email, brian.johnson@kaneland.org, or by phone at (630) 365-5100, ext. 347.

KHS kids show ‘singlet’-minded focus

Photo: Kaneland wrestlers did their part in spring yard cleanups for senior citizens in Sugar Grove in the effort to raise funds for a trip to Wisconsin for a wrestling camp. Over 280 hours were spent volunteering. Courtesy Photo

Wrestlers’ week at camp fueled by helping community
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—How do 28 Kaneland middle school and high school wrestlers spend four days in the Wisconsin Dells area?

By competing against fellow wrestlers from states like Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin in a team wrestling camp.

An involved week at the Malecek Wrestling Camp from June 25-28 was the final piece of a puzzle that had various levels of the Kaneland wrestling program doing good in the area as a fundraiser to send team members to the elite camp.

The wrestling staff brainstormed some ideas and the plan was announced at the winter Wrestling Banquet in March after setting a goal to send kids to a well-known camp.

According to KHS wrestling coach Monty Jahns, the team volunteered 281.25 hours to the community, with an additional 111.75 hours donated by coaches and parents.

The camp featured 60 high school teams and over 900 wrestlers, but the matches, dual meets and round-robin tournaments were only part of the overall package.

In order to raise funds for the camp goal, donations for volunteer work was decided upon after the brain trust wanted to go a non-traditional route—away from discount cards and popcorn.

Area institutions like the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva, the Sugar Grove Senior Center, Sugar Grove Historical Society, John Shields Elementary School, Conley Farm and Delnor Hospital received volunteer hours.

Beginning the spearheading of the project in the winter, Jahns believes it couldn’t have worked out better.

“It was great that they were able to do this, and we helped people,” Jahns said. “It taught them responsibility and got them out in the community.”

The final total of 17 wrestlers making it to the camp was the result of the very definition of a group effort. The size and scale of the volunteer effort was a new experience for volunteer coach and Knights Wrestling Club coach Bob McCaffrey.

“I have volunteered for larger organizations and have been part of other ‘traditional’ fundraisers for local sports teams,” McCaffrey said. “The most impressive thing was seeing the boys learning and understanding the impact that volunteering has on the people they were helping.”

McCaffrey also made mention of incoming senior Eddie Rodriguez, the Student Administrative Assistant of the program.

The man-hours paved the way for actual mat time featuring duals and round-robins, making for an experience well worth it.

“The competition is a measuring stick for where they boys are at and what they need to prepare for the upcoming season. By being together in the off-season they grow and learn as a team,” McCaffrey said.

Successful wrestling contingents often are only as good as their team effort. An effort on the scale of the past four months seems to bode well for the Kaneland crew.

“This was due to an outstanding effort and constant communication. It was awesome,” Jahns said.

Kaneland holds court in summertime

Photo: Drew David moves the ball upcourt against a Belleville West defender during Tuesday’s action at the 27th Annual Morris Boys Shootout. Photo by Mike Slodki

Boys hoops
competes in
Morris Shootout

by Mike Slodki
MORRIS—Twenty-minute halves, a running clock, and kids wearing something akin to rec-league warmups.

But the Kaneland boys basketball trip to the 27th annual Morris Shootout, occurring Tuesday and Wednesday, was anything but rec.

With the Knights in Pool H against the likes of Belleville West, Oswego and Pekin high schools, the Kaneland group was taking this 32-team affair as a chance to show skills.

Even with a 12-point loss to the downstate Maroons in the books to open matters, coach Brian Johnson takes each summer day to see what he has.

“We’re trying to figure out what we have, and we made mistakes, but that stuff usually irons itself out by the time the season comes around,” Johnson said.

The Knight boys have participated in leagues at Geneva and DeKalb high schools, to go along with camps and lifting during the morning hours.

It makes for a different style of basketball once tip-off happens.

“They are competing out there and it’s a little more freelance. There’s a lot of kids out there that play a lot of basketball. We’re a team with kids that play three sports, and it’s a little more freelance when it comes to the summer. We’re not really a freelance team, and I think that will show when the season rolls around.”

Kaneland’s new faces for summer ball are Dylan Nauert, Brock Robertson, Bailey Harvell, Dylan Vaca, Cole Carlson, Tom VanBogaert and Shane Jorgensen.

Returning are Clay Denlinger, Dan Miller, Drew David, Thomas Williams, Tyler Carlson and John Pruett, making for a core to build around once summer progresses to the late fall.

“They’re going to do a nice job-—all the guys coming back. They’re poised to have really nice seasons, and we need to see where everyone kind of fits into play,” Johnson said.

The Knights head off to the Geneva League Tournament on Thursday, June 28.

Closest to the Pin


KHS wrestling coach Monty Jahns tees off during the Kaneland Boys Basketball Program 3rd Annual Golf Outing, which was held on Saturday at Bliss Creek Golf Club in Sugar Grove. The golf outing has been developed to bring together the Kaneland community, athletes, parents, alumni and community businesses. The fundraiser raised money for uniforms, equipment and fees for summer leagues and shootouts. Photo by Patti Wilk

Hoops rules committee says no to shot clock

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Participation and fan interest in high school basketball remain strong throughout the nation, and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Basketball Rules Committee voted to retain one aspect of the sport that makes it unique from other levels of play.

At its April 16-18 meeting in Indianapolis, the committee considered a proposal to add a shot clock to the high school rules but agreed that the sport played by about one million boys and girls in approximately 18,000 high schools is functioning well without it.

Although a shot clock has been employed at the college level for many years, results of the questionnaire that is sent to coaches, officials and state association administrators across the country did not indicate a strong desire to use the clock at the high school level.

“In addition to the fact that there is some concern about the costs associated with the use of a shot clock, the committee also expressed a belief that the game is typically played with an up-tempo style even without a shot clock,” said Kent Summers, director of performing arts and sports at the NFHS. “In addition, the committee believes that coaches should have the option of a slower-paced game if they believe it makes their team more competitive in specific situations.

The committee did approve one rule change, which subsequently was approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Rule 2-12 requires the official scorer to wear a black-and-white vertically striped garment. Previously, this was a recommendation for schools.

