Category Archives: Winter Sports

Lady Knights rattle off two wins after hard-luck loss to Yorkville

Photo: Lauren Zick crashes into a Yorkville defender on the way to the basket during the third period of Kaneland’s 45-42 loss at home on Friday. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—When a team has to endure a three-game losing skid, the mentality of the next win being so far away can creep into the team.

Fortunately for Kaneland, the so-far-away win occurred Saturday against Sycamore, and then on Tuesdsay against Marengo.

The Lady Knights improved to 16-9 (6-3 NIB-12) after a 54-44 Tuesday solving of the visiting Indians, and a 52-37 win over the rival Lady Spartans. This happened after a loss on Friday in which the visiting Yorkville squad took a lead with 1:06 to go in a 45-42 setback.

Against Marengo, KHS came back from a 27-24 halftime deficit in a big way, going on a 17-6 run in the third quarter before outscoring the Indians 13-11 in the fourth.

Ashley Prost had 17 points and six rebounds, while Allyson O’Herron had 12 points and five boards.

Facing the Lady Spartans, KHS went 22-for-40 from the field, and increased a 23-13 halftime lead to a 41-23 third-quarter chasm. Leading the way was Emma Bradford with 13 points and seven boards, while Brooke Harner had five points and six boards.

Against Yorkville, the Lady Knights played catch-up the whole night until Prost’s bucket with 1:57 to go made it 42-40. But with 1:09 left, Corrine Rowe hit a foul shot and Alicyn Hester’s reeling putback put YHS ahead to stay three ticks later.

O’Herron and Prost missed three-point tries at the end.

“We missed a lot of easy shots on offense and capable of playing much better defense than we did tonight. It was a big game. We know what they do, they know what we do,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said.

Seed of success

Last week brought a bit of good news for Kaneland girls basketball.

But KHS coach Ernie Colombe stresses the “bit” part.

With the news handed down at the end of last week that Kaneland earned the number one seed in the approaching Yorkville Regional, Colombe acknowledges the hard work put into the season and the program as a whole by the girls, but says the group can’t be satisfied.

“I’m happy for the kids, but we’re not settling. We’re spending time talking about the last few games of the regular season,” Colombe said.

For KHS girls hoops, this marks the first time that the girls have been the high seed in a regional group since 2006, when the 22-win juggernaut led by Lyndsie Long, Jessica Lund, and current Lady Knights assistant coach Kelsey Flanagan earned the four-seed in the sectional, only to be upset by an East Aurora squad on Feb. 14, 2006, 46-40.

“I’ve been happy with the progress we’re making. We took this on as a goal to build the program and win at all levels,” Colombe said.

With six years cemented on his KHS coaching tenure, Colombe believes it goes all the way from the top down, and earliest to current.

“It’s kind of interesting, because it’s girls like Emily Heimerdinger and Andie Strang that maybe didn’t get the wins, but set a tone with their hard work,” Colombe said.

With Kaneland set to face the winner of four-seed IMSA and five-seed Sandwich on Wednesday, Feb. 15, the groundwork is being laid even now.

“If we’re not playing, we’re scouting. Tom (Dillavan) and Kelsey are out scouting games and gathering as much information as possible,” Colombe said.

If KHS beats either IMSA or Sandwich, it’s a date with two-seed Yorkville or three-seed Rosary in the Yorkville Regional title match on Thursday, Feb. 16.

“Well, we have to get there first,” Colombe said. “We caught Yorkville on a bad night and it came when we were firing on all cylinders. Rosary plays a very tough schedule with Montini, St. Edward and Aurora Central Catholic. We have to take care of our own business and perform at a high level.”

Lady Knights roundball (14-8, 5-2) drops pair

Photo: Lady Knight Kelly Evers (34) gets to the ball before DeKalb’s Taylor White during Tuesday’s loss to DHS. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—While Kaneland girls basketball has reached regular season heights not seen in quite some time, sometimes plateaus are hit.

Such was the case this past week of competition for the Lady Knights, as they fell to host Geneseo in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference action by a 32-14 clip, and trekked to DeKalb, where they lost 46-31 on Tuesday.

The two-game slide brought KHS down to 14-8 (5-2 NIB-12).

With the minor slide, the Lady Knights failed to add on to a four-game win streak, which has now been accomplished twice in 2011-12—the first instance taking shape in Kaneland’s 4-0 start to the campaign.

With three games remaining in the regular season and two conference games left, Kaneland is two games back of DeKalb’s spotless conference record. The Lady Barbs are 19-4.

Tuesday’s final saw Allyson O’Herron lead the way with nine points. Kaneland was plagued by less-than-stellar shooting from the field, going just nine-for-29, although the Lady Knights did go 14-for-20 from the free throw line.

KHS was down 9-8 after one, while seeing the halftime deficit increase to 24-14. DeKalb enjoyed a 32-20 lead after three before the final eight minutes of play.

Sophomores improved to 16-5 with a 34-27 win over DeKalb, while the freshman finished 19-2 with a 37-24 win over Morris on Monday.

It pays to pin: Kaneland grapplers edge Batavia

Photo: Knight Esai Ponce tries to leverage Batavia’s Kamran Khamissi during Friday’s 31-30 mat win. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—A roller coaster of emotions set upon the Kaneland wrestling mat at the end of Friday evening’s clash between the Knights and Batavia.

But with the tiebreaker rule of most pins going the way of the black-and-white, Kaneland’s trajectory toward postseason fortune is on a straight line.

Despite Batavia getting a pin to end competition and tie matters at 30 apiece, the pin edge went to Kaneland, giving the Knights a 31-30 win.

The regular season ended on a high note and closed the dual meet mark for KHS at 11-12, an improvement over a year ago.

Coach Monty Jahns will take all the good news he can get, with Kaneland and Batavia always good for action.

“I’m looking for big things, and the kids are wrestling well. Our goal is to win, but we see Sycamore again in a week and other teams we’ve met, and they’re tough,” Jahns said.

Batavia went out to an early 24-4 lead before Kaneland scored 26 straight points.

The 106-pound match went Stephen Gust’s way via technical fall over Matt Patton. Teammate Connor Williams handled business in the 113-pound match by an 8-6 tally.

Esai Ponce won his 126-pound match over Kamran Khamissi in 3:10, but it could have easily gone Batavia’s way had Ponce not cleverly kept his balance.

“A lot of the times, it’s not just one move it comes down to,” Ponce said. “If one move doesn’t work, you have to keep going.”

Sonny Horn won the 132-pound match by 10-6 decision, and teammate Dan Goress won his 138-pound match by 9-4 clip.

Senior cornerstone Ben Kovalick won a major decision over Connor McKeehan 10-0 in the 220-pound match.

KHS now heads to the DeKalb individual regional on Saturday, Feb. 4. Teams accompanying Kaneland are Belvidere, Belvidere North, Burlington Central, DeKalb, Boylan Catholic of Rockford, Rockford East and Sycamore.

IMSA bests KHS bowling

AURORA—A chance to string together another late January win over rival IMSA was not to be for KHS bowling.

While the Lady Knights were able to take care of Geneva and IMSA in late-season matchups a year ago, the second half of the equation didn’t go Kaneland’s way in 2012, with the Lady Titans winning on Thursday by a final of 2,620-2,506.

With one more regular season lane tussle remaining, the Kaneland troops needed to beat host Lisle in a meet scheduled for Wednesday in order to match their win total from a year ago.

The loss brought KHS down to 2-14 through the first 16 meets of the season.

