Tag Archives: Ernie Colombe

Lady Knights take IC crown, drop to EA

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—If you asked Kaneland girls basketball its favorite activity during this opening juncture of the season, it might just offer an answer of collecting hardware.

With two more wins at the continuing Immaculate Conception Tournament against Lisle and the host, the Lady Knights took home their first tournament plaque since the heyday of Lyndsie Long, Jessica Lund and current assistant coach Kelsey Flanagan six years ago.

“We feel like this team still has a lot of room to improve, especially offensively,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “The key for us in the tournament was that defensively we played as a unit the entire tournament. We were able to create a ton of turnovers and wear down our opponents by continuing to pressure the ball with a deep rotation.”

The four-game win streak stopped on Tuesday night in East Aurora, with a 52-33 loss.

Regardless, Kaneland girls can boast of a 4-1 start.

Against the Lady Lions of Lisle, the Lady Knights held the opponent to 13 points in the first half en route to a 31-23 win.

Kaneland was 10-for-31 from the field, and 10-of-20 from the foul line. Post player Kelly Evers was tops with 10 points.

In the tourney final, a 12-10 halftime lead for Kaneland quickly turned into an 18-17 hole after three before exemplary defense and free throws down the stretch helped toward a win.

KHS had a 13-3 edge in successful foul shots. Ashley Prost had a team-high eight points followed by tourney MVP Evers’ seven and Brooke Harner’s seven.

East Aurora went out to a 26-11 lead on Tuesday, but saw Kaneland cut it to 30-22 in the third before the Lady Tomcats went up 42-25 after three.

Allyson O’Herron had a team-high 12 points for the Kaneland crew.

The Lady Knights kick off their NIB-12 season by hosting Morris on Friday, Dec. 2.

Depth, knowledge of system charges girls basketball in ‘11-’12

Photo: Lauren Zick (left) and teammate Ashley Castellanos are two new additions to varsity girls hoops that look to make an impact. Photo by Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Sixth-year coach Ernie Colombe has the table set for success when it comes to KHS girls basketball.

Now it just needs the mix of experience and youth to add something positive to the table.

Despite a first-round exit a year ago, KHS improved to 13-15, up from nine wins in 2009-10.

The lower class levels had an astounding combined record of 49-1.

Plus, the Lady Knights return four players that found key minutes a year ago.

Adding the new additions, the Lady Knights’ depth could be a strength, one that’s integral to any hope to improving a 3-7 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII conference play.

“We’re pretty excited and the kids have been working real hard,” Colombe said. “We have a roster of 14, and right now we have maybe 12 that can start. We have a lot of depth, and it brings new challenges. We’re just trying to find ways to utilitze everyone.”

The girls in the program have been playing the same type of basketball for three years now, making things easier on the coaching staff.

“We have the girls playing the same way now. In past years, what would take us a week of practice to learn now just takes us one day,” Colombe said.

Returning to the fold is senior center Kelly Evers.

“She averaged around 11 points last year. Last year, we had girls that would score a bunch in different games, and she was our go-to player for much of the season, and I think we see that happening again. What we’re seeing is the girls that haven’t played with her before are learning how to use a post player,” Colombe said.

Returning teammates of Evers are returning junior starter Emma Bradford, junior Lexee Guerra and sophomore Marina Schaefer.

“Lexee’s stepped up and become more vocal this year, and she’s part of the guards that are stepping up. Emma’s improved and is a player to watch. Marina has improved, and the biggest thing is that she’s playing with confidence,” Colombe said.

Making the leap to varsity from the vaunted sophomore squad of a year ago are girls like guards Sarah Grams, Aly Harner, Ali Liss, Lauren Zick and Ashley Castellanos.

Looking to score some minutes are junior Allyson O’Herron, already inserted into the starting lineup early on, along with fellow starter Ashley Prost at forward. Seeing time at the forward spot are Brooke Harner and Alex Lyons, while newcomer Liz Barnette plays at the post.

“We got a big group of new players that can contribute. Girls like Grams and Liss and Brooke Harner have played well in practice and Prost has played well at the ‘4’ spot,” Colombe said.

Colombe hesitates to provide a desired record for the upcoming campaign.

“I don’t set a benchmark of winning and losing, because I think that’s a byproduct of several things. What we can control is trying to start an identity. I’d like to see what we are defensively, first and foremost.

The Lady Knights began this past week at Immaculate Conception and have their first non-tourney game on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at East Aurora. The first NIB-12 game is Friday, Dec. 2, vs. Morris.

KHS girls basketball having fun all summer long

Photo: Lexee Guerra, shown here going for a layup in Rosemont, Ill., is one Lady Knight seeing quality minutes during summer league play. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Summer has been no time for play if you’re Kaneland High School girls basketball.

Coach Ernie Colombe and crew have been keeping busy with shootouts in Genoa-Kingston, Sterling, Morris, Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., and have one scheduled in Ottawa, Ill., this week.

The Lady Knights are also involved in a summer league housed by DeKalb High School, and last Thursday, participated in an exhibition contest against Plano at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., resulting in a win.

“We’ve played tough competition, and we’ve seen improvement. We’ve got the girls lifting and around 30-plus girls are with us right now. You want to see that kind of commitment,” Colombe said.

Colombe can speak from first-hand coaching experience on the benefits of summer league action. The team won eight of nine in a stretch last year, with the 30-game slate going a long way to an improved record in 2010-11.

“Kelly Evers is making her way back from injury; she’s our lone senior. The junior class is full of real competitiors,” Colombe said.

Stats and game scores generally aren’t kept for summer league action, but the summer-wide progress and trip to Rosemont are part of a larger picture.

“We definitely sold it to the girls as a unique opportunity, and they got to be on the floor when the Sky had their shootaround before their game,” Colombe said. “We hope the (sixth-season WNBA franchise Chicago) Sky keep doing something like this.”

The Lady Knights also dealt with a different environment.

“Like the boys when they would go to the United Center, the girls were faced with having their shooting be different. You normally have a wall by the basket, but at the Allstate Arena, you shoot toward seating.”

Colombe has the girls shooting it out all over the area, and thinks KHS has just scratched the surface.

“Evers and Ashley Prost are making their way back from injuries. We haven’t had a regular lineup since we started. Evers will be a force. Lexee Guerra has an improved shot. Emma Bradford could have a breakout year. Marina Schaefer, Ali Liss, Brooke Harner, Prost, Morgan Newhouse and Sarah Grams all play defense and play both ends, which is what we want,” Colombe said.

Oh, Kaneland!

Photo: Joe Camiliere shows what it’s all about after Saturday’s 11-3 State Championship-clinching win as he and teammate Bobby Thorson receive their Class 3A medals. The two seniors supplied offense and defense during the weekend, and Thorson picked up the win over Waterloo on Friday. A photo gallery can be found at the bottom of this page. Photo by Mike Slodki

KHS baseball wins 1st State championship with 11-3 win vs. Oak Forest
by Mike Slodki
JOLIET—In high school baseball postseason, only one team can follow through on its aim to run the table and win its last game.

For 2011, that team was your Class 3A State Champion Kaneland Knights.

With an 8-2 win over the Waterloo Bulldogs on Friday afternoon at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, Ill., the Knights earned the right to play Oak Forest and slayed the Bengals in an 11-3 result.

For KHS, this marks the first State Championship in a head-to-head sport since coach Joe Thorgesen’s second Class 3A Championship in a row back in 1998.

Kaneland (26-10) finished the season with a 13-game winning streak, on the heels of a slump that saw it lose six of seven contests to Yorkville, Sycamore, Oswego East and Morris. The Knights’ last loss of the season occured back on May 10 against the Redskins.