“The players, coaches and officials need to be able to easily identify the official scorer, and making this a requirement should assist in that regard,” Summers said.

Third annual golf outing a charm for Knight boys hoops

KANELAND—Foursomes and sponsorships are going fast, but there is still time to join the Kaneland boys basketball program in a day of fun at the third annual golf outing on Saturday, June 9, held at Bliss Creek Golf Course in Sugar Grove.

The golf outing has been developed to bring together the Kaneland community, athletes, parents, alumni and community businesses.

This fundraiser will raise money for uniforms, equipment and fees for summer leagues and shootouts. Thanks to the support of local businesses and donations, a variety of prizes will be available in the raffle. There will also be a silent auction with exciting prizes. The golf outing will be a scramble and costs $400 for a foursome, or $35 if you’d just like to attend the dinner.

If you are interested in the event, would like to be a sponsor, or make a donation, contact Brian Johnson at (630) 365-5100, ext. 347, or brian.johnson@kaneland.org.

KHS Boys track visits Ottawa for a second

KANELAND—Anytime and anywhere, Kaneland boys track serves to be a threat against area competition.

With depth and talent serving the Knights well, they continue to be near the top on days of action.

Such was the case during Saturday afternoon’s Ottawa ABC Invite in which the Knights put together a 221-point performance, compared to 236.5 from champ Metamora. Bolingbrook was third with 202 points. Lincoln-Way East took fourth with 146 points. Host Ottawa was 11th of 12 with 55 points.

The boys also solved Rochelle in Maple Park by a 104-51 final.

Separated to A, B and C flights in Ottawa, the Knights saw their share of hefty first-and-second place finishes.

Dylan Kuipers took second in his pole vault group with a mark of 12 feet. Eric Dillion, at 5-10, finished second in his high jump flight, and Tanner Andrews lept 18-06.25 in the long jump for a second place.

Firsts came the way of Seth Weiss in the 110m high hurdles with a time of 16.91, and Brandon Cottier at 12.11 ticks in the 100m dash.

Andrews came back with a second in the 300m low hurdles with a mark of 46.84 seconds, and Brock Robertsen took a second in his 300m low hurdles group at 42.68. Teammate Dylan Nauert’s 40.51 time was good for king of 300m hurdles “A” competitors.

Against the Hubs, multiple firsts were garnered by Cottier in the 100m dash (11.3) and 200m dash (23.3). Additionally, Marshall Farthing took firsts in the triple jump (39-7.5) and high jump (5-10). Nate Dyer went ballistic in the shot put (47-03) and discus (145-3.5).

Coming next for boys track is a familiar event: the Peterson Prep on Saturday, April 21, at 10 a.m.

Third annual golf outing a charm for Knight boys hoops

KANELAND—Foursomes and sponsorships are going fast, but there is still time to join the Kaneland boys basketball program in a day of fun at the third annual golf outing on Saturday, June 9, held at Bliss Creek Golf Course in Sugar Grove.

The golf outing has been developed to bring together the Kaneland community, athletes, parents, alumni and community businesses.

This fundraiser will raise money for uniforms, equipment and fees for summer leagues and shootouts. Thanks to the support of local businesses and donations, a variety of prizes will be available in the raffle. There will also be a silent auction with exciting prizes. The golf outing will be a scramble and costs $400 for a foursome, or $35 if you’d just like to attend the dinner.

If you are interested in playing the event, would like to be a sponsor, or make a donation, contact Brian Johnson at (630) 365-5100, ext. 347, or brian.johnson@ kaneland.org.

Colombe honored as 3A/4A coach of the Year

KANELAND—The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) selected Ernie Colombe as the District 5 Girls Basketball 3A/4A Coach of the Year. The IBCA honors the Coach of the Year at the IBCA Hall of Fame Banquet in April.

Colombe took over as coach of the Lady Knights in the 2006-07 season and took Kaneland to its first regional championship and sectional final berth in 2012.

KHS hoops squads can brandish honors

Photo: Ashley Prost (right), Thomas Williams (left) and Marcel Neil (middle) took home first-team All-Conference honors as named by the Northern Illinois Big XII on Thursday. Both girls and boys outfits for Kaneland advanced to their sectionals in 2011-12. File Photos

Two first-team All NIB-12 picks for boys, one for girls
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It’s as easy as a lay-up to deduce that both KHS basketball programs would get postseason honors to recognize exceptional play and postseason runs.

The boys basketball team, which saw its season conclude with a 12-point loss nine days ago to State-bound Rockford East, saw two of its assets named to the Northern Illinois Big XII All-Conference team.

Unanimously selected to the first team were senior Marcel Neil and sophomore Thomas Williams, both pivotal to the sectional run made by the Knights.

“Marcel was the ultimate team leader and player,” boys coach Brian Johnson said. “He was very unselfish on the court. Throughout the year, Thomas continued to improve and really came into his own the last month of the season.”

Meanwhile, KHS senior Ashley Prost was a unanimous selection to the All-NIB-12 girls roster.

For the boys side, other unanimous selections were Rochelle’s Grant Prusator and David Newton, Morris’ Jake Olson, and Dekalb’s Andre Harris and East Division MVP Brian Sisler.

Yorkville’s Josh Williams was also a first-teamer.

Kaneland’s Tyler Heinle led the pack for the honorable mention as a senior.

Other members included Sycamore’s Devin Mottet and Brandon Spartz, Yorkville’s Stephen Jones and Brandon Holmes, DeKalb’s Danny Matya and Kyle Berg, Rochelle’s Matt Rosenwinkel and Morris’ Danny Friend.

Streator’s JJ Cravata was named West MVP.

Lady Knight Prost was the lone selection on the first team for Kaneland, while Rachel Torres, Taylor White and Courtney Patrick of DeKalb also earned first-team honors as did Yorkville’s Jordann Dhuse and Alicyn Hester. Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza and Rochelle’s Michelle Dobbs filled out the elite selections.

Dobbs and Torres were named co-MVP’s of the East Division.