Encouraging for the DeKalb sectional on Saturday, Feb. 4: the Lady Knights’ last two cumulative totals of 2,506 and 2,596 (win over Geneva) have been the second and third highest totals of the season, thus far. The highest total occurred in an early season loss in Sterling on Nov. 29, 2011.

Boys conquer home floors of Rochelle, Geneseo


Photo: Marcel Neil takes the route less travelled during Friday’s 60-56 comeback win in the land of the Hubs. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Last year’s Northern Illinois Big XII Conference East division champions are playing at quite the competitive level.

That piece of aggravating news is not exactly, what future opponents wished to hear, and it’s what foes Rochelle and Geneseo experienced first-hand this weekend.

With a 60-56 comeback win in Rochelle on Friday, followed by a two-hour trip west on Interstate 88 and a 55-46 win in Geneseo, the Knights currently sit at 13-6 (4-2 NIB-12). Kaneland is now in the midst of a three-game win streak, and has won seven of its last 10 contests.

The past two years at this time, the Knights have been 11-8.

The last two contests between the Knights and Hubs featured an energized battle for conference supremacy in Ogle County in February 2011, and a 16-point comeback win on the Knights floor the month prior.

This time, it was Drew David leading the way for Kaneland against the Hubs with 17 points, followed by Marcel Neil with 13, Thomas Williams with 12 and Dan Miller with 10.

Rochelle went on top early with an 18-15 edge after one quarter, and increased the lead to 32-27 at halftime, before staking out a 43-37 lead after three.

With a 23-13 in the fourth, KHS emerged victorious.

The Knights were also helped by the foul line advantage, going 14-for-17 from the charity stripe. Rochelle was just 1-for-3.

At the home of the Maple Leafs, Kaneland once again found balanced scoring in the form of Tyler Heinle’s 13, Matt Limbrunner’s 10 and David’s 10.

Kaneland also benefited from five three-pointers—three from Heinle and two from David.

KHS went out to a 15-12 lead, and stifled the Maple Leafs on the way to a 27-19 lead at the break.

In the third, Kaneland extended its lead to 42-27 before Geneseo closed the gap somewhat.

“We are lucky to have a really balanced scoring attack,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “Not a single player on the team feels as if they need to ‘get theirs’ when it comes to scoring. Our players are very unselfish and truly put the team first. They have a knack of getting the ball to the hot hand and to the right person during those late-game situations.”

Underclass action this week featured Kaneland sophomores beating Geneseo 57-34 and Rochelle 73-53.

Kaneland freshman fell to Morris 39-26 in the “A” tussle and 38-34 in the “B” game.

The next varsity task is Sycamore coming to town on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Ottawa stops Kaneland on lanes

KANELAND—Not even snow and hazardous travel conditions from a week prior could delay the end result of Thursday’s Kaneland-Ottawa bowling matchup.

Finally making it out for the Northern Illinois Big XII crossover matchup, the Lady Knights (2-13) fell to their Pirate counterparts by a 2,854-2,596 margin.

For KHS, the high series were bowled by Angela Charhut at 476 and Christie Crews at 447. Meanwhile, top games were had by Charhut with 181 and 171, and Anne Salerno’s 166.

In JV happenings, the Kaneland girls lost 2,385-2,288.

Also occurring this past week was the second annual Northern Illinois Big XII Conference meet, hosted by Sterling High School.

Kaneland finished in 10th place with a pin total of 4,985 pins felled. Morris, with 6,528, took the conference crown, while DeKalb finished second at 6,385 and Sterling third at 6,380.

Crews had high game, while Amanda Strayve and Elissa Eckert had high series.

The varsity bowlers head to IMSA in Aurora on Thursday, Jan. 26, where they picked up a late season win a year ago.

Anne Salerno has emerged as a bright spot for the Lady Knights, tallying series total of
1,319 pins in Kaneland’s last three encounters.

KHS wrestlers take third at NIB-12

Gust, Goress secure conference bragging rights
STERLING—If looking for incremental improvements that could go a long way, look at this year’s Northern Illinois Big XII conference meeting.

The Knights finished fourth as a team in the inaugural meet a year ago. This year, behind steady performances from a handful of Knights, Kaneland finished third with 164 team points, just two ahead of DeKalb High School.

Sycamore was crowned NIB-12 champs with 222.5 points, followed by Yorkville at 220. Rounding out the top five was LaSalle-Peru at 117.

Kaneland can boast 103-pound rep Stephen Gust as a conference champ with a 4-0 win over DeKalb counterpart Jackson Montgomery. Gust got to the finals with a 5-1 effort over Rochelle’s TC Hager.

Joining Gust on the first-place perch was teammate Dan Goress, who took the 138-pound class with a 13-6 win over Dixon’s Zach Lehman. Goress entered the final after beating Sycamore’s Thomas Ernster 9-2.

Making it to the finals was KHS junior Esai Ponce, who pinned Tyler Hermann of LaSalle-Peru in one minute, 23 seconds before losing 14-7 to DeKalb’s Doug Johnson in the final.

Ben Kovalick made it to the 220-pound final by virtue of a pin with 13 seconds left over Ottawa’s Cyrano Rayfield, and dropped a 7-3 match to Sycamore’s Matt Copple to end the day.

The regular season concludes with a home matchup vs. old rival Batavia on Friday, Jan. 27.

Boys stifle Pirate attack in Saturday win

Tyler Heinle (32) (above) goes up high for a shot in the fourth quarter of Kaneland’s 59-40 home win against Ottawa on Saturday. Ready for a rebound are Thomas Williams (24) and Dan Miller (22). Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—KHS boys hoops posted a win on Saturday evening—a nice change from a hard loss the week prior to Morris.

With balanced scoring and home court advantage, the Knights took care of Northern Illinois Big XII West Division opponent Ottawa by a final of 59-40. The positive result raises Kaneland’s mark to 11-6 (3-2 NIB-12).

With Marcel Neil’s game-high 12 points and Tyler Heinle’s 10, Kaneland achieved its second-straight win over the Pirates, this after a 45-38 comeback win on Ottawa’s floor a year ago.

Kaneland led 11-7 after one and 25-22 at the halftime break. The margin increased to 42-33 and put the cinch on for the fourth quarter as the lead increased.

The Adam Wickness-coached sophomores also handled Ottawa with a 57-41 win, with Tyler Carlson supplying 18 points.

The sophomores are now 12-4.

In freshman action, the Knights took on Aurora Central Catholic on Thursday with the “A” side winning 34-30, and the “B” team falling 45-36.

Knight varsity hardcourt time continues on Friday, Jan. 28, in Rochelle—the site of last year’s conference clinching win.

Kaneland girls drill Bulldogs, Indians

Photo: Ernie Colombe gathers the troops during a timeout in the midst of Kaneland’s 41-27 win over Lemont on Tuesday. The Lady Knights are enjoying a 14-6 record through 20 games. Photo by Patti Wilk

Lady Knights secure first winning record since 05-06
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Looks like the KHS girls basketball crew can get used to this modified schedule.

Much like last week’s snowstorm forced the Lady Knights into an extra day of rest only to come back with a win in Morris, Kaneland’s scheduled contest on Friday was shelved and the action continued on Saturday afternoon vs. Streator.

KHS handed the crossover foe Bulldogs a 60-22 shellacking, and followed that win with a 41-27 win against visiting Lemont, and improved its record to 14-6, and 5-1 in the Northern Illinois Big XII.

With five games remaining in the 2011-12 regular season, the Lady Knights have eclipsed last year’s win total and clinched the program’s first winning record since 2005-06, and the first in coach Ernie Colombe’s six-season tenure.

