KANELAND—It hasn’t been an easy stretch for KHS girls hoops.
Kaneland girls basketball has had just one opportunity to play a game in Maple Park since Dec. 10, and had lost three in a row coming into Saturday afternoon’s contest in Ogle County against the host Lady Hubs of Rochelle.
Getting revenge for the six-point KHS win on Dec. 10, Rochelle was able to quiet the Lady Knights in a 65-55 affair, Kaneland’s first game in eight days.
“We have had players sick or missing with a school activity conflict at least once per week,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. We sent four players home from the Dixon Tourney with the flu. Throw in the weather and it has been tough to find a consistent rotation. We have had a lot less practice time due to the weather. It impacts conditioning and also impacts skill development.
“The good news is the players are working real hard to get better and are a fun group to be around each day.”
Kaneland is now 9-12, losers of four in a row, and 2-3 in the Northern Illinois Big XII landscape with eight regular season games left on the slate.
The Lady Knights were 20-of-55 from the field on the contest, and 5-of-10 from the free throw line. Amber Winquist-Bailey led the Lady Knights with 16, followed by Ally Van Bogaert’s 15 and Kelly Wallner’s 10. The perimeter game picked up with three three-pointers each from Winquist-Bailey and Van Bogaert.
Rochelle got out to an 11-8 lead after the first frame and was up 25-22 at the halftime break before extending the margin to 46-38 at the end of the third. The Lady Knights were outscored 19-17 in the fourth.
Kaneland’s Friday contest against visiting Sycamore was postponed to Friday, Feb. 14. On Friday, Jan. 31, the Lady Knights travel to Yorkville for conference play and the first meeting of the 2013-14 season between the two rosters.
Photo: Senior forward Brittany Kemp contests a Morris shot Jan. 9. Kemp had four points against the Lady Redskins, but came back with a team-high 11 points Monday at Plano. Photo by Marshall Farthing
Rockets’ wide-open style dooms Lady Knights in between Morris win, Plano loss
BURLINGTON, Ill.—Kaneland girls basketball was on the run often on Saturday at Burlington Central.
Usually, it was to rush back to either side of the floor or trying to deal with Burlington Central’s long-range game, led by Samantha Pryor’s 21 points and three three-pointers, and Shelby Holt’s three treys.
The long night ended with a 54-33 loss. Preceding that, the Lady Knights beat rival Morris on Thursday by a final of 57-45 in Maple Park, but dropped a 44-41 result on Monday to the team responsible for their 2013 regional ouster, host Plano.
Kaneland is now 9-10, with a 2-1 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII conference action.
Post presence Kelly Wallner led the KHS charge with 15 points against Burlington Central, but the next-closest Lady Knight output was Caroline Heimerdinger with six.
Two quick buckets for Wallner gave KHS an early 4-3 lead just 47 seconds into the contest, but BC found its footing and hit two threes and used a high shooting volume for a 17-6 lead at the end of one. Kaneland ended up missing its last five shooting opportunities of the quarter and were 2-of-6 from the line and just 6-of-16 from the charity stripe on the day.
BC made it through a 21-6 run into the second quarter before Heimerdinger and Wallner came up with buckets to close within 21-10 with 5:33 to go in the half. With baskets from Amber Winquist-Bailey and Wallner, the Lady Knights were able to close within 21-14 with 3:47 to go. The Lady Knights could get no further, and BC closed the half out on a 10-5 run.
The only field goal for the Lady Knights in the third was an Ally Van Bogaert hoop with 5:54 to go to close within 36-22, and BC lead 43-23 at the third-quarter buzzer. The Lady Rockets outscored Kaneland 11-8 in the fourth quarter to close it out.
“(BC) played good defense, obviously,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We took some shots that were a little rushed. It was a combination of those and being a little inexperienced, I think. Obviously, we played at their temp and that was from start to finish.”