“We opened with Plainfield North and had a couple cancellations, faced Cary-Grove, faced Warren, and I told our guys we were going to take some lumps,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “We started 2-4, and it was going to prepare us for the end of the season.”

Winning pitcher Drew Peters helped keep the Bengals in check, combining with the defense to stop Oak Forest (27-8-1) on two occasions when they had two runners on base.

On the offensive end, the Knights got a two-out double from centerfielder Joe Camiliere, and he was driven home by third baseman Bobby Thorson for the first run of the contest on an RBI single.

It remained that way until the top of the fourth inning, when with two runners on and two outs, Oak Forest reaped the benefits of a ball to the outfield just out of the reach of Jake Razo for a 2-1 lead.

Powering through that pivotal moment, Kaneland got Camiliere on with a single, and the Elmhurst College-bound baserunner stole second. With two outs, a balk moved Camiliere to third, and DH Drew French walked to put runners at the corners. Razo’s single to left tied the game, and it was followed by second baseman Brian Dixon’s go-ahead single. As French beat the throw home, Dixon took second base.

The floodgates opened in a six-run fifth inning, which increased the lead to 9-2. RBIs in the inning were laced by Thorson, Sam Komel (2 RBI), Razo, Dixon and catcher Tyler Heinle.

“We did a good job at the plate today,” Camiliere said. “We got a run early, and that’s always big. Once we get in the rhythm of a game, that’s when the bats get going.”

The bottom of the sixth inning saw Razo come through again with a two-run double, which closed out the scoring for the season.

Kyle Davidson came on in relief for the last three innings, and allowed three straight singles with one out leading to a run.

However, Davidson induced Bengal shortstop Bobby Sheppard into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play. Davidson and catcher Heinle began the pileup on the field, and the celebration was on.

“We were happy to be here. We were a little worried on how we’d stack up against these teams with 30 wins,” Aversa said.

Camiliere believed all facets of the game played at peak level.

“We played our best game of the year today. Defensively, we gave up some hits, but the plays we needed to make, we made them. That double play was awesome at the end,” Camiliere said.

In the State semifinal against a Waterloo (32-4) team that featured Cubs ninth-round pick Garrett Schlecht, the Knights surrendered single runs in the second and third innings, but Thorson held firm the rest of the afternoon in a complete-game outing.

“My hands were dry today, and I was able to throw more breaking stuff,” Thorson said. “It wasn’t as hot, and I felt great out there.”

The fourth inning yielded huge returns with four runs. Thorson led off with a triple. After one out was recorded, French walked and Razo’s single made it a 2-1 game. Dixon tied the game with another single.

Heinle dropped a suicide squeeze but Waterloo made a bad throw to first to give KHS a 3-2 lead.

“I love bunting,” Heinle said. “It comes easy to me, and I got excited when the sign came for the suicide squeeze.”

Corey Landers smacked a grounder that went off a shortstop mitt to bring the fourth run of the inning home.

Four more runs came home in the sixth, thanks to RBI singles from Landers and Thorson, and a two-run single from Komel.

The KHS unit was also coached by Jim Smedley, Ernie Colombe, Dan Hallahan, Kevin Boltz and Norm Welker.

Team captains were departing seniors Davidson, French, Landers, Camiliere, Komel, Thorson and Dixon.

2011 Class 3A
Final Four
June 10-11, 2011

• Semifinals
Oak Forest 3
Nazareth Academy 1

Kaneland 8
Waterloo 2

• Third place
Nazareth Academy 1
Waterloo 6

• Championship
Oak Forest 3
Kaneland 11

Wish to relive the Knights’ quest?

Both State Final games are available for viewing at www.IHSA.tv.

DVD copies will also be available online for purchase at www.PrepFilms.com.

KHS vs. Waterloo

• Score-by-innings
R H E
Knights 000 404 0 8 11 1
Bulldogs 011 000 0 2 4 4

Starting Lineup—Knights
1. Davidson SS 6. French 3B
2. Landers LF 7. Razo RF
3. Camiliere CF 8. Dixon 2B
4. Thorson P 9. Ty. Heinle C
5. Komel 1B
Starting Lineup—Bulldogs
1. Aycock CF 6. Steppig LF
2. B. Dillenberger SS 7. Wittenauer 2B
3. Schlecht 1B 8. Snodgrass DH
4. Wetzler C 9. Schaab 3B
5. Hopkins RF 10. Crutchfield P

• Bottom of 2nd
Hopkins walked. Steppig grounded out
to 3b, SAC. Hopkins advanced to second. Wittenauer singled up the middle, RBI. Hopkins scored. Wittenauer stole second. Snodgrass flied out to cf. Schaab walked. Wittenauer out at third c to 3b, caught stealing. Kaneland 0, Waterloo 1.
• Bottom of 3rd
Aycock walked. B.Dillenberger reached on a fielder’s choice; Aycock out at second ss to 2b. B.Dillenberger stole second. Schlecht grounded out to 2b. B.Dillenberger advanced to third. Wetzler singled to left center, RBI. B.Dillenberger scored. Klein pinch ran for Wetzler. Hopkins grounded out to 2b. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.
Kaneland 0, Waterloo 2.
• Top of 4th
Thorson tripled to right center. Barry pinch ran for Thorson. Komel struck out. French walked. Razo singled to shortstop, RBI. French advanced to second; Barry scored. Dixon singled through the right side, RBI; Razo advanced to third; French scored. Ty.Heinle singled, bunt, RBI; Dixon advanced to second, advanced to third on a throwing error by p; Razo scored. B.Dillenberger to p. Wittenauer to ss. Snodgrass to 2b. Crutchfield. Davidson struck out looking. Landers reached on an error by ss. Ty.Heinle advanced to third. Dixon scored, unearned. Camiliere grounded out to ss. Kaneland 4, Waterloo 2.
• Top of 6th
Dixon grounded out to 2b. Ty.Heinle flied out to cf. Davidson doubled to right center. Landers singled up the middle, RBI; Davidson scored. Camiliere walked. Landers advanced to second. Thorson singled to right center, RBI; Camiliere advanced to third; Landers scored. Barry pinch ran for Thorson. Barry stole second. Komel singled to left center, 2 RBI; Barry scored. Camiliere scored. Komel advanced to second on a wild pitch. French flied out to rf.
Kaneland 8, Waterloo 2.

KHS vs. Oak Forest

• Score-by-innings
R H E
Bengals 000 200 1 3 10 2
Knights 100 262 0 11 13 0

Starting Lineup—Bengals
1. Zubek C 6. Jester 2B
2. Richard RF 7. Linares P
3. Barry LF 8. Hine DH
4. Sheppard SS 9. Sleeman 3B
5. Murray CF
Starting Lineup—Knights
1. Davidson SS 6. French DH
2. Landers LF 7. Razo RF
3. Camiliere CF 8. Dixon 2B
4. Thorson 3B 9. Ty. Heinle C
5. Komel 1B 10. Peters P