Sharpshooter Allyson O’Herron and Emma Bradford’s contribution as juniors yielded an honorable mention tag in the NIB-12 East Division scheme.

“All three players were a pleasure to coach as people, first and foremost,” KHS girls coach Ernie Colombe said. “In terms of their skills, Ashley brought a lot of toughness to our team. She has a lot of ways she can beat her defenders. Allyson O’Herron is the best long range shooter we have had during my time at KHS. Emma Bradford was kind of our Scottie Pippen,she was asked to do a little bit of everything for us.”

Other honorable mentions were Lady Redskins Julie Jurasits and Laney Torkelson, Sycamore’s Bailey Gilbert, Rochelle’s Christina Williams and DeKalb’s Courtney Williams.

In the West Division, Geneseo’s Devan Griffin took MVP honors.

Knights bounced: E-Rabs’ fourth spells doom for KHS in sectional

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There exists no direct or obvious correlation for higher drama the further you go in the Class 3A boys basketball playoffs.

That seemed to be ever true for coach Brian Johnson’s Knight crew, but the excitement failed to tip their way by the final buzzer on Tuesday night in Sycamore.

Victimized by a furious fourth quarter in the Sycamore Sectional semifinal by Rockford East High School, and more specifically, Steven McNease, KHS fell 66-54 to end its season at 17-11 (5-5 Northern Illinois Big XII Conference).

Kaneland has now ended all three seasons with Johnson at the helm with 17 wins.

The E-Rabs now head to the sectional final on Friday, March 9.

It was on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum from Friday night’s 65-61 overtime comeback win in the Rochelle Regional final, which secured Kaneland’s first regional plaque since 1999.

Against Rockford East, Marcel Neil had a team-high 14 points, while Thomas Williams had 13, but it was McNease’s 26 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter, that spelled the end for the Knights.

Going into the final eight minutes tied at 35, and even holding a slim 45-44 lead with four minutes, 52 seconds to go, the Knights were outscored 31-19 in the last frame. The E-Rabs went on a 22-9 run to conclude the game.

“Our boys made a match and (Rockford East) had to fight to get the win,” Johnson said. “We won a regional, and that’s something they can be proud of.”

Down 26-15 with 2:47 to go in the first half, Kaneland used baskets from Drew David, Tyler Heinle and Williams to close within 26-23 at halftime.

The third quarter was closer, and a Neil putback made it 27-26 Kaneland 55 ticks into the half. With time winding down, a Matt Limbrunner close-range bucket with 1:10 to go gave KHS a 35-33 edge before Rockford East tied it with 57 seconds remaining.

Both teams exhibited high percentages in the fourth and traded shot for shot. Dan Miller’s two foul shots with 4:10 to go tied it at 47, but McNease caught fire with a trifecta to give the E-Rabs the lead for good with 4:02 left.

The lead increased to 56-49 with 2:05 to go and could get no closer with Rockford East playing the turnovers and steals to their advantage.

In a happier circumstance against the host Hubs in Ogle County, the Knights were paced by Neil with 21 and Williams with 19.

KHS also went 29-for-36 from the foul line, while Rochelle went 13-for-16.

Down 33-20 at halftime in a raucous setting, Kaneland composed itself and closed within 42-33 at the end of three.

Down by as many as 10 in the fourth, Kaneland found itself down 57-49 with 2:17.

All the Knights did from then on was put in the last eight points of regulation to force overtime.

A basket by Neil and followed by his three-point play with 1:29 to go closed it to 57-55, while Williams’ free throws with 44.7 to go tied the score at 57 to force another frame.

KHS took control with an inside move by Neil 90 seconds into OT, and then went up by as much as six with foul shots by David, Williams and Neil.

“We had to dig deep,” Neil said. “In that fourth quarter, we knew it was going to take leadership. We stepped up and hit big shots.”

The Knights say goodbye to Neil, Tyler Heinle, Trever Heinle and Bryan Van Bogaert.

Van Bogaert enjoys new courtside role

Photo: Elyse Van Bogaert has gone from Rambler player to Royal coach. Courtesy of Steve Woltmann, Loyola Sports Information

by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—Elburn resident and Loyola University standout Elyse Van Bogaert just can’t stay away from the roundball action.

That’s been welcome news for the group at Rosary High School in Aurora.

Returning to the program that boasted her talents as the first-ever freshman to suit up for the varsity team, Van Bogaert joined the Rosary Royals under head coach Dave Beebe as an assistant for the most recent hoops season.

Despite the campaign coming to end at the hands of Yorkville two weeks ago, stamping the season’s end at 9-18, Van Bogaert felt the season was worth it, as she passed on some of what she learned during her time as a 6-foot-1 post presence for Rosary and the Loyola Lady Ramblers.

“This past year has really been my first time truly coaching,” Van Bogaert said. “I coached summer league basketball at Rosary a few summers during college and helped at camps we held at Loyola, but that was about it. Last winter I helped run a few clinics for AAU programs and ran a few skill development classes for them, as well. Aside from that, I’ve worked on an individual basis with about 10 different middle school-and-high school aged girls developing position specific skills and agility. That for me, has been the most fun.

The 2010 graduate of Loyola University in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago had coaching on the brain after a career that saw her become one of only 10 Lady Ramblers to score 1,000 career points and amass 500 rebounds.

“I stayed in touch with Coach Beebe after I graduated. When I’d come home over the summers, I helped out with camps. He took his teams up to a few of my college games. I always said if I ended up coming back to the area for awhile I’d love to coach with him at Rosary. I got home from Italy and graduated at the end of last December and started helping out with the team, then they hired me on for the next season,” Van Bogaert said.

Any player that ventures into the coaching ranks is influenced by their teachers. Va nBogaert had a distinguished field to choose from.