On Saturday, the defense forced the visiting Lady Bulldogs into 40 turnovers and 27 percent shooting, while 23 steals supplanted the effort, as well. Allyson O’Herron and Brooke Harner led the squad with five each.

Despite shooting 21-of-61 from the field and 14-of-24 from the foul line, Kaneland was the recipient of a supremely balanced scoring attack. Alli Liss had a game-high 14 and Ashley Prost had 10 points and five boards.

Kaneland led 19-8 after a quarter of play and clamped down on the visitors once again to have a comfortable 34-11 lead at the half. The margin was upped to 46-17 after the third quarter.

Meanwhile, the sophomores (14-4) had an easy time against Streator with a 42-6 win. Sydney Strang had 15 points.

Freshmen girls beat Yorkville on Monday, 43-35, and handled DeKalb on Thursday, 33-19, to improve to 16-2 on the year.

On Tuesday, Prost contributed a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards.

Despite the Indians storming to a 7-0 lead, Kaneland closed to within 8-5 by the end of the quarter.

Kaneland’s 10 steals came in handy the rest of the contest, with plenty of breakaway opportunities and crisp passing producing success.

Down 13-11 in the second frame, Kaneland’s Marina Schaefer’s baseline jumper and Aly Harner’s three-pointer in the last 66 seconds gave Kaneland a 16-13 edge at the break.

In the third, Prost and Brooke Harner hit baskets to go up 27-15 with 1:48 to go, but Lemont closed to within 27-19 by the end of the half.

Cutting the lead to 29-23, Lemont had Kanreland reeling until a 9-0 run keyed by an Bradford pass to Prost made it 38-23 with 2:30 to go.

“We all just tried to put a lot of pressure on them,” Bradford said about the effort on both sides of the floor. “We wanted to force turnovers, and we were really getting into their guards’ heads.”

Ahead for the varsity group is a trip to Maple Leaf country to face Geneseo on Saturday, Jan. 28.

Kaneland wrestlers own Flott Invite

Photo: Senior Ben Kovalick goes for the win in his match on Friday. Kaneland emerged with a 38-36 dual win in NIB-12 action.
Photo by Patti Wilk

KHS surge highlighted by 1st place, plus win vs. Morris
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—A recent seasonal trend with Kaneland wrestling is an uphill climb at first, but once Kaneland gets tournaments under its belt and conference season hits the homestretch, things look better.

It’s no different this year.

A marquee Friday evening matchup against rival Morris yielded a close 38-36 win over the Redskins, while Saturday’s annual Margaret Flott Memorial Tournament showed a first-place effort for the Knights, their third in a row for the gathering.

The Knights have now eclipsed last year’s dual win total, and sit at 10-12, with the IHSA Class 2A Regional taking place in just over two weeks.

“To have seven wrestlers even get into the finals and having every one of them win says a lot about their drive and determination at this point in the season,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said.

Against the Redskins, Luke Kreiter earned a decision victory over Morris’ AJ Vota by a 9-7 clip.

Kaneland’s Esai Ponce stuck a pin in :57 over Brandon Walker. Teammate Dan Goress took the 138-pound matchup with a 21-6 technical fall.

In the 152-pound meeting, Knight Zach Russell pinned Kyle Abney in 3:03, and 170-pounder Austin Brummel won his matchup via 3:21 pinfall.

Ben Kovalick staked his claim to the 220-pound category with a 1:20 pin on Dalton Ness, while Zach Theis conquered John Guistat in 46 seconds for the heavyweight bragging rights.

The Flott Memorial Tournament, hosted by Kaneland, provided some home mat advantage in the form of seven first places and a 163-point total for the Knights, just four points better than Burlington Central. Addison Trail took third with 143 points in the 10-team clash.

Sonny Horn defeated Rochelle’s Josh Ankeny in overtime, 6-4, then beat Larkin’s Joshua Brooks in a 4:12 tech fall before beating BC’s Jordan Fillmore in a 16-4 major decision for the 132-pound crown.

Goress beat BC’s Andrew Brown in 1:44, beat Addison Trail’s Koani Smith in a technical fall outcome and beat Prairie Central’s Evan Bahler in an 8-3 meeting for the 138-pound nod.

Knight Steven Hlatko was declared champion of the 195-pound group after beating Rochelle’s Tyler Voegler, 5-1, and beating Ottawa’s Alex Fuentes, 7-2.

Kovalick shelved Ottawa’s Cyrano Rayfield in 1:48 and Rochelle’s Logan Sutton in a 4-2 final.

Theis beat Marian Central Catholic’s Scott Taylor in 4:59 and Devontate Joshua of Larkin with :14 left in regulation before handling Danny Robles of Addison Trail in 1:10 in finals action.

Connor Williams took the 113-pound mantle with a 3:32 fall over Larkin’s Tyler Vonnessen and a 13-8 win over Addison Trail’s Jake Plekavic.

Ponce took the 126-pound grouping by shutting out Rochelle’s Joe Goshko 5-0, and then outlasting Prairie Central’s Ben Traub, 6-2.

The ‘82 crew


On Friday, Kaneland High School honored the 1982 wrestling team before the varsity match against Morris. The team had a record of 16 wins and only 6 losses, with five of those losses being by eight points or less. Pictured are (L to R) Gary Baum, Kevin Callaghan, Coach Terry McCoy, Tom Medernach, Roger Stockl, Greg Stockl and Coach Joe Thorgesen. Not Pictured: Mike Castello, Pat Rink, Chuck Hare, Mike Krider, Don Flynn, Reagan Mack, Dan Vicars, Kent Goff, Tom Sauber, Joel Huggins, Jeff Apgar, Todd Michels, Mike Hooey and Coach Jim Butler. Photo by Patti Wilk

Rochelle tops Kaneland bowlers

Photo: Madi Bluml launches on the lane during Kaneland’s JV win over Rochelle on Tuesday. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—After a Thursday snowfall shelved Kaneland’s meeting in Ottawa, the Lady Knights took to the lanes on Saturday as part of the IMSA Invite, and on Tuesday when they hosted Rochelle.

Outscoring teams like Chicago outfit St. Ignatius, the Lady Knights (2-12) got some valuable time out on the lanes before heading into Tuesday’s home finale against Rochelle, where Kaneland was edged 2,590-2,452.

In IMSA, bowlers were grouped according to season average, and KHS was treated to a first place in division 7 by Angela Charhut, a second place by Amanda Strayve in division 6 and a first place for Seleana Isaacs in division 6.

Isaacs had high game for the day at 214 and high series in 508.

Taking on the Hubs for Senior Night, the Lady Knights took solace in a 458 series from Anne Salerno and a 448 series from Strayve.

High game was bowled by Salerno at 177.

Senior Isaacs thinks the overall game for the Lady Knights is improving, and felt no added pressure on her last home matchup.

“I tried not to let it mess me up and just tried to focus on the game,” Isaacs said. “I tried not to worry about it. I think we’re getting better throughout the year slowly, and aren’t losing by as much. We just want to be consistent with the regional coming up.”

Kaneland’s JV squad earned a 2,230-1,957 win over its Hub counterpart.

KHS was scheduled to travel to Ottawa on Thursday, Jan. 21, for a snow makeup date.

Lady Knights get kicks off Route 6

MORRIS, Ill.—Kaneland has shown no fear when it comes to the slate of games in the Northern Illinois Big XII conference, and that’s something other girls basketball outfits should be leery of.