In the win over the rival Lady Redskins, Wallner had 13 points and 11 rebounds, Van Bogaert had 13 points and Caroline Heimerdinger pitched in 10 in the winning cause. The Lady Knights went 17-of-50 from the field and went to the line 40 times, hitting 21 opportunities. KHS was up 16-9 after one and 29-11 after two quarters before solidifying a 37-23 lead after three frames.
In the loss against Plano, Brittany Kemp led the way with 11 points and Heimerdinger added nine herself. Kaneland stayed competitive along Route 34 and led 12-7 after one and 24-21 after the first half. Up 35-34 after three, the Lady Knights fell victim to an 0-for-18 cold streak and allowed Plano to emerge with the three-point edge. KHS was 13-of-51 from the field and 12-for-24 from the foul line.
On Friday, Jan. 17, the Lady Knights head to DeKalb to try and separate from the pack in NIB-12 action.
Photo: Sophomore Camri Conley looks to attack the basket against Pontiac on Friday. Photo by Marshall Farthing
KHS girls lose opener, recover in second game at Ottawa Holiday Tournament
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—The Lady Knights girls basketball team on Saturday found a little less holiday cheer than it hoped for.
The good news was on that very same evening, the Kaneland crew was able to recoup a little of what was lost.
KHS began Pool D play in the Ottawa Tournament on Friday with a 61-53 loss to Pontiac High School, and then recovered later that night against Northern Illinois Big XII Conference crossover foe Streator in 62-22 fashion.
Kaneland now sits at 5-5 (1-1 NIB-12) with two games remaining in the Ottawa setting.
A year ago, Kaneland found similar fortune in the tourney’s first evening, losing to Geneseo before beating Sandwich on the way to an eighth-place finish.
Other NIB-12 schools also participated on Friday, with Yorkville and Geneseo both beating Kankakee.
Against Pontiac, Kaneland was led by post presence Kelly Wallner, who gathered 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Teammate Amber Winquist-Bailey added 12 in the loss. KHS was 22-for-45 from the field.
The Lady Knights were down 17-8 after one quarter and 33-19 at the halftime break before closing to within 43-31 after three. In the fourth, Kaneland closed the deficit to seven, but could get no closer.
“Pontiac is a real strong team and we struggled with turnovers early and also struggled from the FT line. We fought back and played well in the second half but came up short,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said.
In the win over the West division Lady Bulldogs, Kaneland took advantage of 25 turnovers for the win. Leading 19-0 after the first eight minutes, the Lady Knights played to the halftime buzzer up 35-7. The lead was 50-15 before the final frame.
Leading the charge for Kaneland was Ally Van Bogaert’s 15 points in a game that saw 12 Lady Knights visit the scoring column. KHS was 28-of-60 from the field.
“In the Streator game, we came out focused on playing better defense and taking care of the ball. The girls did a great job, and we were able to get a big lead and get everyone some playing time, which is always good at this time of the year,” Colombe said.
Monday’s final two games, with a morning contest against Geneseo, had results unavailable for press. Kaneland was scheduled to end the tournament in the silver bracket, the second-place pool.
Action will pick up for KHS on Thursday, Dec. 26, in Dixon at the KSB Dixon Holiday Classic that goes through Saturday, Dec. 28. Kaneland’s first scheduled opponent is Stillman Valley, at noon, with a Friday, Dec. 27, contest against either Sterling or Freeport’s Aquin High School.
Photo: Sophomore Camri Conley attempts a free throw Friday night at Sycamore. Photo by Mary Paulson
Kaneland girls basketball drops conference outing
KANELAND—Lady Knights basketball is always up for a conference battle with rival Sycamore.
On Friday evening, however, the KHS attack was knocked down.
Using a high degree of back door passes and converting in the paint, the Lady Knights fell victim to host Sycamore in a Northern Illinois Big XII opener by the final of 50-37.
Kaneland is now 4-4 (1-1) after its first games in seven days, while also dropping a 50-46 decision to visiting Antioch on Saturday afternoon.