“I had two coaches that really left a huge impact on me as a player and an individual. I played for Larry Parker (father of Candace Parker) on an AAU team my last two years in high school. He was one of the most knowledgeable and intense coaches, but above all he cared about the well being of his players. He was just one of those coaches you would do anything to please. The other coach I really try to model my coaching style after is Rashana Barnes, my post coach my freshman and sophomore years at Loyola. She was a standout at Penn State and went on to play in the WNBA. Her technical knowledge and incorporation of strength and conditioning into our workouts was phenomenal,” Van Bogaert said.

Van Bogaert hopes that this first year is a harbinger of things to come and that her coaching skills increase exponentially—much like her court skills in Aurora and the city.

“I learned a lot about game situations and the seemingly endless number of things you need to be aware of while coaching-—luckily, I was able to observe Coach Beebe. I also began to realize how flexible you have to be as a coach. When one thing doesn’t work, you have to keep reinventing and adjusting things until things click for your players.”

Boys BB shows playoff hoop skills in win over Spartans

Photo: KHS head coach Brian Johnson tries to spur a comeback in the fourth period of Kaneland’s close match against Rochelle on Friday. Rochelle escaped with a 59-57 NIB-12 win. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—This has already turned out to be a better postseason than the last for KHS boys hoops.

Exorcising some demons of last year’s season-ending regional opener loss to Aurora Central Catholic on March 2, 2011, top-seed Kaneland worked their offense and came weathered Sycamore runs for a solid 55-45 win.

Sycamore (9-20) had outlasted Burlington Central in the opening game of the Rochelle Regional.

Kaneland is set to play two-seed Rochelle on Friday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. after the Hubs edged Hampshire, 59-57.

The Knights, now 16-10, have a chance to make good on a regional title after losing to DeKalb two years ago in Maple Park.

The task at hand on Tuesday was more difficult than listed on paper, with the Spartans on a positive trajectory and having gotten the better of Kaneland in the second regular-season meeting.

“It’s a big win against a conference opponent, and they beat us earlier in the year,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “This is going to be a tough game no matter what.”

The victory marked a nice change of pace for the Knights after sustaining two losses in a row—the first time that has happened since Jan. 18, 2011.

Thomas Williams and Marcel Neil had 15 points apiece, and Trever Heinle had 13 points. It was all the better to combat Sycamore’s Devin Mottet, who scored the Spartans’ first 10 points of the evening and finished with 20.

Down 8-4 early, Heinle had a putback, Williams made two foul shots, and with 4.6 seconds to go, Dan Miller sunk a shot to go up 10-8.

Williams’ basket with 1:38 to go in the half made it 22-16 before a Spartan three just before the buzzer cut the margin to three at the half.

The offense started to click for KHS midway through the quarter on a Drew David three for a 31-21 lead with 4:21 to go. Tyler Heinle’s trey with 4.6 to go made it 36-27 by the buzzer.

The lead ballooned to 44-31 with 4:18 to go, and the free throws did the rest of the damage.

Tyler Heinle and Neil came up with pivotal three-point plays, as well.

“We knew coming into the game they’d been playing a lot better,” David said. “We knew we had to compete from the beginning.”

In the regular season finale, the Knights’ comeback fell short against the Hubs, 59-57—a reversal of fortune from the regular season finale a year ago that resulted in a Northern Illinois Big XII conference title.

The Knights were paced by Williams’ 15 points, Tyler Heinle’s 13 and Neil’s 12.

Rolling Thunder: Lady Knights’ season ends in 43-31 sectional final

Photo: Sarah Grams looks for someone to pass to in the third period of Kaneland’s Class 3A sectional title game against Belvidere North on Feb. 23 at Sycamore High School. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
SYCAMORE—Emotions on the faces of the Lady Knights as they came out of the game, one-by-one, told the story. It would prove to be a sad ending.

However, the Lady Knights basketball squad can be proud of the memories they forged in the most prolific season for the program since 2005-06, which came to an end on Thursday with a 43-31 loss to the Belvidere North Blue Thunder.

The Sycamore Sectional final concluded the season at 20-10, while Belvidere North’s season finally concluded at 23-10 with a 53-46 loss to Vernon Hills High School during Monday’s Elgin High School Super-Sectional.

Kaneland was buoyed by Ashley Prost and Kelly Evers, each with 11 points. Center Katie Dovenuehle had 12 points for the winners.

KHS was also nicked by a 5-for-12 night at the foul line, compared to 14-for-20 for BN.

“Belvidere North’s a good team,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “Defensively, we did some good things, but we had to start fouling at the end. I thought free throws hurt us tonight.”

Kaneland and the Blue Thunder were deadlocked at 7-7 after one frame. With a basket by Evers and a steal from Alli Liss leading to a lay-in by Allyson O’Herron, the Lady Knights were up 11-7 with 7:21 remaining in the second quarter.

However, BN’s offense and board attack showed dividends, and KHS found itself on the wrong end of an 8-0 run.

Down 18-12, Prost’s bucket with 28.4 remaining brought the halftime score to 18-14.

In the third, KHS enjoyed foul shots from Prost and a putback from Evers to tie the game at 22-22 with 2:59 to go, but that would be the last time Kaneland would sniff a lead.

Belvidere North went on a 9-0 run that went into the fourth quarter. The Blue Thunder were able to get to the foul line with frequency as the seconds ticked away. Sarah Grams and Prost found the net to close within 36-31 with 1:39 remaining, but the Blue Thunder hit seven-of-eight foul shots to close it out.

“Free throws sometimes deflate you, they hit a bunch at the end and their kids stepped up and that’s why they’re moving on,” Colombe said.

With a team that loses just two seniors, Kelly Evers and Liz Barnette, Kaneland has laid a winning foundation.

“The girls gave us everything they had all year. They enjoyed the atmosphere of the playoffs and got a lot of support from the school. They got a taste for it,” Colombe said.

Galvan a good sport


University of Wisconsin-Platteville women’s basketball junior forward Alyssa Galvan was named to the WIAC All-Sportsmanship Team on Monday. Galvan, of Maple Park, was recognized for her display of exemplary sportsmanship throughout the season. Courtesy of Wisconsin-Platteville Sports Information

Young Kaneland-area wrestlers excel

KANELAND—This past weekend a number of students from the Kaneland School District participated in the IKWF (Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation) Regional Championships held in Wheaton and Sycamore.