The only element stopping the Lady Knights from more success this past week was snow, as the game against Streator scheduled for Thursday was shelved until Saturday, Jan. 21, at 1:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, KHS went down to Morris to face the Lady Redskins and came away with a 54-44 victory Tuesday, improving to 12-6 (5-1 Northern Illinois Big XII).

Kaneland is now just one win off last year’s season total.

Inside presence Ashley Prost had a game-high 20 points in the winning effort, while teammate Emma Bradford had 15.

KHS shot over 50 percent in the win, going 19-for-36, tempering the 15-for-28 night from the line.

The Lady Knights went up 13-4 after one quarter and emerged with a 31-14 halftime lead.

Morris caved the deficit slightly and trailed 40-24 after three before closing to within 10 in the final eight minutes, but Kaneland held on for the win.

In other levels of action, the sophomores fell to 13-4 with a 39-33 loss to Morris. Additionally, the KHS freshmen crew squashed Rochelle on Saturday by a final of 37-6, thanks to a balanced scoring output from 10 Lady Knights. Monday saw KHS beat Sycamore by a final of 37-23, thanks to 10 points from Katrina Paulick.

Besides the Streator makeup this weekend, KHS also hosts Sycamore on Friday, Jan. 23. The Lady Knights beat the Lady Spartans by four back on Dec. 9.

Boys hoops can’t find third win vs. Morris

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It’s tough to take three in a row against any opponent—much less in a competitive and tight Northern Illinois Big XII conference, and much less the Morris Redskins, who enjoy a stark homecourt advantage.

While Knights boys hoops blazed a comeback trail from a double-digit margin, too many possessions ended in turnovers and Morris took 46 trips to the foul line in a 67-58 setback.

The Knights fell to 10-6 with a 3-2 record in NIB-12 play.

Both teams were quite familiar with the charity stripe on Friday, with Morris converting 26-of-46 opportunities, and Kaneland making 21-of-28.

Morris’ Danny Friend scored 23 points to lead the home crew effort, while Kaneland was paced by the two-pronged 13-point output from Thomas Williams and Marcel Neil.

KHS coach Brian Johnson felt a flat start made things tough for his Knights.

“We needed to play with a greater energy level, and we needed to play defense with our feet instead of our hands,” Johnson said. “Tonight, Morris hit some nice shots and had a lot of and-1 putbacks, and when you have open shots, the shooter will make them.”

Making a point to spread the floor, Morris went out to a 17-7 lead in the first quarter before a basket by Neil with 29.5 seconds left closed the margin to 17-9 by the end of the first frame.

Three consecutive successful shots and a free throw gave Morris an 11-point lead in the second quarter, but the Knights used a three-point play from Williams and two free throws from Tyler Heinle to close to within 28-25 with 1:27 to go, but two more foul shots from Friend made the halftime margin 30-25.

Heinle made a couple of buckets, and John Pruett converted a shot to close within 43-42 with 36 seconds remaining in the third quarter before Morris increased the lead to 45-42 with eight minutes to play.

Two foul shots by Neil gave KHS a brief 46-45 lead with 7:07 to go. Three free throws sunk by Pruett and Williams sent the score to 50 each with 6:02 to play, but a Morris basket with 4:54 to go gave the Redskins a brief lead. Two Dan Miller free throws would tie the score at 52 with 4:26 to go, but Morris went on a tear, with a 12-4 run that ended with Kaneland’s last basket, a Miller shot with 49.1 to close within 64-58 before the final Morris points.

The varsity Knights host the Ottawa Pirates on Saturday, Jan. 21.

Mat warriors finish 14th at Sycamore

Photo: Kaneland’s Austin Brummel (170 lbs) gets the upper hand with his Pontiac opponent during his match at Sycamore’s 37th annual wrestling invitational on Saturday. Over 20 schools competed in the event. Brummel eventuallly got the pin and the win. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It’s tough to stand out at a wrestling invite, 22 teams deep.

For a select few KHS wrestlers, they were able to barrel through their fields for some noteworthy finishes at the 37th annual Sycamore Invite on Saturday.

KHS finished in 14th place with 327.5 team points, ahead of Pontiac by 22.

Minooka won the meet with 585 points, 22.5 ahead of Grant High School of Fox Lake.

Host school Sycamore finished sixth with 464 points, as the only other Northern Illinois Big XII representative.

In the 126-pound group, Esai Ponce made it to the championship final and finished second. 138-pounder Dan Goress finished third, and Ben Kovalick took second in the 220-pound field.

Other finishes included Connor Williams in 10th for 113 pounds, Luke Kreiter in 18th in the 120 group, and Sonny Horn in ninth for 132.

Austin Brummel served in the 170 bracket and finished 14th, but made short work of Pontiac’s Jesse Carter with a pin in under two minutes.

“It was good to get out there and win,” Brummel said. “It was intense and a tough match, and I just tried to move around as much as I could.”

Teammate Steven Hlatko took eighth in the 195 pairings, and heavyweight Zach Theis took sixth.

Ponce began his day with a 1:04 pin over Moline’s Tanner Woods, then won by 5-2 tally over Rock Island’s Chase Wiggins. In the semifinal, Ponce took a 10-5 win over Harlem’s Tanner Anthony before losing to Crystal Lake South’s Nick Gil by a score of 2-0.

Goress’ day began with a 5-2 win over Grant’s Devin Monroy, followed by a 7-5 win over Minooka’s Jake DeKlerk, After dropping an 18-3 technical fall to Mundelein’s Matt Ornoff, Goress rallied to beat McHenry’s Wade Lardy in the third-place clash by a 5-2 final.

Kovalick continued to provide a season-long example of how to get it done against varied competition, beginning his day with a 1:37 pin over Mundelein’s Jose Jimenez. Kovalick took a quarterfinal matchup with Crystal Lake South’s Mike Romanelli by virtue of a 3-2 clip.

Kovalick earned his last win of the meet with a 12-3 major decision over Nathan Gunn of Minooka, before succumbing to Grant’s Quinton Quarles by a 2-1 margin.

KHS emerges the victor over Yorkville, Rochelle

Photo: Brooke Harner (22) tries to control the ball in traffic on Friday, with teammates Marina Schaefer (33) and Ali Liss close by. Photo by Ben Draper

Girls’ wins take sting out of OT loss at BC
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—The girls basketball crew from Kaneland found what it liked in at Yorkville on Friday, and had what it liked, but lost it on Saturday.

A 20-point cruise was just the ticket over host Yorkville, 48-28, while a sizable halftime lead up in Burlington eventually slimmed up. An overtime and a late putback sent KHS packing with a 49-47 overtime loss. It was the second loss of that kind in three games, as the Lady Knights dropped a two-point result to Plainfield East on Dec. 30 in the finals of the Oswego East Wolves Winter Classic.

However, the Kaneland group still finds itself in good standing with an 11-6 record and a 4-1 Northern Illinois Big XII tally after a win in Rochelle on Tuesday, 38-30. That marked the first win on Rochelle’s home court in five years.

“Even though we didn’t have games go our way at the end recently, we’ve won a lot of close games earlier,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We just had to compose ourselves and play well at the end.”

Facing Rochelle, the Lady Knights were lifted by eight members in the scoring column, and led by Kelly Evers’ eight points.

The Lady Knights took advantage of accurate passing that usually found its targets in the forms of Evers, Ashley Prost and Emma Bradford.

“That just happens all the time in practice,” Evers said. “Not just with Emma, Ashley or I, but with the whole team. There’s open looks and magic happens.”

KHS went out to a 10-8 lead, and increased to the lead to 10 points in the second quarter, thanks to a down-low look by Evers and a bucket by Sarah Grams. Kaneland was ahead 22-12 at the break.