In the conference tipoff, Ally Van Bogaert led the Lady Knights with 10 points, with KHS just 14-of-44 from the field and 8-of-18 from the charity stripe. Sycamore’s Bailey Gilbert managed a game-high 23.
Kaneland never led against the host Lady Spartans, only tying it on its first basket by Brittany Kemp 1:43 into the game. A basket by Amber Winquist-Bailey with 3:11 to go closed within 9-7, but Sycamore used two free throws and a three from Gilbert to close the first quarter scoring at 14-7.
A basket and two foul shots from Sycamore completed a 9-1 run before a Kemp bucket and Winquist-Bailey hoop closed it within 18-12 with 5:12 remaining in the half.
Toward the end of the quarter, a Bailey Crimmins baseline shot closed the margin to 21-16 with 1:57 to play before two more Sycamore buckets ended the first half at 26-16.
In the third quarter, a Van Bogaert basket with 6:29 left, making it 28-20, was as close as the Lady Knights would get, with Sycamore riding its hot hands and closing the frame out with an 11-7 run.
Kaneland converted on four-of-six foul shots in the fourth but could only cut it to 43-33 with 5:28 to go, thanks to a Van Bogaert hoop. Sycamore saw its lead balloon to 15 with 4:45 to go at 48-33.
“(Sycamore’s) a good team and Bailey Gilbert’s a good player,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We tried to key on her, and she made shots. She had 23 tonight, and she didn’t miss much. We’ve been trying to work on our defense.”
In the weekend clash with the Sequoits, the Lady Knights saw a team-high 11 from Van Bogaert, and Kelly Wallner was one point away from a double double with nine points and 10 rebounds. KHS led matters 21-15 after one before Antioch rallied to tie the game at the half, 26 all. The visitors took a 35-34 lead after the third frame before icing the contest in the fourth.
On Tuesday against Rochelle, the Lady Knights defeated the visiting Hubs 44-38. KHS was paced by Wallner’s 10 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Van Bogaert supplied 11 rebounds and seven points, while Caroline Heimerdinger had seven points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Kaneland has a 10-day break before keying up for the Ottawa Holiday Tournament beginning on Friday, Dec. 20.
KANELAND—No first-place plaque would come their way, but the Lady Knights hoops talent would still make a fine showing.
After an initial win over Luther North two weekends ago to top things off, the Lady Knights would win two out of three contests to improve their mark to 3-2 for the season and 3-1 for the tourney.
On Nov. 26, Kaneland achieved its second straight rout with a 73-27 win over Elmwood Park, before losing to Nazareth Academy of LaGrange Park, Ill., on Nov. 27. The Lady Knights righted the victory ship by outlasting Wilmette, Ill. outpost Regina Dominican on Friday in double overtime.
“The IC Tournament gave us a chance to see where we need to improve,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We feel like we have some work to do defensively and also with our rebounding.”
Against Elmwood Park, KHS saw nice production from Ally Van Bogaert with 14 points and Kelly Wallner with 10 points herself. The outing had all 13 players get in the scoring column. KHS was 32-of-60 from the field, but 5-of-13 from the foul line.
Kaneland blazed out to a 29-18 lead after the first eight minutes of play, and kept EP to one point in the second quarter on the way to a 45-19 halftime edge. Kaneland outscored its foe 27-4 in the third to truly put the contest out of reach.
The Lady Knights would be tripped up by the Roadrunners of NA in a 57-40 outing, despite 17 from Van Bogaert, but the Kaneland charge would return in a tight match with RD to end the tourney and clinch second place, 45-37.
Senior backcourt presence Caroline Heimerdinger had 14 points to lead KHS, which went 15-of-44 from the field. Amber Winquist-Bailey had nine boards on the evening.
After being deadlocked at 17 all for halftime, KHS took a slim 23-20 lead before RD evened it up by the buzzer at 29 all. The score was tied at 36 at the end of the first overtime session before the Lady Knights ran away with the bout and outscored RD 9-1.