The top six finishers at each weight class advance to Sectional Meets in Elgin, Ill. and Rochelle, Ill. Ten of the wrestlers are members of the Martinez Fox Valley Elite Wrestling Club, and all qualified for this weekend’s Sectional Meet in Elgin, Ill. Those who qualified were: Nathan Orosco (3rd place – Novice), John McCaffrey (2nd place – Novice), Zack Farris (5th place – Novice), Jacob Shear (3rd place – Senior), Matthew Redman (5th place – Senior), Hayden Patterson (4th place – Senior), Trevor Jones (4th place – Novice), Luke Eggenberger (5th place – Novice). Riley Vanik (2nd place – Novice), and Mitchell Jones (3rd place – Senior).

The Knights Wrestling Club had 12 wrestlers advance to their Sectionals in Rochelle. Those who qualified were: Jace Black (4th place – Intermediate), Brenden Parks (3rd Place – Intermediate), Jack Certa (6th place – Intermediate), Brandon Bryan (6th place – Intermediate), Colin Gussman (5th place – Senior), Diego Lobo (5th place – Senior), George Strang (4th place – Senior), Tommy Kumar (2nd place – Novice), Austin Parks (4th place – Senior), Ben Long (5th Place – Senior), Connor Hoeft (4th place – Novice), and Zach Parker (1st place – Senior).

The Sectional meets have 12 wrestlers at each weight, and the top three finishers will move on to the State Championships in Rockford, Ill., on Friday and Saturday, March 9-10.

And the award goes to …


The 1979 Girls Basketball was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Friday evening. Coach Rick Schairer (left to right), Cathy (Thompson) Bluma, Kathy (Turk) Claesson and Jeanette Decker. Not pictured were Kathy Brandt, Lorna Schlechte, Diane Beebe, Margie White, Betsy Beyer, Kim Keller, Christa McLeland, Lisa Underwood, Missy Olmstead, Nancy Fedderson, Raquel Slay, Margaret Berry, Martha Weydert, Lea Ann Machias, Marcia Withey, Paula Beyer, Brenda Miller, Tina Perry, Susan Baldridge and Dede Sanchez. Photo by Patti Wilk           


The 1977 Girls Volleyball team was inducted during halftime of the varsity girl’s basketball game on Feb. 10. Kathy (Turk) Claesson (left to right), Coach Judy Hulka, and Colleen (Hanson) Peto.Not pictured were Sue Ott, Cari Claesson, Margie White, Sarah Anderson, Julie Fabrizius, Lorna Schlechte, Marcia Davids, Cathy Hanson and Diane Beebe.

Photo by Patti Wilk

A must see Thursday

Regional crown down, sectional final to go for girls after three wins

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For a squad that has gone largely untested for the position it’s in, Kaneland girls basketball showed it belongs in a mid-February basketball setting.

With a regional semfinal win over IMSA on Feb. 15, followed by a regional title win over Yorkville on Thursday, the Lady Knights improved to 20-9, thus far with perhaps their most impressive late-season win—a 40-31 stifling of fellow one-seed Hampshire on Monday evening in the Sycamore Sectional.

The stars are set to collide in a Thursday, Feb. 23, sectional final against the Blue Thunder of Belvidere North High School at 7:30 p.m. Belvidere North defeated NIB-12 stalwart Sterling in the opening matchup of Monday’s doubleheader, 41-40.

Against the Lady Whip-purs, the Lady Knights were paced with 12 points from Allyson O’Herron and 11 points from Ashley Prost. The Lady Knights employed sound passing and making the most of opportunities on the offensive end, while confounding Hampshire on the defensive end. That led to an 11-2 lead after the first quarter and a sizable 21-6 lead after the first half.

The first half was indicative of winning performances all year, but not on this important a stage.

“We’re not going to set any records on offense, but we can lock you down on defense when we feel like it,” Colombe said.

Colombe felt more of the same needed to happen in order for Hampshire, very unlikely to be stuck at six points for the duration of the game, not to find itself back in the contest.

“That’s exactly what we told the girls at halftime. They’re going to score more than six points. We’re going to have to weather the storm a little bit and keep communicating on defense,” Colombe said.

The deficit got up to as much as 18 points when Prost’s baseline jumper made it 26-8 with 5:13 remaining in the third.

Hampshire then went on a 9-0 run over the next four minutes before O’Herron sunk two free throws with 53.8 ticks left.

After Sarah Grams stole a Hampshire pass and converted on a layup and three-point play, the Lady Knights enjoyed a 31-17 lead as the third frame ended.

Strangely, it would be the final field goal for KHS on a night in which the Lady Knights went 12-for-24 from the field.

In the fourth, it was a matter of possession and getting to the line, and Kaneland went 8-of-10. While Hampshire cut it to 37-29 with 1:53 to go, it would get not closer thanks to the free-throw efforts of O’Herron, Prost and Lauren Zick.

Keyed by the first-half, O’Herron thought the game was one of of the most complete efforts all year by Kaneland.

“We just went after them on defense, and we didn’t let them have anything,” O’Herron said. “That was a big part in holding them to six points in the first half; that was incredible.”

In Thursday’s 37-34 final win over Yorkville, the Lady Knights snagged revenge from the 45-42 frustration suffered at the hands of the Lady Foxes on Feb. 3. Prost was the only KHS player in double figures with 10, while Yorkville’s Jordan Dhuse had a game-high 20.

Kaneland benefited from two long-range bombs by O’Herron, coupled with a pair of foul shots and a late basket from Brooke Harner on the way to a 16-7 advantage after one quarter.

A Grams layup gave KHS its biggest lead of 18-8 with 6:02 remaining in the half, but a rally by Yorkville closed the game to 20-16 by halftime’s buzzer.

A Yorkville basket tied the game with 4:34 remaining in the third, but a three by O’Herron and three consecutive baskets by Prost gave Kaneland a 29-22 lead going into the fourth.