• Bottom of 1st
Davidson struck out looking. Landers grounded out to ss. Camiliere doubled down the rf line. Thorson singled up the middle, RBI; Camiliere scored. Komel struck out.
Oak Forest 0, Kaneland 1.
• Top of 4th
Sheppard singled to right center. Murray popped up to p. Jester hit by pitch. Sheppard advanced to second. Linares grounded out to p. Jester advanced to second; Sheppard advanced to third. Hine singled to right field, 2 RBI; Jester scored; Sheppard scored. Sleeman singled; Hine advanced to third. Zubek grounded out to p.
Oak Forest 2, Kaneland 1.
• Bottom of 4th
Camiliere singled to first base. Thorson struck out. Camiliere stole second. Komel struck out. Camiliere advanced to third on a balk. French walked. Razo singled, RBI. French advanced to second; Camiliere scored. Dixon singled down the lf line, advanced to second on the throw, RBI; Razo advanced to second, advanced to third on the throw; French scored. Ty.Heinle grounded out to ss.
Oak Forest 2, Kaneland 3.
• Bottom of 5th
Davidson struck out looking. Landers singled to center field. Camiliere singled to pitcher; Landers advanced to second. Thorson doubled down the rf line, RBI. Camiliere advanced to third. Landers scored. Komel singled, advanced to second on a throwing error by lf, 2 RBI; Thorson scored; Camiliere scored. Johnson to p for Linares. French flied out to rf. Razo doubled down the lf line, RBI; Komel scored. Dixon singled to right field, advanced to second on the throw, RBI. Razo scored. Ty.Heinle singled down the lf line, advanced to second on the throw, RBI; Dixon scored. Tattoni pinch ran for Ty.Heine. Davidson walked. Barry pinch ran for Davidson. Zale to p for Johnson. Barry advanced to second on a wild
pitch; Tattoni advanced to third on a wild pitch. Landers walked. Camiliere grounded out to 2b.
Oak Forest 2, Kaneland 9.
• Bottom of 6th
Thorson walked. Fergus pinch ran for Thorson. Komel flied out to rf. French walked; Fergus advanced to second. Fergus advanced to third on an error by c. Razo walked; French advanced to second. Dixon doubled to left center, 2 RBI. Razo advanced to third; French scored; Fergus scored. Jester to p. Blake to 2b for Zale. Ty.Heinle struck out looking. Davidson struck out.
Oak Forest 2, Kaneland 11.
•Top of 7th
Sleeman struck out. Zubek singled up the middle. Richard singled to center field. Zubek advanced to second. Barry singled to right center, RBI; Richard advanced to second; Zubek scored. Sheppard grounded into double play ss to 2b to 1b; Barry out on the play.
Oak Forest 3, Kaneland 11.

Photo gallery:

Girls basketball ride stopped by group of Warriors

Photo: Kaneland’s Emma Bradford shows maximum effort toward the hoop during the 30-27 loss to Wheaton Academy on Monday. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—The Lady Knights saw their regular season end on Thursday in Rochelle by a final of 61-52, and then with a 30-27 loss on Monday at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, Ill., saw their playoff quest come to an end.

With the 30-27 loss to Wheaton Academy in the St. Francis Regional, Kaneland’s season ended at 13-16, its best end mark since 2007. Wheaton Academy was set to face Montini Catholic on Wednesday at St. Francis High School as of press time.

But the opportunities seemed to be there for the taking. The problem was finishing those opportunities.

The Lady Knights, who also were eliminated by the Warriors four years ago, were just 10-for-50 from the field, and six-for-25 from the charity stripe.

Notwithstanding, the Lady Knights were still leading the hotly contested game in the fourth quarter, and led as late as two minutes, one second left in regulation.

“We were right there,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We’ve been shooting like 63 percent on the season for free throws, and we come in and go (six-for-25), it just seemed like the whole team was tense on their shots today. First half, I just thought it’s the jitters and we’ll get over it.”

The Lady Knights’ largest lead in the game was just four points, but took the lead late on an Evers foul shot, 26-25, with 121 ticks left to play.

Wheaton Academy then proceeded to make four consecutive free throws to take a 29-26 lead with 1:27 left. Two attempts at three-pointers went unsuccessful, but Emma Bradford eventually hit the back end of two foul shot attempts with 16.8 seconds left to cut the lead to two.

When Allyson Witt (15 points) hit the first of two shots with 13.1 ticks left to make it 30-27, KHS set the final possession in motion with a chance to tie to no avail.

In the early outset of the contest, Andie Strang’s three-pointer and an Alderman bucket gave Kaneland an early 8-4 lead before Wheaton Academy tied it at 8 before the end of the quarter. Bradford’s offensive putback with 2:49 left in the half gave KHS a 14-13 lead. However, Bradford’s shot would be the only one made out of 21 attempts from the second to third frames. Alderman’s basket with 2:30 left in the third broke the drought and brought KHS to within 17-16. A Strang foul shot tied the score before the end of the third at 19-all. The largest lead for the Lady Knights was 25-21 with 4:43 left, thanks to an Evers free throw.

Against Rochelle, KHS was paced by Kelly Evers’ 15 points and 10 from Emily Heimerdinger.

The sophomores concluded a remarkable campaign with a 48-43 win at Rochelle to finish at 25-1 and 10-0 in NIB-12 play. A balanced attack was led by Sarah Grams’ 10 points.

With the conclusion of the 2010-11 season, the best for KHS girls basketball in five years, the Kaneland program bids adieu to seniors Andie Strang, Kris Bowen, Emily Heimerdinger, Nicki Ott and Trinae Coachman.

“They were outstanding. A lot of kids wouldn’t have put the time in after winning five games a year ago. They not only put time in but they got better and made sure our younger kids did, as well,” Colombe said.

Lady Knights finishing regular season strong

Photo: Marina Schaefer is seeing valuable minutes, as a freshman, for an improving Kaneland girls basketball squad that beat Yorkville and Marengo in road excursions this week. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Monday featured a textbook case of learning from your mistakes.

After dropping a home matchup with Yorkville back on Jan. 7, the Lady Knights hoops unit traveled along Game Farm Road and secured a hard-fought 45-39 victory.

The Lady Knights then followed that up with a double-overtime victory at Marengo on Tuesday night, 63-56.

With the victory (rescheduled from Friday) and the decision over the Lady Indians, the Lady Knights improved to 13-14 (3-6 Northern Illinois Big XII Conference).

Kaneland went 13-for-35 from the field and a clutch 15-for-19 from the free throw line.

Emily Heimerdinger had 12 points and four steals in the winning effort, while post weapon Kelly Evers contributed 12 points and five boards.

Andie Strang had 10 points, including two key three-pointers, and five boards.

“I think the third quarter helped a lot,” Strang said. “I felt like we had really good effort all the way through, and we kept focus the whole time.”

Baskets by Evers, Heimerdinger and Strang produced an 11-6 lead for KHS after one quarter of play.

A second-quarter struggle ensued as points were at a premium. Evers landed the only shot from the field for KHS, and two foul shots by Strang increased the lead to 15-6 with 4:40 remaining in the half, before the Lady Foxes closed to within 15-12 going into the locker room.

Yorkville powered back to take an 18-17 lead with 4:02 to go, but Strang’s perimeter prowess yielded a trey for a 20-18 lead with 3:34 remaining. Strang’s second three-pointer with 1:26 to go gave KHS a 27-22 lead. Yorkville returned with a three-pointer 26 seconds later, before Trinae Coachman’s basket made it 29-25 with 38.1 left. A long two-point shot closed the game to 29-27 before the third-quarter buzzer.

Yorkville eventually fought back to tie matters at 31-31 with 5:20 remaining in regulation. Kaneland would take the lead for good when Emma Bradford made the second of two shots from the line for a 32-31 lead with 5:03 left. Heimerdinger, Tesa Alderman, Evers and Bradford would all connect on baskets from the charity stripe, and coupled with an Alderman trifecta, saw the lead balloon to 10 points with under a minute to go.

“Rebounding and defense really came through tonight (22 for Kaneland),” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We shot the ball well in the fourth quarter from the free throw line. Overall, there’s a lot of bright spots. There’s a few things we’ve got to work on with a couple games to go here.”

Against host Marengo, Kaneland saw 17 points from Nicki Ott and 12 from Evers. Evers also gathered 12 boards.