After ending the third frame up 30-20, the margin shrunk to 33-29 with three minutes to go.

A key steal by Ashley Castellanos stunted Rochelle’s game plan and Grams and Liss made it to the foul line for insurance free throws until game’s end.

Against Yorkville, Lady Knights basketball was paced by Prost’s 21 points, which included 12 in the first half. Prost also added a co-team-high six boards, matched by Evers.

KHS held the Lady Foxes to 11-for-48 from the field.

KHS went out to a slim 13-12 lead after the first eight minutes, and clamped on the pressure to go up 26-15 at the halftime break.

In the third quarter, Kaneland outscored YHS 14-5 to go up 40-20, setting the stage for the final result.

On Saturday afternoon at the home of the Lady Rockets, things looked to be going well for KHS as it went out to a 13-4 lead after one and maintained a 23-14 lead at the break.

BC closed within 34-29 after the third quarter before deadlocking KHS at 40 going into the extra frame.

With two seconds remaining in overtime, Burlington Central’s Camille De La Cruz put back a missed shot to give the hosts the close win.

KHS was 11-for-48 from the field on Saturday, and 15-for-23 from the charity stripe.

The loss for Kaneland was despite the best efforts of Evers, who scored 10 points and brought down 14 boards. Prost had a team-high 11 points.

Looming on the horizon for the varsity girls: a meeting with visiting Streator on Thursday, Jan. 12.

Kaneland rebounds from loss in Yorkville with win at Burlington

Photo: Matt Limbrunner (42) put up 10 points in the tough loss to Yorkville on Friday. Photo by Ben Draper

KANELAND—For now, the scales of the Kaneland-Burlington Central boys basketball rivalry tipped toward Kaneland.

KHS took care of the host Rockets on Saturday evening by a final of 65-46, serving as a nice contrast from the 56-51 loss to conference foe Yorkville on Friday evening.

The Knights now sit at 10-5 (3-1 Northern Illinois Big XII).

Facing the Rockets, the Knights were treated to 18 points from Marcel Neil, Drew David (15 points) and 12 from Matt Limbrunner.

Also helping the cause was a stellar 14-of-15 night from the foul line.

Despite being down 11-10 after one, Kaneland rallied to take a 30-25 lead at the halftime break.

KHS was ahead in the matter by a 44-34 margin before outgunning the Rockets 21-12 in the fourth quarter.

The Foxes sprinted out to a 25-7 lead after one quarter on Friday, but saw KHS compress the deficit to 37-28. Kaneland trailed 50-41 going into the final quarter.

The Knights were paced by 14 points from Tyler Heinle and 10 from Limbrunner and Thomas Williams.

In earlier action, the sophomores took care of their Yorkville rivals by a 43-41 score. The freshman “A” squad lost 39-28 to the Foxes, while the “B” team lost 45-29.

The Knights try to power their way through the season’s second half with a trip to Morris on Friday, Jan. 13.

The Knights have already taken two previous meetings with the Redskins, including two weeks ago at the Plano Christmas Classic.

Lady Knights rule lanes against Geneva

KANELAND—Geneva bowling is a relatively new program, but one thing is already familiar to the Lady Vikings.

Their fate when it comes to battling KHS.

Kaneland swept the season series, punctuated by the win on Monday at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb.

With a 2,439-2,324 win over Geneva, it took the sting out of earlier losses in Sycamore on Thursday, and Huntley on Jan. 4.

Lady Knights bowling sits at 2-11 in dual competition for the season, thus far.

Defending the lanes on Monday featured a 457 series by Seleana Isaacs and a 424 series by teammate Ellissa Eckert. Top games were bowled by Isaacs with 181 and Anne Salerno with 159.

The JV team also came away with a win by the count of 1,875-1,594.

Kaneland lost to its Spartan counterpart in a road meeting by a final of 3,092-2,447. Top series went to Isaacs at 439 and Christie Crews at 429. Top games were bowled by Crews at 172 and Isaacs at 166.

In JV action, the Lady Knights beat Sycamore, 2,401-2,123.

Last week against visiting Huntley, the Lady Knights fell 2,668-2,466, despite the best efforts of Crews with a 481 series and Salerno with a 458 series.

Ottawa provides the next challenge in the form of a Northern Illinois crossover battle in LaSalle County on Thursday, Jan. 12.

KHS finishes 3rd at Plano Christmas Classic

Photo: Marcel Neil (23) holds his own block party in the initial Plano Christmas Classic matchup against Morris last week, with teammate Thomas Williams (24) close by. For his efforts in the four games, Neil was named to the All-Tournament team for the third-place Knights. File Photo

PLANO, Ill.—If you want to improve yourself as the year ends to give yourself hope in the new year, Kaneland boys’ basketball had the right idea.

The Knights improved on last year’s sixth-place finish at the Plano Christmas Classic by finishing in third place, including a win over last year’s Classic champ.

When the final buzzer sounded on 2011 play, the Knights went 3-1 in the tourney. After a Dec. 27 win over Morris, the Knights beat Streator 53-47 on Dec. 28, lost to Yorkille 61-50, and edged 2010 champ Rockford Christian 45-41, with a late rally to cinch up a record of 9-4 (3-0 Northern Illinois Big XII).

Against conference crossover rival Streator, the Knights saw 16 points from Drew David, 12 from Marcel Neil and 11 from Tyler Heinle in the win. Additionally, the Knights were also beneficiaries of 31 trips to the line, of which the KHS crew had 21 conversions.

KHS had a 17-14 lead after one quarter and led 30-20 at the half. Streator closed to within 41-36 at the end of three before the Knights held firm.

Against the Foxes, Neil’s 14 points were tops, along with Thomas Williams’ 11 points.

Yorkville led 14-13 after one, but KHS rallied for a 27-25 halftime lead. The Foxes then took charge with a third quarter that ended with KHS down 42-36 before the final frame.

In the finale against the Royal Lions, the Knights were paced by Dan Miller’s 13 points and Williams’ 10.

KHS led 11-10 before falling behind 23-18 at the half. The Knights still trailed 33-29 after three before a 16-8 run closed the game in Kaneland’s favor.

With the holiday tournaments out of the way, the Knights prepare for Yorkville once again, in Kendall County on Friday, Jan. 6.

Top finishes at the Plano Christmas Classic
Championship:
Belvidere 61,
Yorkville 51

Third-place:
Kaneland 45,
Rockford Christian 41

Fifth-place:
Aurora Ch. 75,
Ottawa 45

Seventh-place:
Streator 59,
H-BR 55

Buzzer-beater batters Kaneland girls in Winter Classic Finale

Photo: Emma Bradford (32) finds herself in a sea of Mustangs during competition last week at the Oswego East Wolves Winter Classic. Kaneland lost three of four contests in the gathering. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
OSWEGO, Ill.—This year, more so than most, the Lady Knights play up to tough competition and rarely get blown out.

That doesn’t provide much solace after a tournament-ending loss like the one on Friday.

A last-second bank shot by Plainfield East in the third-place consolation game ended the Kaneland troops’ winning hopes in a 47-45 result.

Kaneland also lost a 37-34 matchup with East Aurora on Thursday, and came away with a 47-33 win over Plainfield North in Oswego East Wolves Winter Classic action. The Lady Knights finished up 1-3 in the 2011 grouping, and finished the year with a 9-5 record (2-1 Northern Illinois Big XII) before leaping into 2012.

West Chicago edged South Elgin by one point in the final.

Allyson O’Herron had a game-high 17 points vs. the Bengals, and the Lady Knights were 17-of-41 from the field.