However, a furious Lady Foxes rally threatened to overwhelm Kaneland, and a 10-0 run by the two-seed made it a 32-29 deficit with 5:12 remaining.

Two Yorkville foul shots made it 34-31 with 2:32 remaining, but Kelly Evers’ putback with 2:19 to go closed it to within one.

The tide-turner was Emma Bradford’s putback in traffic of her own miss with 1:33 remaining, for a 35-34 lead.

“I just kind of took what they gave me. We didn’t have a lot of time left, and I had to keep composed,” Bradford said.

The scoring was capped with an outlet pass to Grams, who converted the bucket with 17 ticks left for the three-point edge.

Against IMSA in the regional semi, KHS was helped by a balanced scoring column and Grams’ nine points.

“We’re all excited, I mean it was one of our goals to get to a regional championship,” Grams said after the IMSA win. “We wanted to work on rebounding tonight and try to improve ourselves.”

Kaneland’s 30-15 halftime lead paved the way for better things. The Lady Knights were 24-of-47 from the field.

All-stater Gust caps KHS wrestling’s Champaign trip

Photo: Stephen Gust took sixth at the Class 2A State meet last weekend. File photo

CHAMPAIGN, Ill.—As the 2011-12 wrestling season rolled on, it became apparent that this was a season that many Knights could be proud of.

Most notably, the efforts of Stephen Gust, Esai Ponce, Dan Goress and Ben Kovalick, or as you can call them, “State-level wrestlers.”

In the 106-pound grouping, Stephen Gust finished sixth overall for Class 2A.

Gust, coming into the three-day festival at 27-7, lost a 4-1 decision to Montini Catholic’s Tommy Pawelski, the eventual state champ.

Gust came back to beat Bloomington’s Steven Bradford in an 8-0 major decision wrestleback.

The quarterfinal wrestleback had Gust beat Johnsburg’s Branden Peshek in a 4-3 overtime matchup, before losing to Triad’s Cole Wysocki, 6-0 in the semifinal. Gust finished his weekend with a 6-5 loss to Richmond-Burton’s Grant Sutton in the fifth-place match.

In the 126-pound group, Ponce, who came in with a record of 39-5, lost to Lemont’s Jake Latanski in a 4-2 affair.

Dan Goress came into the 138-pound section at 32-4 and started in the prelims with a 10-6 handling of Lemont’s Bobby Bromberek, before succumbing to Triad’s Kyle Graumenz in an 11-6 meeting.

Sent to the wrestlebacks, the Knight rep came away with an 11-4 win over Niles Notre Dame’s Tim Donnelly, before finishing with a 9-7 overtime loss to Fenton’s Sean Havlovic.

220-pounder Kovalick began his State tour with a 1-0 win over Niles Notre Dame’s Ryan Walsh in the first round. However, Kovalick was defeated in 9-3 fashion by Nazareth Academy’s Malcolm Watson in the quarterfinals.

The senior cornerstone rebounded with a 3-2 overtime win over Decatur MacArthur’s Derek Schultz, but the day ended with an 11-3 major decision loss to Sycamore rival Matt Copple in the quarterfinal wrestlebacks.

The Knights’ dual record ended at 11-12 for the year, matching the win total of a year ago, and with four competitors to the gathering in Champaign, Ill., sent their biggest number in 18 seasons.

Yorkville gets the best of Knight boys

Photo: Drew David makes a mad scramble for the ball during a 62-51 setback against Yorkville. The Foxes executed a regular season sweep of KHS. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—After a long drive to Streator led to victory earlier last week, Kaneland was looking to ride the victory bus against Yorkville right in its own backyard.

As it was, the Fox roundballers put Kaneland in a rut on Friday.

With Kaneland struggling on the offensive end for an important portion of the game, KHS fell 62-51 to Yorkville.

The regular season sweep by Yorkville over the host Knights sunk the Kaneland record to 15-9 with a 5-4 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII conference action.

Kaneland has gone 6-4 in its previous 10 battles this season, and has not lost two in a row at any point through 24 games.

Thomas Williams produced a game-high 20 points, while Marcel Neil added 10 of his own.

The Knights were in decent standing after the first quarter with a 13-all tie, but the points came at a high premium in the next two frames.

Yorkville went into the locker room up 30-18, and found itself ahead 44-26 after the third quarter

The Knight offense found another gear with 25 points in the fourth, but the onslaught was too late.

The sophomores came away with a 53-51 overtime win over Yorkville, as John Pruett had 16 points in the win.

The freshmen lost to Morris, 35-26 in the NIB-12 tournament.

Just one more regular season game remains for the Knights—a home battle against Rochelle on Friday, Feb. 24.

Kaneland, the number-one seed in the Class 3A Rochelle Regional, faces either Burlington Central or Sycamore on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m.

State of excellence: Wrestlers bring 4 to Champaign

Photo by John DiDonna: Ben Kovalick

by Mike Slodki
STERLING—You’d have to go back to 1994 to revisit the last time Kaneland High School wrestling had more than three State qualifiers.

Back then, the older set of the current crew would be wrestling in their cribs.

A year after Kyle Davidson and Jimmy Boyle earned State berths, Kaneland sends 106-pounder Stephen Gust, 126-pound Esai Ponce, 138-pounder Dan Goress and 220-pounder Ben Kovalick to the IHSA Individual State tournament in Champaign, Ill., at Assembly Hall.

A senior, Kovalick waded through a tough sectional group in Sterling on Thursday and Friday at the home of the Golden Warriors. Kovalick (35-5) disposed of Peoria Richwoods’ Keith King in three minutes, 16 seconds, then pinned Freeport’s Malique Johnson in 5:21 before edging Marmion’s Alex Fritz in a 2-1 affair. East Peoria’s Lucas Joseph win the 220-pound group with a 15-6 major decision.

“As a team, we’ve really been focusing on these last three weeks and it’s paid off,” Kovalick said, “All across the board there were some really talented guys in that weight class, but I got the draw that I wanted and I thought this year was definitely the year.”

Kovalick takes on Niles Notre Dame’s Ryan Walsk (28-9) in the first round.