Kaneland trailed 29-25 at halftime before, and 39-35 after three frames before tying the game at 50 by regulation’s end. After the first OT ended at 52-all, KHS pulled away with an 11-6 second overtime.

In sophomore action throughout the week, Kaneland (23-1) needed double overtime to bump Yorkville, 39-34, and the freshmen vanquished Ottawa on Monday by a 37-31 margin and improved to 22-0.

Kaneland has a lone regular-season contest remaining: a road trip to Rochelle on Thursday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m., before heading to the IHSA Class 3A regional at St. Francis High School in Wheaton. The Lady Knights are set to battle Wheaton Academy on Monday, Feb. 14, at 7:30 p.m. As of press time, the Warriors are 9-15.

Lady Knights take 4th at Oswego East

Photo: Nicki Ott, shown here in action in November, was key in helping the Lady Knights nab their best-ever finish at the Oswego East Holiday Tournament. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
OSWEGO—It wasn’t the ideal end, but Kaneland girls hoops earned its best finish ever at the Oswego East Holiday Classic.

While a third-round contest against the Andrew Thunderbolts wasn’t pretty on Dec. 29, the Lady Knights (8-9, 1-2 NIB-12) were assured at least a fourth-place nod in the Winter Classic Tournament at Oswego East High School. KHS fell to Downers Grove South on Thursday, 36-22.

Andrew played West Chicago on Thursday night for the championship and won the tournament final, 66-53.

In the 50-30 loss to Andrew, Kaneland was outscored 14-1 in the first frame and fell behind 28-11 at halftime before trailing 47-20 after the third quarter.

KHS was 11-for-41 from the field and 7-for-12 from the foul line. Freshman Marina Schaefer led the charge with six points and six boards. Emily Heimerdinger had four steals.

Against DGS, the Lady Knights got a three-pointer and another bucket from Andie Strang, a basket from Kelly Evers (eight points) and a shot from Tesa Alderman to go up 9-0 with 2:26 remaining in the first quarter. DGS scored the last four points of the first quarter, followed by the Lady Knights missing their next 14 shot attempts extending into the third frame. Kaneland’s 14:26 scoreless drought, coupled with DHS completing a 20-0 run, sent KHS reeling.

The scoring famine finally ended with a three-point play from Nicki Ott halfway through the third to make it 20-12.

In the fourth, Ott’s bucket with 3:56 to go cut the difficult lead to 24-20, but KHS could get no closer.

Also noteworthy was Downers Grove South‘s having 26 attempts at the foul line, compared with two for KHS.

“That didn’t really help,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “It was a nice start for us, and it looked like we were ready to play. Then they went to man (defense), they did a good job and were physical.”

The Lady Knights’ all-time mark at the Oswego East tourney is now 8-8.

KHS now hosts Yorkville on Friday, Jan. 7.

Lady KNIGHT LIFE
• The Kaneland High School sophomore girls are 14-1.
• KHS recently captured the Riverside-Brookfield Holiday Tourney,
winning the final on Dec. 30, against Rich Central, 37-23. Paced by
Brooke Harner’s 10 points, and seven each from Ashley Prost and
Alli Liss, Kaneland enjoyed its fourth and final win of the holidays.

KHS girls hold off Sycamore, lose to Barbs

Photo: Lexee Guerra battles for possession during Kaneland’s 43-36 win on Friday evening in Sycamore. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Call it Rivalry Week.

The Lady Knights unit from Kaneland took to the court against familiar opponents in a new Northern Illinois Big XII setting, and split their two contests.

On Friday, KHS traveled to Sycamore and came away with a 43-36 win over the Spartans, while visiting DeKalb on Tuesday and falling 45-36.

With a 6-6 record and a 1-2 slate in NIB-12 action, the Lady Knights have already eclipsed their win total from the 2009-10 campaign in just 12 games.

Against their Spartan Trail foes, Kaneland was paced by post player Kelly Evers’ 10 points and Tesa Alderman’s nine points. KHS pulled down 32 boards, helped out by nine each from Evers and Nicki Ott. KHS was 15-for-57 from the field and 11-for-18 from the foul line.

Ashley Berlinski led Sycamore with 16 points.

A 9-8 lead at the end of the first frame grew to a 21-16 lead at the break before Sycamore closed within 31-28 after three.

With the score at 40-34, Andie Strang made three of four foul shots to ice matters.

The sophomores handled Sycamore in a 49-18 affair.

Against the Lady Barbs, Kaneland was 11-for-30 from the field and 12-for-20 from the charity stripe. Alderman was leading scorer with nine points, and also added four steals.

It was anything but smooth sailing for the Lady Knights, trailing from wire to wire and falling behind 17-5 at the end of the first eight minutes to a Lady Barbs outfit that has won 10 of its first 11.

DeKalb missed its first 10 shots and missed three foul shots, but continued its aggressive and physical play. Lexee Guerra layed a bucket in, followed shortly by an Alderman three to cut it to 17-10 with 5:25 left. DeKalb went on a 5-0 run to lead 24-10 at the break.

Things started picking up for the Lady Knights, as an Ott jumper from the top of the key, a basket by Evers and two free throws by Guerra closed Kaneland to within 29-22 before a Taylor White three-point attempt from beyond the half-court line went in at the buzzer, putting DHS up by 10.

“That didn’t help, that’s kind of how the game was going, but what can you do about that shot,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said.

The Lady Knights managed to cut it to 37-28 on an Emma Bradford basket with 4:38 to to, but the margin shrunk no further.

“We can’t struggle like that on offense in the first half. The other big thing (in the first half) was with three and a half minutes left we had them at six fouls, and we needed to get to the free throw line and stop the clock and we never got the seventh foul,” Colombe said.

The sophomore crew improved to 7-0 with a 40-23 win.

Kaneland’s next challenge is a NIB-12 crossover with the visiting Dixon Duchesses on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m.

Lady Knights hoops match last season’s win total

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Don’t look now, but the varsity Lady Knights basketball squad is showing measurable improvement from last year, with much of the same crew.

After a productive 3-2 showing at the Immaculate Conception Thanksgiving Tournament in Elmhurst, the Lady Knights have already matched their win total from a year ago at 5-4.

The busy Turkey Week festivities included a 69-31 blowout of Luther North on Nov. 23, followed by a 57-46 win over Elmwood Park on Nov. 24 . Kaneland was then edged by host IC in a 46-41 Friday affair. The gathering’s final matchup featured a 61-28 win over Plainfield South on Saturday afternoon.

On Tuesday night, Kaneland fell in a 53-48 skirmish to visiting East Aurora.

Against Chicago’s Luther North, Kaneland was up 20-3 after one quarter and 37-16 at the half before launching into a 53-25 lead after three.

KHS was 30-for-76 from the field, led by Nicki Ott, Kelly Evers and Tesa Alderman—all with 12 points.

Against former Suburban Prairie Conference mate Elmwood Park, Kaneland found itself trailing at halftime, 23-19, before taking a 40-35 lead after three and then extending the lead in the fourth.

The 38-point second-half effort was fueled by Kelly Evers’ 19-point, 15-rebound game. Ott had 10 points to complement the attack. KHS was 20-for-62 from the field and 14-for-24 from the foul line.

Against the IC opponents, also the Knights, Kaneland used crisp passes and aggressiveness to get opportunities in the field and at the line. Free throws by Emily Heimerdinger and Marina Schafer propelled KHS to a 10-9 lead after one frame.

Baskets by Alderman and Ott gave the Lady Knights a 19-11 lead with 5:31 left in the second quarter, but IC came back to score 10 straight. Ott then hit two free throws, and after IC hit two foul shots of their own with just under a minute left, Ott scored again with 16.7 left to go into the break tied at 23.