After leading 24-19 at halftime, a scoring drought felled Kaneland. Plainfield East went on a 15-0 run by being aggressive in the paint. Down 10, Brooke Harner converted a three-point play to close to 34-27, and thus started a 13-0 run on Kaneland’s end, extending into the fourth quarter.

Things looked to be going the way of KHS when O’Herron hit a basket to go up 43-38 at the halfway mark of the quarter.

Two ensuing baskets by the Bengals made it 43-42 with 2:32 remaining. Kaneland’s final bucket came on a putback by Ashley Prost with 1:22 remaining. Faith Suggs converted a three-pointer with 60 seconds remaining to tie the game. With 12.6 seconds to go, Kaneland was whistled for a traveling violation, giving the ball back to Plainfield East. After inbounding the ball, Faith Suggs banked a shot off the glass just before the clock hit zero for the 47-45 final margin.

KHS coach Ernie Colombe feels he got a better look at his team, despite the downer ending.

“I think we’ve gotten better,” Colombe said. “We talked about not getting too caught up in going 1-3 in this tournament. It wasn’t our goal, obviously. We just talked about closing out games. We set something up, we just never really got into it.”

Against East Aurora, a two-for-13 day from the perimeter spelled bad things ahead for the Lady Knights, despite holding the Tomcats to 37 points. Harner and Prost led the way with eight points apiece. KHS was down 16-8 at the half and 28-20 after three before a mini-rally.

Against Plainfield North, Prost had a game-high 17 points, and the Lady Knights stormed out to a 28-12 halftime lead that held until the end.

Kaneland freshmen won the Plainfield East tournament by virtue of a 41-25 win over Plainfield South on Dec. 28.

KHS heads into 2012 competition with a trip to Yorkville on Friday, Jan. 6.

Lady Knights basketball is now 9-11 all-time at the holiday tournament at Oswego East High School.

Grapplers go 2-3 at storied Flavin Invite

DEKALB—Kaneland’s wrestling roster made its usual stop in a first-time locale as 2011 drew to a close.

On Thursday and Friday, the Knights visited DeKalb’s new grounds on Dresser Road for the Don Flavin Invite.

The Knights emerged with an eighth place finish after going 2-3 in the dual setup.

Naperville’s Neuqua Valley High School won the field, followed by Hononegah and Glenbard West. Host DeKalb finished in 11th place.

Kaneland defeated Dundee-Crown 56-21, and Pewaukee of Wisconsin by a final of 37-28. KHS then lost to Glenbard West, Bloomington and Naperville North in the next day of competition.

The Knights are now 9-12 in dual action this season.

Against Pewaukee, Stephen Gust (8-0), Connor Williams (9-1), Esai Ponce (10-1), Dan Goress (17-3) and Matt Price (3-1) emerged with wins, and the Knights took the lead for good on two forfeits.

In the matchup with Dundee-Crown, Kaneland saw a 6-0 win from Williams, a 3:06 pinfall from Ponce, a 5:01 pin by Sonny Horn, a :45 fall produced by Dan Goress, and a 16-4 win by Steven Hlatko.

In the loss against the Hilltoppers, Gust earned a 2-0 win, and Williams followed with a 3-1 victory. Ponce earned the last Knight win over Glenbard West by a 6-5 margin.

Ponce found another win over Bloomington, 4-0, while Goress stuck a 3:10 pinfall. 220-pounder Ben Kovalick gathered a 3:24 pin, and Gust won his bout, 5-0.

In the seventh-place matchup on Friday, the Huskies won the final match for the one-point win. Ponce, Horn and Goress earned wins by the full six minutes.

KHS heads to Rochelle on Thursday, Jan. 5, for its first meet of the year with Pleasant Valley High School of Iowa.

Bowlers squeezed on lanes by Lisle in 2012 opener

by Mike Slodki
DEKALB—It can take awhile before a bowling squad can get back into the swing of things after a layoff.

Kaneland High School bowling hopes it takes sooner rather than later.

Returning to action on Tuesday at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb, it was festive for the visiting Lisle crew in a 2,673-2,417 result. The Lady Knights fell to 1-9 on the year.

Kaneland was topped by Anne Salerno for the first time this season, with a 425 series, and Seleana Isaacs contributed with a 423 series.

Top games were bowled by Salerno at 153 and Christie Crews at 152.

“They were excited to come back,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “They looked tired, and I’m sure they are. During a break like that, they won’t have a regular schedule. I think they’re doing better with focusing on each frame. I think we’re going to see some improvement.”

The 2012 slate continues in Sycamore on Thursday, Jan. 5.

Lady Knights knocked to consolation side at Oswego E.

Photo: Brooke Harner (22) defends against a potent Metea Valley offense during the first round of the Oswego East Wolves Winter Classic Tuesday morning. Harner had four points and two steals, but the Lady Knights fell 62-46. Photo by Ben Draper

OSWEGO—It’s been a productive season thus far for your Kaneland Lady Knights hoops contingent. It’s been awhile since that label to a season could be touted. The Oswego East Wolves Winter Classic would serve as a good marker for how far KHS has grown this season.

Alas, thanks to new kid on the block Metea Valley, Kaneland will have to show what it has from the consolation side of the bracket.

Outside of a productive third quarter, Kaneland was held in check by second-seeded Metea Valley of Aurora in the opener of the seventh Oswego East Wolves Winter Classic on Tuesday, by a final of 62-46.

That meant Kaneland was set to battle Plainfield North at 9 a.m., on Wednesday

Kaneland’s record as 2011 winds down is 8-3 with a 2-1 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII conference action, and three more tournament clashes remaining.

A year ago, Kaneland began the tournament with wins over South Elgin and Addison Trail en route to a fourth-place finish at Oswego East—its best ever finish.

Against the Lady Wildcats, the Lady Knights were paced by Ashley Prost’s 14 points and Kelly Evers’ 10. KHS was forced to deal with a 19-for-43 day from the field and 14 turnovers.

Kaneland found itself down 18-10 after one quarter and 36-19 at the halftime break before getting a leg up on Metea Valley. KHS got to within five points before quarter number three ended with the Lady Knights down 46-39. Kaneland would be outscored 16-7 for the duration.

After Wednesday’s battle*, KHS will have Thursday against Aurora Christian or East Aurora and Friday in the consolation bracket in Kendall County, as well, completing their sixth trip to the Winter Classic.

*Update: The Lady Knights defeated Plainfield North 47-33 Wednesday morning. The results were not available at press time for the paper edition of the Elburn Herald.

KHS wrestlers go on Thursday tear in quad

Photo: Steve Gust, shown in action Dec. 15, provides a constant at the 106-pound clas for Knights wrestling. Gust came away with an 8-0 win over Richmond-Burton’s Grant Sutton during a successful quad for KHS on Thursday. File photo

KANELAND—What’s the best cure for a season that has given you the dual blues?

Go up against Woodstock, Richmond-Burton and Mundelein on your home mat and win convincingly.

On Thursday, the Knight grapplers swept the field with three big wins, and improved to 7-9 before the sizable gathering in DeKalb later this week.

KHS got the best of Woodstock 46-13, Richmond-Burton 39-22 and Mundelein 42-33 in the meeting.

Against the Silver Streaks of Woodstock, pinfalls were garnered in the 120-pound match by Luke Kreiter in three minutes, 15 seconds and in the 126-pound battle by Esai Ponce in 3:10. Additionally, Connor Williams won his 113-pound match by a 14-1 tally.