Gust’s (27-7) sectional began with a 7-3 loss to Anthony Bosco of Marmion, but continued with a 5-3 win over Rock Island’s Tyler DeHaven, and then the junior took care of East Moline’s Jeronnie Steward in an 8-1 decision. Gust then got past Washington’s Austin Wileman, 2-0, before losing to Sterling’s Isaac Anderson in the third-place match, 7-2.

“We just came out and sent as many as we could downstate,” Gust said. “After Friday, I was pretty discouraged and I didn’t know what was to come on the second day and I just thought, ‘Let’s wrestle.’”

Gust takes on Montini Catholic’s Tommy Pawelski in the opening bout in Champaign.

In the 138-pound category, Goress (32-4) pinned Peoria Notre Dame’s Scott Bousek in 4:34 and beat Yorkville rival Brennan Sharp by 17-9 major decision before losing the final to Marmion’s Angelo Silvestro 9-5.

“I felt confident I could get it done and get in the finals,” the junior Goress said. “Last year, I made the mistake of overlooking opponents I had beaten before. This year I wasn’t making that mistake, everyone’s 0-0.”

Goress takes on Lemont’s Bobby Bromberek in the first round.

Ponce (39-5) dealt with the crowded sectional by beating Peoria’s Pedro Garcia in 3:33 and beat first-round bye recipient Chase Wiggins of Rock Island, 7-0. Ponce then lost to eventual champ George Fisher of Marmion 5-1, before advancing via injury default over Belvidere North’s Erik Nord.

“In the past, I knew I lost to kids I know I shouldn’t have,” Ponce. “That’s been one of my goals, to wrestle my best this season.”

Ponce has Lemont’s Jake Latanski in the first round in Champaign.

“It was a good match last time, but I lost, and I’m going to go out there and just wrestle the best I can, and I feel I’ve improved a lot since the beginning of my season.”

The 2A festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16, with preliminary matches.

Kaneland girls go into regionals on winning note

Photo: Kelly Evers carries Emma Bradford, who just made the winning free throw. Kaneland defeated Rochelle 52-51 on Friday to finish the regular season at 17-9 (7-3 NIB-12). Photo by Patti Wilk

Bradford’s late foul shots give KHS close win over Lady Hubs
KANELAND—Quite literally, that’s why they play the final 1.2 seconds.

In a game that saw Kaneland’s 14-point lead evaporate, it was two free throws by Emma Bradford that brought Kaneland into the winner’s circle on Friday night, in a 52-51 affair against Rochelle on Senior Night.

That end-of-game pull-through is something that might not have been pulled off by previous incarnations of this girls group, and shows strides just in time for the regional journey.

With the win, the Lady Knights finished their regular season at 17-9, with a 7-3 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII conference play.

It’s the highest win total since 2005-06 for the girls team, and the highest in coach Ernie Colombe’s tenure.

Kaneland was paced by Ashley Prost’s 13 and Allyson O’Herron’s 12, in a contest that took the sting out of a close loss to Yorkville the previous week.

KHS raced out to an 18-4 lead, only to see it dissipate to a 24-22 halftime edge. Rochelle closed to within 36-35 at the end of the third before the final quarter.

The sophomores closed their season with a 45-36 loss at the hands of Rochelle, but finished with an 18-7 mark (5-5 NIB-12).

The freshman defeated LaSalle-Peru on Feb. 8, to finish their season as NIB-12 tournament champs and with a 23-2 record (10-0 NIB-12).

Kaneland was scheduled to tip off against Illinois Math and Science Academy of Aurora on Wednesday as part of the 1-4 matchup at the Class 3A Yorkville Regional.

IMSA defeated the fifth-seed Sandwich Lady Indians on Monday by a 42-35 final.

The winner of Kaneland-IMSA battle faces either Yorkville or Rosary in the final on Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m. The Lady Foxes were 19-6 headed into playoff action, while the Royals were 9-15.

Knight hoops splits vs. Nazareth, DeKalb

Photo: Thomas Williams gets fouled in the fourth quarter of Kaneland’s 65-55 win at DeKalb on Friday. Williams led all scorers with 21 points. Photo by John DiDonna

Neil contributes 19 in comeback win vs. Streator
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Sometimes the losses that befell a team can reveal positive qualities.

Despite the Knights falling behind by as much as 15 points at the end of the first quarter, Kaneland charged back against Nazareth Academy on Saturday afternoon and showed resolve before losing 54-49.

That setback came off the heels of a season sweep-inducing win in DeKalb on Friday night, 64-55.

Kaneland also took it to host Streator on Tuesday by a final of 53-41.

The Knights are now 15-8 with a 5-3 record in Northern Illinois Big XII conference tussles.

The Wheaton Academy Shootout affair in West Chicago had Kaneland outscore Nazareth in the final three quarters, but had trouble at times with inside threat Tyler Jackson, who scored 16 points in the post.

Marcel Neil had a game-high 17 points, followed by Matt Limbrunner’s 13 and Thomas Williams’ 10.

Down 22-7 after the first eight minutes, the Knights gradually adapted to the athletic adversary and made five shots in a row, cutting it down to 35-30 with 4:18 to go in the third quarter, thanks to a Limbrunner basket.

Drew David’s basket with 1:52 to go in the third closed the deficit to 37-35.

Nazareth Academy hit five of seven shots, but Kaneland’s Limbrunner converted an offensive putback to close to within 45-44 with 3:35 remaining.

Nazareth hit a three to make it 48-44. Later, Neil’s offensive putback with 3:01 to go made it 48-46, which would be as close as Kaneland would get for the rest of the contest.

Coach Brian Johnson saw a team that was still recovering from a hard-fought win the previous night, and did its best with a versatile lineup from LaGrange Park.

“That seven-footer is a tough player,” Johnson said. “He really intimidated our guys early, but as the game went on, they decided to take it to the bucket more and Marcel and Limbrunner really stayed strong.”

Taking on the Barbs for the first time in their Dresser Road digs, a 21-point effort from Williams and 10 apiece from Neil and Trever Heinle did the trick.