The third quarter began hot for the Lady Knights thanks to an Andie Strang basket, and threes by McKinzie Mangers and Alderman. But with the lead at 31-23 with 2:21 left in the third, IC righted its ship and used three baskets to close within 31-30 at the end of the third.

An Emma Bradford foul shot with 3:51 left tied the game at 37 apiece, but Kaneland fell behind and watched the rival Knights hit eight of 13 foul shots to cement the win.

“They’re a good team and an experienced team, that’s varsity basketball. Leading by eight points in the third quarter is nothing, and the game’s not going to end that way. We made a few mistakes here and there but the girls are playing real hard,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said.

Smothering the PSHS Cougars was the key on Saturday, as the Lady Knights were paced by Evers’ 16 points and seven boards. Alderman had 13 points in the win.

Against the Lady Tomcats, Alderman had a team-high nine points, as the Lady Knights were 17-for-50 from the field.

The Lady Knights try to expand their good fortune when Northern Illinois Big XII play begins at Morris on Friday, Dec. 3.

Lady Knights (2-1) show grit in IMSA tourney

Photo: Knight Tesa Alderman converts on a steal and layup during Friday’s 46-37 triumph over host Aurora Christian during Hoop Happenings. Photo by Ben Draper

Thanksgiving Tournament Lady Knights at Immaculate Conception in Elmhurst on Friday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m.
by Mike Slodki
AURORA—Slow starts might not be ideal if you’re with Lady Knights basketball, they’ll live with it if it leaves room for mid-game rallies and competent fourth quarters.

Down 16-5 in the second quarter to host Aurora Christian on Friday night, the Lady Knights rallied to take the lead in the second quarter and cut down on mistakes in the second half to swipe a 46-37 result on Friday. At night three of the IMSA Hoop Happenings the next afternoon, Kaneland beat Earlville 62-34 to take the consolation championship.

The Lady Knights, under fifth-year coach Ernie Colombe, are 2-1 in the early outset of the season.

In the night two win over the Lady Eagles, Emily Heimerdinger had a game-high 17 points, followed by Tesa Alderman with six.

The Knights were 13-for-47 from the field and 19-for-29 from the free throw line.

Alderman, on the floor for stretches in which KHS was behind, rallying, and holding the lead, feels the formula for Friday’s win could be the way to go.

“Certain people got on fire and we worked as a team,” Alderman said. “Some of the drills we do in practice really help us in how to handle crunch time.”

After trailing 9-5 to AC at the end of the first frame, things got worse for Kaneland, as the Lady Eagles took their 16-5 lead with 3:17 to go in the half.

Heimerdinger hit two foul shots and a lay-up a minute later. Nicki Ott followed with a basket, and Heimerdinger hit two free throws to close within 16-13 with 1:23 remaining. After Alderman hit a free throw to close within two, Kelly Evers sunk both her foul shots to tie, and Alderman stole the ball and finished with a layup with 18.7 seconds to go to take a two-point lead. KHS eventually went into the break leading 18-17.

Up 26-24 in the third quarter, Lexie Guerra hit a layup, followed soon after by an Andie Strang shot to go up 30-25 with 1:48 to go in the frame. Heimerdinger hit a three-pointer with 1:04 left to go up 33-25, before AC scored the final five points of the quarter.

After an Emma Bradford putback with 7:08 to go in the game gave KHS a 35-30 lead, the Lady Eagles put two baskets and two foul shots together to go up 36-35 with 5:09 remaining.

Bradford then hit a shot to go ahead for good with 4:51 left, and Alderman hit a baseline jumper to go up 39-36 with 3:46 to play.

Heimerdinger, Strang and Alderman hit seven out of eight foul shot attempts to end the game up nine.

“The whole game you have to hit free throws, especially in the fourth quarter, and we took care of the ball. We didn’t turn it over too many times. There’s some stuff we want to clean up but we did a good job handling the ball,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said.

Facing Earlville in the consolation title game, Evers led the Lady Knights with 14 points while Cory Harrison had 12 points. Ott and Heimerdinger added eight points apiece.

Kaneland was 25-for-61 from the field and 12-for-23 from the charity stripe.

Kaneland stormed out to a 21-8 lead after one and was up 39-12 at the break before going up 52-23 after three.

Meanwhile, the sophomore crew has leapt out to a 2-0 start with a 36-35 Monday win over Geneva, led by Ashley Prost’s 11 points, and a 42-18 handling of Marengo. Prost led the balanced scoring column with nine points.

The Lady Knights try and improve on their early success with a matchup against Thanksgiving Tournament host Immaculate Conception in Elmhurst on Friday, Nov. 26, at 7 p.m.

Winter sports preview: Girls hoops rely on improved bunch

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—You wouldn’t know this was a team that went 5-23 a year ago.

With the loss of only one player to graduation from a year ago, 11 returnees and a summer league season that was nothing to sneeze at, an improved season is not too much to ask if you’re fifth-year coach Ernie Colombe.

“We’re pretty excited,” Colombe said about his team that banged up most of 2009-10. “We don’t know what will happen record-wise, but I do know we’re improved, and the girls have worked real hard dating back to the spring with some girls playing AAU, lifting, running and summer league.”

Captains will number five for the Lady Knights: seniors Kris Bowen, Trinae Coachman, Emily Heimerdinger, Nicki Ott and Andie Strang.

“We rely on those seniors to step up for the team in a lot of ways,” Colombe said.

Strang and Heimerdinger have seen the most minutes of the captains throughout their varsity career.

“Emily’s really stepped up and she’s a lot better than she was at the end of last year. She wants success in basketball after having success on the soccer field; she got a taste of that and wants it to carry over. We definitely missed Andie down the stretch last year. She was hitting shots and was great on defense for us.”

Returning at the junior level are guards Tesa Alderman, McKinzie Mangers and Katie Taylor, and center Kelly Evers, fresh from a standout summer campaign.

“Tesa has the natural ability, we think, to be a great player in our conference. We’re trying to get her focused on some smaller things and details that maybe go unnoticed during games,” Colombe said. “Nicki also had a good summer and improved her shot.”

Six-foot-two center Cori Flowers, a transfer from Aurora Christian, joins Evers in the post.

“Realistically, we have five or six girls that people might be surprised by when it comes to contributions, based on last year,” Colombe said.

Colombe is joined by Tom Dillivan, and new assistant Kelsey Flanagan, a 2006 grad from KHS who played at DePauw in Indiana and was part of successful teams in the last decade.

No rest for Lady Knights hoops

Colombe’s crew uses summer to its advantage
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With a tough exit for the Lady Knights basketball squad nearly five months ago, Kaneland isn’t worrying about what might have been.

Instead, through Summer League girls basketball action at the Vaughan Athletic Center in Aurora, KHS is active at improving its fortunes for the future.

On Tuesday, Kaneland beat Plainfield East by a final of 34-28, which improved its record to 8-1 on the summer season.

Kaneland has both varsity and JV play during the summer, with most games scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The nine-team league also features West Aurora, Plano, Sandwich, Aurora Christian, Hinckley-Big Rock, Oswego East and Rosary, along with Plainfield East.

KHS coach Ernie Colombe continues to work, and is pleased with the Lady Knights’ summer output.

“Emily Heimerdiner and Andie Strang led a balanced attack,” Colombe said. “We have been getting key contributions from several players.”

Colombe singled out Heimerdinger, Strang, Tesa Alderman and Nicki Ott as players leading the way offensively, and returnees Kris Bowen and Katie Taylor as sparkplugs defensively.