Against the R-B Rockets, the Knights saw their points add up by the work of Williams in a 1:42 pinfall, Zach Theis’ technical fall in 4:47, and an 8-0 shutout by Steve Gust in the 103-pound encounter.

In the nine-point win over Mundelein, the pinfalls went the way of 132-pound Sonny Horn in 3:52, 182-pounder Matt Price (1:51) and 220-pounder Ben Kovalick (:50). Ponce won his meeting by a 7-1 clip, and Dan Goress took a 6-2 win in the 138-pound meeting.

Ahead for the Knights is the usual Don Flavin Invite in DeKalb on Thursday, Dec. 29, and Friday, Dec. 30.

Re-gifting: Kaneland manages win over Morris in Plano tourney

Photo: Tyler Heinle (32) contemplates his next move for the third-seeded Knights during Monday’s 50-44 win over the Morris Redskins at the Plano Christmas Classic. Heinle scored 12 points against the Redskins. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—A team always likes to make a statement in its opening contest. Preferably, it’d be a positive statement.

At Kaneland High School’s boys basketball opener of the 49th annual Plano Christmas Classic, the Knights not only made a positive statement, but also earned their second straight victory over rival Morris on Tuesday by a 50-44 margin.

Kaneland, the third-seed, was due to play the Streator Bulldogs on Wednesday after Streator beat Burlington Central.

KHS was paced by Marcel Neil’s 13 points and Tyler Heinle’s 12.

The perimeter game was kind to Kaneland, with the first-half featuring a reliance on the bombs. The Knights had seven three-pointers on the day.

In the first quarter, Kaneland fell behind 13-12, but saw trifectas from Thomas Williams, Neil, Dan Miller and Heinle in the frame.

Yet another three by Williams gave KHS a 21-19 advantage with 2:34 left in the half.

After a foul shot by Neil and an ensuing basket, Kaneland led 24-19 with 47.1 left before Morris converted a three-point play to make it 24-22.

Kaneland saw its lead grow to as much as nine points in the third, thanks to a pair of foul shots by Heinle with 1:56 left. Drew David’s foul shot made it 36-30 before the buzzer sounded.

Morris got to within 38-36 with 4:35 to go, but a Matt Limbrunner baseline jumper with 4:13 remaining got the margin back to four. A David three and Limbrunner basket got the margin back to 45-39 with 1:38 to go. Heinle made five foul shots down the stretch to secure the win.

“Down the long run, this will make us better,” Heinle said. “They’re on video, we have their plays and know what their guards and big men do.”

KHS coach Brian Johnson was pleased at how the Knights recovered through some first-half troubles.

“I thought we made nice adjustments in the second half, and Limbrunner had some nice shots. He’s a good shooter and allowed us to open up the game a little bit,” Johnson said.

Kaneland’s goal of winning its second Plano Christmas Classic in three years is still intact, with the tournament ending on Friday, Dec. 30. Out of the 24 teams, nine are new entries: Aurora Christian, Belvidere, Burlington Central, Dixon, Indian Creek, Lisle, Indian Creek, Ottawa, Streator and Wilmington.

Knights take care of conference business

Photo: It’s not football season, but Drew David (11) makes a dive for a loose ball in the first quarter during Friday night’s 58-46 conference win over rival DeKalb. The win propelled the Knights to 6-3. Photo by Patti Wilk

Neil helps KHS boys defend turf vs. DeKalb
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With DeKalb coming in to Maple Park on Friday evening, Kaneland boys basketball would need players with a sense of the big stage.

That designation happened to belong to Marcel Neil on Friday, which segued to a winning effort, and also means encouraging things for Kaneland’s fortunes entering 2012.

With 28 points, Kaneland’s Neil helped Kaneland to a 58-46 win and to a 6-3 record (3-0 Northern Illinois Big XII).

Neil’s big night was a result of his smooth transition from the West Aurora program.

“It’s awesome, I love it here,” Neil said. “Everybody’s friendly and it was so easy to get into the flow of things.”

With DeKalb coming in, Neil found it was easy to do what he was best at.

“I was getting a lot of open shots, backdoor cuts and ball screens, and it was a lot easier because of my teammates,” Neil said.

The Knights burst out to a 24-12 lead on DeKalb (2-6) after one quarter of action, and saw the lead hold firm at 34-19 for the locker room trip.

DeKalb’s game solidified as they hit six of eight shot attempts, and seven of 10 in the third quarter.

Neil hit two baskets, including one down low, and Tyler Heinle jacked a three-pointer, but DeKalb closed the deficit to 41-34 before the end of the third frame.

With four consecutive successful shots, the Barbs tightened the deficit to 46-42 with 3:42 remaining. KHS rallied by getting buckets by Neil and Thomas Williams (10 points) to make it 50-42 with 2:16 remaining.

DeKalb could only manage a free throw and a three-point play for the remainder of the clash, while Heinle, Williams and Neil were flawless in eight foul shot attempts to close the game.

“It’s a conference rival, and they were going to make a comeback,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “It was going to be one of those dogfight games. DeKalb fights real hard.”

KHS also dealt with the absence of Trever Heinle, who went down with an injury after a lay-up attempt in the second quarter. Heinle is expected to return shortly to game action for the Knights.

Meanwhile, in sophomore action, DeKalb beat Kaneland 52-50 despite 12 points from Connor Fedderly.

KHS enjoys the holiday weekend before heading off to the Plano Christmas Classic, edition 49, beginning on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

This will be the third straight trip for the boys, who look to get to championship heights like they did in 2009.

Kaneland is scheduled to face either Morris or Sandwich on Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 10:30 a.m.

The top five seeds for the upcoming Plano Christmas Classic are:
1. Rockford Christian
2. Yorkville
3. Kaneland
4. Aurora Christian
5. Belvidere

Wrestlers grab two Saturday wins after losing to YHS

Photo: Dan Goress recovers from a precarious position during Thursday’s 39-26 dual loss to Yorkville High School in a Northern Illinois Big XII battle. Goress came away with a 16-5 major decision over the Foxes’ Brennan Sharp. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Against conference rival Yorkville, the Knights (4-9) lost 39-26 to the host school.

In a valiant effort, wins were garnered by personnel like Steven Hlatko at 185 points, in a 14-5 win. 126-pounder Esai Ponce nabbed a 1:11 pin. 220-pound rep Ben Kovalick earned a pin just :52 in his match. 132-pounder Sonny Horn took a 4-2 decision. In the 138-pound clash, Dan Goress won a 16-5 major decision.

106-pound weapon Steve Gust earned a 6-3 overtime win, and knew pressure was on him to perform for a Knights squad closing the points gap in each Northern Illinois Big XII meeting.

“He already had a stalling call, and then it went to overtime and double overtime and just kept wrestling and came out on top,” Gust said. “You just put stuff together and we’re getting better each week.”

On Saturday in Maple Park, the Knights took on Rock Island and lost 42-27, beat Larkin High School 58-18 and edged former conference rival Geneva 39-36.

Against the Rocks, Ponce won over Rock Island’s Chase Wiggins 6-0. Dan Goress won his 138-pound battle 7-2. 189-pounder Matt Price emerged with a 12-5 win.

Encouragingly enough, the heavier weights represented by Hlatko, Kovalick and 285-pounder Zach Theis all earned pinfalls.

The Knights took six forfeit wins over Elgin’s Larkin Royals squad in a 58-18 win, and supplanted that win with pinfalls by 113-pound Connor Williams (1:53), 120-pound Luke Kreiter (3:05) and Price (5:31).