The Knights took a 21-18 lead after one but saw the lead flip to a 31-30 DeKalb edge at the half.

Kaneland’s prolific output in the third gave the visitors a 54-48 lead before holding firm in the fourth quarter.

DeKalb fell victim to a 22-for-30 night from Kaneland on the foul line.

Taking on the Streator Bulldogs of the West Division, Kaneland was buoyed by Neil’s 19 points, a game-high. The former West Aurora product was the only Knight in double figures. Kaneland went 17-for-31 from the foul line.

KHS was up 9-8 after one but fell behind 22-19 at the half. The Knights climbed back within 35-34 before dominating the fourth.

KHS is slated to battle the visiting Yorkville Foxes in the penultimate regular season battle on Friday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m.

Wrestling sends seven to Sterling Sectional

Photo: Sonny Horn won his first match with a pin against Burlington Central during the IHSA DeKalb Regional on Saturday. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
DEKALB—When it comes time for postseason wrestling, a preferred mentality is “survive and advance.”

For KHS, it’s seven of its grapplers that put that mode of thinking to use and will live to pin another day.

At Saturday’s DeKalb Regional, the 2A grouping saw Kaneland finish third with 119 points, thanks to a couple of regional crowns to go along with second- and third-place finishes.

Sycamore’s 178-point total was king of the regional, allowing a sectional berth, while DeKalb was second with 145.5 points.

Rounding out the top five in the eight-team regional were Burlington Central with 109 and Belvidere North with 85 points of its own.

The two Knights claiming regional titles were heavyweight Zach Theis and 138-pound entry Dan Goress.

For Kaneland, the junior Theis continued Kaneland heavyweight fortune staked by graduate Jimmy Boyle and won the group with a pinfall in four minutes, 37 seconds over Rockford East’s Michael Estergard.

“Zach and Jimmy have a similar wrestling style,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “Theis is a bit bigger, about four inches taller and there’s not much difference in their footwork.”

Meanwhile, Goress, a junior, snagged his second consecutive regional nod with a 12-3 major decision victory over DeKalb senior Jacob Sommer in the final.

In the 220-pound final, senior Ben Kovalick lost to Sycamore’s Matt Copple in :43, but still moves on to Saturday’s action.

Stephen Gust secured a third-place finish in the 106-pound category after edging Belvidere’s Alex Ramirez by a 2-1 decision.

Teammate Connor Williams’ third place came as a result of a 7-5 win over Belvidere North’s Psalm Fambro in the 113-pound clash.

KHS 126-pound cornerstone Esai Ponce continued his strong season with a third-place win over Burlington Central’s Jon Wright by pinfall in 2:57.

Sonny Horn punched his ticket to Sterling, Ill., with a 12-4 major decision win to earn third place over Sycamore’s Zach Munro.

The next stop for Kaneland is the Sterling Sectional on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Bowling season comes to an end at DeKalb

by Mike Slodki
DEKALB—Postseason action is ripe to provide unlikely performances leading to a sectional berth.

Unfortunately for the roster of Kaneland High School bowlers, that good fortune went to select other squads.

KHS competed gamely in a 19-team logjam out at its home turf of Mardi Gras Lanes off of Route 23 in DeKalb.

With 4,321 pins dethroned, Kaneland finished 13th overall, with no individuals having a high enough total to advance.

Kaneland outbowled Barrington High School by 58 pins. Meanwhile, DeKalb took the sectional title with 5,830 pins, followed by Marengo with 5,799—both punching their tickets to the State final in Rockford, Ill. Jacobs just missed a berth by 93 pins. Northern Illinois Big XII counterpart Sycamore took eighth with 4,887.

The top three individuals were DeKalb’s Savanna Myers with 1,288 pins, followed by St. Charles East’s Katherine Sulaitis’ 1,281 and Becca Czlapinski of Marengo with 1,267.

Kaneland’s totals were highlighted by Christie Crews’ 896 day total, with series of 413 and 483, as well as Angela Charhut with an 893 day total, thanks to series of 455 and 438.

The top game of the sectional for Kaneland was Crews’ 183 in the p.m. session.

The final regular season clash took place in the form of a matchup on Feb. 1 in Lisle against the host Lady Lions.

The Lady Knights’ 2,400 was short of Lisle’s 2,697.

Kaneland finished with a dual mark of 2-15 for the 2011-12 season.

For KHS, top series were bowled by Seleana Isaacs with a 479 total, followed by a 410 from Ellissa Eckert. Top games were bowled by Isaacs at 170 and Eckert at 157.

With the conclusion of the season, Kaneland bowling says goodbye to seniors Isaacs, and JV members Alex Hornback and Madi Bluml, part of an JV squad that finished 11-7.

Knight boys take pitfall vs. Sycamore

Photo: Drew David drives with determination against Sycamore defenders. Kaneland lost at home against Sycamore 51-42. Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—There shall be no sweep of the Spartans in 2012.

Dealing with a double-digit lead at halftime, Kaneland fell victim to playing catch-up ball and found itself on the wrong end of a 51-42 result against the visiting Spartans on Saturday afternoon.

The lone game of the week had Kaneland drop to 13-7 on the season, with a 4-3 record in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play.

The game was in stark contrast to the 70-42 win on Dec. 10, 2011, in Sycamore.

Marcel Neil supplied a game-high 14 points, despite being on the losing end.

KHS was also stung by a 6-for-14 shooting night at the foul line, compared to 16-for-23 by Sycamore.

Sycamore went on top early, 14-7, before expanding the lead by the halftime buzzer to 24-14.

The margin remained steadfast at 34-24 by the end of the third, before Kaneland’s offense came alive in the fourth, but it only served to bring the deficit to nine.

The sophomores lost their battle with Sycamore by a 52-42 clip. Tyler Carlson had 15 points.

A full week greets the Knights varsity contingent with a trip to DeKalb on Friday, Feb. 10, a jaunt to the Wheaton Academy Shootout on Saturday, Feb. 11, and a drive to Streator on Tuesday, Feb. 14, for some NIB-12 hoops.