“Kelly Evers has really improved and has been progressing throughout the summer. She is leading our team in blocked shots and rebounding. Emma Bradford has also stepped up her game on both ends of the floor and is finishing well for us,” Colombe said.

Kaneland lost only one senior to graduation after 2009-10, that being Mallory Carlson.

The Lady Knights face Hinckley-Big Rock at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 1, for their next challenge.

Lady Knights eliminated by Rochelle in 3A opener

by Mike Slodki
There will be no repeating playoff opener success for Kaneland girls basketball in 2010.

Last year, the Lady Knights beat IMSA in an opening round duel in Maple Park before being eliminated by Hampshire.

This past Monday saw Kaneland be eliminated by the 3A regional host Lady Hubs of Rochelle by a 63-35 final.

The Lady Knights also lost at Sycamore on Friday, 62-52 and to Marengo 49-46 on Saturday, closing out regular season action.

Rochelle, the third-seeded outfit, was set to face (2) DeKalb on Wednesday, while (5) Sycamore, which upset (4) Burlington Central on Monday, was scheduled to meet the top-seeded Hampshire Lady Whip-purs in the other semifinal.

Rochelle improved to 18-10 (7-7 Western Sun Conference), and Kaneland finished its slate at 5-23 (0-14 WSC). Kaneland finished 8-18 a year ago.

Eleven different Lady Knights found the scoring column, led by Kelly Evers’ seven points.

Seventeen seconds into the game, Nicki Ott drained a shot for the first basket of the game until Rochelle senior Olivia Caron hit two quick three-pointers. Departing senior Mallory Carlson hit a shot with 4:33 to go in the frame to close within 9-4, but Rochelle scored seven in a row to close the quarter out.

The Lady Hubs then continued their 19-0 run into the second quarter until a Tesa Alderman basket with 2:43 to go in the half made it 28-6 and continued a 7-0 run by KHS.

Kaneland recovered somewhat from their 10-minute scoring drought and trailed 31-13 at the break.

Rochelle led by as much as 36 points with three minutes to go in the third. Evers’ basket with 53.8 seconds to go marked the final points of the season.

“We just didn’t play well, no excuses,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We had nothing to lose; they played well, we didn’t.”

Against the host Lady Spartans, the Lady Knights fell behind early in their last ever WSC game 17-6 after one quarter.

Kaneland righted its ship somewhat and outscored Sycamore in the second quarter by one point, going to halftime trailing 29-19.

The Lady Knights were behind 46-37 at the end of three before Sycamore outscored KHS 16-15 in the fourth.

Kaneland had three girls in double figures, led by Carlson with 13 points, followed by Kylie Siebert with 11 and Emily Heimerdinger with 10.

The Lady Knights were 15-for-25 from the foul line.

On Saturday against the visiting Lady Indians, Kaneland was led by Nicki Ott’s 14 points (4-for-4 FT) and Heimerdinger’s 10.

KHS was 19-for-62 from the field.

The two squads were deadlocked at 13 after one, with Marengo taking a 23-22 lead at the break.

KHS snuck ahead 34-32 at the end of the third quarter before Marengo’s Taylor Berman (19 points) hit three three-pointers and went 4-for-6 from the charity stripe in the fourth to key a 17-12 fourth quarter.

Other girls competition had Batavia beating the Kaneland freshmen “A” squad 33-31 on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The sophomores lost to Marengo 50-29 on Saturday, but beat Sycamore on Thursday, 32-21.

Lady Knights hang tough but lose to Barbs

by Mike Slodki
DEKALB—Kaneland girls basketball not only had to deal with the host DeKalb Lady Barbs and a vocal crowd, but also with the loss of guard Andie Strang before Friday’s contest.

Strang could be out for an undetermined length of time due to a stress fracture, according to Colombe.

That said, they hung in there and kept it competitive until the end in a 41-32 loss to DHS.

Kaneland dropped to 5-16 (0-10 Western Sun Conference). DeKalb improved to 15-7.

Emily Heimerdinger led the Lady Knights with 9 points. Kaneland was 14-for-28 from the field (50 percent).

“We did a much better job playing defense,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “I saw improvement across the board.”

“We’ve been struggling offensively and we need to see how we’re going to step up.”

After taking a brief 2-0 lead 23 seconds into the game thanks to Heimerdinger, the Lady Barbs poured it on and got three straight jumpers from Taylor White, including two three-pointers to make it 9-3 with 2:46 to go. Another trey by DeKalb with five seconds left made it 14-5 after one quarter.

Kaneland didn’t let the game get out of hand in the second frame and even cut it to 23-18 with :34 seconds left in the half thanks to Trinae Coachman’s putback and a Mallory Carlson shot. DeKalb came back with a three with 16 seconds remaining to make it 26-18 at halftime.

Kaneland held DeKalb to two field goals in the third quarter. Kelly Evers nailed a basket with 1:33 to go to cut it to 32-24.

The closest Kaneland came to slimming the margin in the fourth quarter was 39-30 with 2:12 remaining on a Carlson bucket.

The Lady Knights try to right the ship against Rochelle at KHS on Friday, Jan. 29.

Lady Knights fall to GS, Batavia in WSC meetings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mckinzie Mangers file photo

Girls hoops split pair of contests at Geneva, Oswego

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lady Knights victim of poor shooting against Yorkville

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three WSC foes get upper hand on Lady Knights hoops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lady Knights drop matchups with E. Aurora, Westmont

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rosary beats Lady Knights in hoops opener

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lady Knights look to steady core in 09-10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hampshire ends Lady Knights’ quest in regional semifinal

by Mike Slodki
With every silver lining, sometimes comes a cloud.

In the case of Kaneland girls basketball nabbing its first postseason win since the 2004-2005 campaign, the Lady Knights saw its campaign come to a halt with the very next contest.

The win came over Illinois Math & Science Academy on Monday during the IHSA Class 3A opening round game in a 57-34 affair, but lost to the No. 1-seeded Hampshire Lady Whip-purs on Tuesday, 60-42.

The Lady Knights also dropped a 51-37 matchup to host Sycamore on Friday night in the final regular season game.

Kaneland’s final mark of 2008-2009 is 8-19 (3-11 Western Sun Conference), a two-game dropoff from a year ago.

Kaneland’s playoff adversary was also the team’s first opponent back in Nov., with much the same result. The Whip-purs, who began the season ranked eighth in Class 3A, bested the Lady Knights 59-39 in the season opener.

“I can’t fault our effort or anything,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “The keys to the game were going to be limiting turnovers on offense and not giving up layups, and we did both. We didn’t get either accomplished and that’s how they hurt us the first game.”

Buckets by Alex Dumoulin and Christine Schumacher keyed a 9-0 run to start the game for Hampshire. Katie Hatch’s two free throws with 4:32 remaining closed to within 9-2 in the first before Hampshire went on an 8-2 tear to lead 17-4 with 1:43 to go. Hatch and the rising Mallory Carlson scored baskets as time ran out to set it at 17-8 after the first eight minutes.

High-percentage shots by Alyssa Galvan began the second quarter and closed to within 17-12 with just 34 seconds elapsed in the second, and a Brianna Hurst shot with 4:52 to go cut the lead to 21-15 before Hampshire went on a tear as Dumoulin and Heine hit baskets that highlighted an 8-0 ruin and a 29-15 lead with 1:32 to go. Hampshire led 31-18 going into the locker room.

A Schumacher three made it 38-20 with 6:01 to go, and the Whip-purs kept the press on while converting on opportunities down the floor for a 48-25 lead with 1:42 to go. Schumacher’s two foul shots with no time left in the third doubled the Lady Knights at 52-26.