In the win over Geneva, pins were secured by Gust (2:36), Williams (1:38), Ponce (3:51), 132-pound Sonny Horn (3:30), Goress (1:42) and Kovalick (1:24). Price went the distance in a 3-0 win, as well.

The Knights get a break before hitting the mat on Thursday, Dec. 29, and Friday, Dec. 30, as part of DeKalb’s Don Flavin Invite.

L-P Cavs cave in Kaneland bowling

KANELAND—Good news emerging from Monday’s bowling encounter between Kaneland and LaSalle-Peru was that the Lady Knights reached the Super Bowl faster than this year’s version of the Bears.

The bad news is that said venue in Peru, Ill., failed to provide friendly enough surroundings necessary for a KHS win.

With a tally of 2,715-2,343, the Lady Knights fell to 1-8 after the final recorded bowling battle of 2011.

Right before last year’s holiday break, KHS was also at the one-win mark.

L-P’s Morgan Brandner took control for the Lady Cavaliers, thanks to a 514 series.

Kaneland was paced by sophomore Christie Crews’ 459 series and senior Seleana Isaacs 417 series.

Top games were bowled by Crews at 171 and Amanda Strayve at 163.

On an encouraging note, the JV crew emerged with a 2,168-1,955 win. The top series was bowled by freshman Mandy Felella at 461.

Kaneland’s bowlers enjoy the winter R & R before hosting Lisle on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012, at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb.

Lady Knights win at Dixon in extra session

Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—Lady Knights basketball was so chock-full with exceptional performances on Saturday afternoon, they needed an overtime session to fit them all.

With clutch free throws, long-range game and an improvement on foul shots, the Lady Knights came away with a 61-55 overtime win at the home of the Duchesses.

With the win, the Lady Knights enjoy a holiday break with an 8-2 (2-1 NIB-12) record to give to themselves before tournament action marks the end of the calendar year.

Kaneland was 20-for-46 from the field, and was lead by Allyson O’Herron, who sunk a team-high 21 points thanks to a school record-tying seven three-pointers. Ashley Prost finished with 14 points and made two clutch shots in OT.

Sarah Grams had 12 points, and also hit the game-tying foul shots with 1.4 seconds remaining in regulation to knot the contest at 50.

The Lady Knights were also 13-for-19 from the charity stripe, helping to offset an attack lead by Dixon’s Brooke Bailey, who had a game-high 24 points.

KHS got out to an ideal start, leading Dixon 13-9, before seeing the deficit shrink to 25-24 at halftime.

Dixon took a 38-36 lead after three, setting the stage for the fourth and extra session.

Meanwhile, the sophomores took care of business against Dixon by a 47-28 clip. Caroline Heimerdinger had 14 points in the winning effort.

Ahead for KHS girls hoops lies the usual Oswego East Wolves Winter Classic, which begins on Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 10:30 a.m. against Metea Valley. The Lady Knights are scheduled to face either Andrew or Plainfield North on Wednesday, Dec. 28.

Girls basketball maintains early-season roll in Sycamore

Photo: Kelly Evers (34) dives for the ball on Sycamore’s court during Friday’s tight 40-36 Kaneland victory. Evers was tied for the team lead with eight rebounds. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—It was an important early-season battle in Sycamore between two squads that had gotten off to relatively hot starts in 2011-12.

With Kaneland and Sycamore girls basketball only having lost a combined three games heading into Friday night, the meeting would provide an early-season barometer to the progress made.

With a 40-36 comeback win in Spartan-land, the KHS barometer is still at a decent pressure.

Kaneland also hosted the Lady Barbs from DeKalb on Tuesday, only to fall in a 42-33 affair.

Still, Kaneland is still maintaining its best start since the 2005-06 season, at 7-2 (2-1 Northern Illinois Big XII).

Against the Lady Spartans, Ashley Prost led the way with 13 points and eight boards. Teammate Allyson O’Herron had eight points, including two key threes. Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza had a game-high 17 points. KHS was 15-for-44 from the field, and just 8-for-24 from the foul line.

Down 14-13 headed into the second half, Kaneland got off to a blazing start in quarter three. Prost had three buckets, and O’Herron and Emma Bradford hit Kaneland’s first five shot attempts, deadlocking the game at 24-24 with 4:54 remaining. O’Herron’s second-straight three off a steal gave KHS a 27-24 lead with 3:45 left. Brooke Harner’s two free throws and a Lauren Zick basket gave KHS its biggest lead at 31-24 with 46.7 left, and Sycamore hit two foul shots before the end of the frame to make it 31-26 at the buzzer.

Sycamore rallied once down seven, and tied the game in a 33-second span. The Lady Spartans took a 36-35 lead, but Lexee Guerra’s foul shot and an O’Herron basket gave KHS a two-point edge with 1:47 to go. Guerra hit two more free throws to cement the win.

“Offensively, we’re still a work in progress, and we’re still learning how to get the ball to people in the spots they want to get it,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “Tonight, we battled through some foul trouble, but we played tough D and moved the ball on offense.”

The sophomores lost to Sycamore 26-24.

On Tuesday, Prost paced the Lady Knights with 11 points, and Bradford added 10 in the losing cause. KHS was 13-for-34 from the field.

DeKalb led 15-12 after one frame, and 23-21 at the half before stifling the Lady Knights 33-23 after three.

In a 28-25 sophomore win, Caroline Heimerdinger had 11 points to help the Lady Knights improve to 6-1.

Meanwhile, the freshmen troops improved to 7-1 with a 36-10 victory over the host Lady Barbs. Katrina Paulick had 10 points.

KHS heads to Dixon on Saturday, Dec. 17, followed by a 10-day break leading up to the Oswego East Wolves Winter Classic beginning on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

Bowling gets first win of 2011-12

Photo: Kaneland’s Christie Crews has emerged as a strength on the bowling squad. Photo by Mary Herra

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—While it’s been slow goings at the beginning of this still-new season, the Kaneland bowling unit keeps knocking down pins, and knocked down enough to nab its first win of the season on Dec. 7, against visiting Geneva. Thursday saw Streator get the best of the Lady Knights, while Monday had IMSA take care of KHS, cementing the Lady Knights at 1-7 on the season. Tuesday had Morris beat visiting Kaneland in a conference affair.

Through the first eight matchups, a common theme is the emergence of varsity newcomer Christie Crews.

“She’s been the big surprise for us,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said.” She’s leading the team in average and another pleasant surprise is Amanda Strayve. They’ve turned in some consistently good scores for us.”

In the 2,222-2,144 win over the Lady Vikings, it was Crews’ 520 series and Strayve’s 473 series that put KHS in a winning position. Top games were had by Crews at 190 and 187, and Strayve’s 177.

Streator’s 2,776-2,357 win in DeKalb was despite the best efforts of Crews’ 469 series and Seleana Isaacs’ 401 series. Top games were bowled by Crews at 201 and Strayve at 161.

Facing the Lady Titans, the Lady Knights fell 2,192-2,128. Crews’ 454 and Isaacs’ 448 were top series, while Isaacs’ 175 and Crews’ 166 were the highest game totals for Kaneland.

Against Morris, the Lady Knights’ meeting at Echo Lanes with their counterparts went to the opposition, 2,929-2,323.

Isaacs bowled a 487 series, followed by Crews with 413. Isaacs and Crews had top games at 193 and 149, respectively.

“We need to get the kids to think of each frame individually,” McKnight said. “Do the best you can and not focus on what has happened.”

Ahead for the Lady Knights is the Lisle Invite on Saturday, Dec. 17, and a meeting with NIB-12 crossover opponent LaSalle-Peru on Monday, Dec. 19.