“We were happy that we finished off the double OT game with a ‘W.’ Regina is coming off a trip to the sectional finals last year and was a good test for us. It was nice to have this group get the opportunity to close out a game. We have a lot of players who are in key roles for the first time so that experience should pay off down the road,” Colombe said.
Friday, Dec. 6, has the Lady Knights venturing to Sycamore for the beginning of Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play.
Photo: Junior Taylor Eaves looks to shoot with sophomore Vanessa Gould playing defense during Friday’s practice. Photos by Patti Wilk
Kaneland girls feel they can replace successful leaders
KANELAND—Last February’s season-ending regional loss to Plano hurt in more ways than one for Kaneland girls basketball.
After falling behind in the Burlington Central semifinal, Kaneland almost administered the comeback to end all comebacks before a last-ditch three-point try missed. To come back so far only to fall short smarted, along with the fact it marked the end for six seniors responsible for so much success and a regional title the year prior.
However, with the calendar turning to 2013-14, eighth-year coach Ernie Colombe has confidence the returning players can gel with the varsity newcomers to make things happen along the lines of the last two regular seasons.
“A great group of kids, we miss them on and off the court,” Colombe said. “We feel pretty strong about this group. They had a really good summer, and we had some players step up. I think the big positive to having all those seniors leave, they had an impact on the kids who stayed.”
With eight returning to the varsity ranks, Colombe was still working on a rotation that optimizes success.
“We’re still figuring that out. We’ve got some players that have stepped up. We certainly have some players we think will be in that rotation. We’re trying to figure out a few spots,” Colombe said.
Key returning components for the Lady Knights, who finished 15-11 in 2012-13, include personnel like senior center Kelly Wallner, sophomore forward Vanessa Gould, senior forward Marina Schaefer, along with forwards Brittany Kemp and Ally Van Bogaert, who saw a handful of minutes. Returning members of the backcourt include senior Caroline Heimerdinger, Amber Winquist-Bailey and Katie Brinkman.
“Caroline really stepped up and had a great summer and is playing real well right now. She had a lot of minutes last year and finished off real strong. Amber might be the most improved player we’ve had. She’s shooting threes and beating people off the dribble. She’s really stepped up for us and Vanessa has extended her range a bit, and she does a lot of things real well. Marina has always had a role with us and her role will be a bit bigger this year,” Colombe said.
In personnel like Wallner, Van Bogaert and Bailey Crimmins, Colombe has a pleasant problem of entering the season with bona fide height for the first time in ages.
“It’s nice to come into a season with a roster that has players with a ‘six’ (6 feet tall). We’ve got some size, and a couple of kids at 5-9, 5-10. One of our strengths hopefully will be rebounding, and we’ll able to do things we want to do on offense,” Colombe said.
Total newcomers to the KHS girls hoops varsity ranks include Crimmins in the frontcourt, along with sophomore guard Camri Conley, junior forward Taylor Eaves, junior guard Emily Grams and junior guard Rachel Miller.
A challenge for Kaneland will be how to supplant the sometimes-prolific scoring left behind by fearless shooters like Allyson O’Herron.
“I think honestly, we’re going to be scoring in different ways than we did last year. I think this group runs a little bit better. Collectively, we should be scoring more points in our fast break. Part of that is rebounding better,” Colombe said.
In terms of the Northern Illinois Big XII, Colombe eyes the landscape as a possible uphill challenge.
“Looking at what we’ve lost, we’re the only school in the conference not to return an all-conference player. Everyone has one. We think we’ve got players who have stepped up and can put us in the mix,” Colombe said.
Kaneland’s season begins on Thursday, Nov. 21, with a matchup vs. West Aurora. The Lady Knights then head to the IC Catholic Thanksgiving Tournament that begins on Saturday, Nov. 23, against Luther North. NIB-12 action commences on Friday, Dec. 6, at Sycamore.