Kaneland hit 7-of-8 foul shots and outscored Hampshire 16-8 in the final quarter, but it was too late. The final bucket of the season was by sophomore call-up Nikki Ott with 28.4 seconds to go.

The Lady Knights had one last hurrah in a playoff setting, and Carlson led the troops with 12 points, while Galvan added 10. Sara Rose had five steals to go along with eight points. Kaneland went 25-for-53 from the field and 5-for-7 from the foul line. IMSA’s Sapna Patel led the Titans with 12 points.

Rapid-fire baskets by Hatch, Andie Strang and Kelly Evers again gave Kaneland a quick 8-0 lead just two minutes in. KHS went out to a 14-0 lead at the 4:42 mark before IMSA finally got on the board, and the Lady Knights led 20-5 after one. Nine steals highlighted the first-quarter fireworks.

Kaneland continued the barrage in the second quarter thanks to eight points in a row by Carlson. The junior scored eight out of 10 in a stretch that turned into a 33-13 halftime lead.

Two shots by Mallory Huml gave the Lady Knights a 48-18 lead before IMSA closed to within 48-23 by the end of the quarter. CeCe Anderson’s shot with 1:11 to go in the game gave KHS the biggest lead of the game at 55-34.

In the WSC tussle against the Spartans, Hurst led the charge with 10 points, and the Lady Knights were 10-for-15 from the line. The game was deadlocked at 8-8 after one before Sycamore took a 22-17 lead at halftime. Sycamore continued the trend at 30-23 after the third before stifling Kaneland enough for the win.

With the conclusion of the campaign, the Lady Knights say goodbye to seven seniors, including four-year varsity member Hatch, the lone holdover from the Dennis Hansen era.

“We’re going to miss her on the court as well as off,” Colombe said. “The seniors were great kids and we’ll miss having them around.”

Hatch joins Hurst, Huml, injured senior Chassidy Mangers, Anderson, Rose and Galvan as Lady Knights who played their final contest.

“We all worked hard,” Hatch said. “We tried our best, even if things didn’t work out the way we wanted to tonight.”

Photo: Katie Hatch tries to get a shot in the fourth period of the Kaneland girl’s varsity game at Sycamore on Friday. Sycamore won the contest 51-37. Photo by John DiDonna

Lady Knights go 2-1, includes wins over Sycamore, Yorkville

by Mike Slodki
With the regular season down to its final contests, the Kaneland High School girls basketball roster is seeing more things come its way, like wins.

Despite a close 52-48 loss at Marengo on Tuesday, the Lady Knights defeated Sycamore at home on Saturday night by a 50-45 margin and also took out Yorkville on Friday in a 58-44 road win.

The Lady Knights have gone 3-2 in their last five contests and sit at 7-17 with a 3-10 record in Western Sun Conference play.

Against the Indians, Sara Rose led the Lady Knights with 11 points and four steals.

Kaneland led 12-9 after the first quarter and maintained a 22-21 lead at halftime. KHS increased its lead to 39-33 after three quarters before Marengo pulled out the win in the fourth.

Against Sycamore, Katie Hatch had a game-high 17 points and seven rebounds, as the Lady Knights went 20-for-31 from the foul liine.

Sycamore led the game 11-9 after one frame and 26-18 at halftime before running wild over the Spartans in the third to tie the score at 33. Kaneland outscored Sycamore 17-12 to clinch it in the fourth.

Kaneland used the foul line to key its win over the Foxes as it went 20-for-30 from the foul line. Alyssa Galvan led KHS with 13 points and Brianna Hurst had 10.

The Lady Knights used baskets by Megan Nauert, Hurst and Emily Heimerdinger to go up 14-10 in the first and led 14-12 at the buzzer.

Up 18-14 in the second, the Lady Knights used shots by Andie Strang and Mallory Huml, along with two foul shots from Rose to go up 24-14 with 2:19 to go in the half. Kaneland led 28-21 at the halftime horn.

A third-quarter Yorkville run closed it to 36-31 before KHS scored the final bucked of the quarter thanks to a Galvan basket.

Hurst hit two shots to increase the lead to 42-33 with 6:53 left. Hatch’s three-point play effectively put the game out of reach at 47-35 with 4:02 to go. The win satisfied KHS coach Ernie Colombe, despite 20 turnovers.

“I thought we did a lot of things well, but that was disappointing in a sense that we just worked on that in practice. Yorkville fought hard after they lost (Alyssa) Harbin, who’s arguably their best player (due to second-quarter injury). But we had pretty good effort and hit a lot of free throws,” Colombe said.

“It was good to get a win even if it wasn’t out best game,” Galvan said. “But we’re looking forward to (Saturday’s win) and this game was important.”

Kaneland’s passing led to a good start, one that keyed the rest of the game, according to Galvan.

“When they’re playing zone we know we can’t make one pass and a shot, so passing the ball around gets the defense tired and that was one of our goals,” Galvan said.

The Lady Knights visit Sycamore on Friday, Feb. 13 to finish the regular season.

Lady Knights dropped by Rochelle, pick up non-conference win

by Mike Slodki
Lady Knights basketball had some good times and bad on the court during the regular season’s final homestretch.

Kaneland dealt with a Lady Hubs team from Rochelle that had an outside shooting touch and fell 62-49 on Thursday night. Kaneland did manage a 52-43 win over East Aurora at home on Jan. 28.

The Lady Knights sit at 5-15 with a 1-10 record in the Western Sun Conference.

Alyssa Galvan had 20 points and 11 rebounds against Rochelle, with Brianna Hurst scoring nine and adding six rebounds. Sara Rose had eight points.

“Alyssa had a nice game for us,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “Our guards did a nice job of getting her some easy shots.”

For Rochelle, Natalie Meiners had 17 points and Olivia Caron added 13.

Kaneland was 17-for-47 from the field, and 15-for-20 from the foul line.

Down 12-7 to Rochelle, a returning Katie Hatch hit two free throws with 2:09 left to close within 12-9 before the Lady Hubs sunk two baskets and went up 16-9 after one quarter of play.

After a Hatch basket closed within 23-15 with 4:37 remaining in the first half, Rochelle went on a tear with four steals and the perimeter game and went on a 12-4 run to close the half at 35-19.

The third quarter tide turned toward Kaneland as they used stingier defense and a flurry of points from Galvan and Hurst. A 35-21 lead for Rochelle shrunk to 43-40 by the end of the third quarter.

Unfortunately, the Lady Hubs regained their composure and used two baskets sandwiched between two trips to the foul line to go up 57-45 with 4:12 to go and effectively seal the game.

“I thought we did a better job of containing Rochelle in the second half. The first half, you’d see a Rochelle player catch a pass, and we’d be moving on the catch instead of the pass,” Colombe said.

Against the Lady Tomcats, Hatch had a game-high 14 points and Rose added 12 points and four steals.

Down 6-0 to start the contest, Kaneland closed to within 12-8 after one and led 22-20 after the first half. The Lady Knights went up 37-29 after the third quarter and made 9 of 13 foul shots in the fourth to seal the deal. East Aurora coach William Anderson was tagged with two technical fouls in the frame to send Hurst to the line for four free throws.

In lower class action, the sophomores were defeated by Rochelle on Thursday 40-12, but beat East Aurora the previous night by a final of 28-7.

The Lady Knights also received their IHSA Class 3A Regional assignment this past week. In their own regional, Kaneland, the number-four seed, will battle Illinois Math & Science Academy on Monday, Feb. 16, at 7:30 p.m.

The winner will face number-one seed Hampshire on Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m. (2) Sycamore faces (3) Burlington Central in the Tuesday nightcap.

The regional title game is on Thursday, Feb. 19, at 7:30 p.m., with the winner going on to the Marengo Sectional.

Girls’ basketball continues to struggle in WSC play

by Mike Slodki

A strong Lady Knight run on Friday evening had host Glenbard South reeling.

But Glenbard South returned the favor and with greater authority in a 53-43 handling of KHS.

On Tuesday, Batavia handed the visiting Kaneland crew a 58-37 loss.

Kaneland’s mark fell to 4-14 with a 1-7 record in the Western Sun Conference.

Against the Lady Raiders, KHS stormed out to a 17-10 lead, but pressure and defense took its toll on the Lady Knights, which lead to a 27-24 halftime deficit. The third quarter saw GS pull away with a 45-35 lead.

Andie Strang, Sara Rose, Alyssa Galvan and Mallory Carlson each had seven points to pace the Lady Knights. Kaneland was 8-for-19 from the foul line.

“We made some easy baskets early,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “The girls were playing hard and we didn’t always make the right decisions with the ball out there, but I can’t fault the effort.”

Varsity tries to rebound against DeKalb on Friday, Jan. 23.

Photo: Junior Mallory Carlson elevates over a Glenbard South defender. Photo by Ben Draper

Lady Knights split pair of WSC contests

by Mike Slodki

With the Western Sun Conference schedule in full swing, KHS girls basketball was hoping that both conference contests could swing its way. Kaneland will have to be happy with a split.

The Lady Knights took care of visiting Yorkville on Saturday evening by a final of 37-26 for their first WSC win. Meanwhile on Tuesday, the Lady Knights were vanquished by visiting Geneva 65-26. KHS now sits at 4-9 (1-4 WSC).

Despite senior Katie Hatch going down with a leg injury in the first quarter against the Lady Foxes, KHS held firm and rebounded from a 7-6 first quarter deficit to take a 20-15 lead at the half. Kaneland led 25-19 after three.

Andie Strang had eight points. Kaneland was 13-for-47 from the field.

Against Geneva, Mallory Huml had a team-high five.

Five steals by Geneva keyed a bad start for KHS and they fell behind 14-0 just 4:14 into the contest, before Alyssa Galvan put back a miss for the Lady Knights’ first points. A Huml three-pointer with 18.8 seconds to go closed the deficit to 20-7 to end the first frame.

KHS, who takes on Batavia on Friday, Jan. 9, made a mini-run in the second to cut it to 28-15 before Lauren Wicinski found her way to the basket twice to lead 32-15 at halftime. Geneva then went on an 13-0 run to seal it.

“They’re a good team and they showed why they’re undefeated,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said about Geneva.

01/09/2009

Girls split first two contests at Oswego East Holiday Classic

by Mike Slodki

            Once they made it through the snow, Kaneland girls basketball down to business at the fourth annual Oswego East Holiday Classic.

            After forgoing the first scheduled meeting on Wednesday against Oak Park-River Forest to pay respects to their fallen classmates, the Lady Knights went in the consolation bracket on Saturday afternoon and took it to Plainfield East 60-14. Kaneland fell just short on Monday afternoon by a final of 40-38 against Plainfield North.

            Kaneland’s mark is now 2-8 with an 0-3 record in Western Sun Conference play.

            Ten different Kaneland players found the scoring column led by Brianna Hurst with 10. Kelly Evers and Andie Strang had eight each. Playing their first game since Dec. 8, the Lady Knights started the game against the first-year varsity Bengals right when Sara Rose corralled the opening tip and laid it in just seven second into the game.

            “Yeah, that kind of got us going at first tip,” Hurst said. “We felt we had a pretty good first half and everybody getting in the game will help us when we play some tougher teams in the second half.”

            Three steals, coupled with converting on their shots, allowed Kaneland to storm out to a 20-6 lead in the first quarter with 2:36 to go.The Lady Knights led 24-6 after one.

            Plainfield East just had one point in the second quarter, a free throw with 35.7 second left. Megan Nauert’s shot with 43.2 seconds in the half gave KHS its biggest lead of the game at 37-7.

            The Bengals’ shot to close the score to 46-9 with 2:17 left in the third was their first field goal in 18 minutes of play. Strang later hit another trey, and Evers’ offensive putback with 49.2 left gave KHS its biggest lead at 60-12.

            “We came out pretty fast and pushed the ball. It was nice to get some confidence today after two one-point losses in conference,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said.

            For the KHS team, it was also nice to just come out to the court.

            “It’s important for the girls to get back to a routine. It’s been a tough week for the whole community and we talked about how we could pay respects to Blake and Jeff and thats to compete hard every night,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe.

            Against Plainfield North, Kaneland went just 15-for-48 from the field, although inside presence Alyssa Galvan had 17 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Kaneland led 9-7 after one quarter and 18-17 at the half. Going into the final eight minutes up 35-33, Kaneland stopped producing and went just 1-for-8 from the field and 1-for-6 from the foul line (7-for-18 for the game).

            The Lady Knights were scheduled to conclude the Oswego East gathering on Tuesday before next suiting up against Yorkville on Satruday, Jan. 3, 2009.

Girls basketball drop one to GS; earn first win over St. Francis

Raiders hand girls loss in WSC opener

by Mike Slodki

            While it initially looked like Kaneland girls basketball had Glenbard South’s number on Tuesday night, it was the Raiders who deep-sixed the Lady Knights.

            A hot first quarter couldn’t carry over to the last three, and Kaneland lost its first Western Sun Conference affair by a 50-37 clip.

            In the final of last week’s Burlington Central’s tournament on Tuesday, Nov. 25, Kaneland got revenge on St. Francis 62-37. St. Francis solved Kaneland a year ago in the same setting.

            The Lady Knights are now 1-5 to begin the year and 0-1 in the conference.

            Chassidy Mangers had a team-high 11 points for the Lady Knights on Tuesday, and Alyssa Galvan had 10, but the Lady Knights had a sub par shooting night going 13-for-45 and just 10-for-20 from the foul line.

            “It just kind of snowballs,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “Four or five people start trying to do too much and we commit turnovers and start throwing long passes. Glenbard South is a good team and they’re well coached and they took advantage of it.”

            The Lady Knights roared out to a 15-10 lead at the end of the first quarter, but then committed a total of 19 turnovers in the middle two frames. Kaneland trailed 26-24 at halftime and 38-32 at the end of three.

            In the fourth, a baseline jumper by Mangers brought KHS within 41-34 with 4:56 left. Sara Rose hit a layup to close within 41-36 with 4:23 to go. A Katie Hatch foul shot with 3:39 to go made it 41-37 but Glenbard South upped the aggressiveness and made it to the foul line for six separate trips and put the game out of reach.

            Sara Rose had a productive 20-point night vs. St. Francis, while Katie Hatch added nine. Kaneland went 26-for-55 from the field, but 10-for-22 from the foul line. The Lady Knights also had 27 assists.

            The Lady Knights went up 10-8 after one and took advantage of a 17-3 second quarter to go up 27-11 at halftime. KHS was up 44-22 after three before the final eight minutes.

            In sophomore action, the Lady Knights dropped a 45-17 decision at Hampshire in its new gymnasium last Tuesday On Monday, Glenbard South defeated Kaneland 24-20. The sophomores sit at 0-5.

            The girls are at DeKalb on Friday, Dec. 5 and go to Rochelle on Monday, Dec. 8.

Lady Knights look to keep arrow pointing up

Girls hoops using seven seniors for lift in WSC

by Mike Slodki

            Two years ago, the Lady Knights basketball squad, helmed by Ernie Colombe, limped toward a 5-21 mark.

            Last year, KHS improved to 10-16 with a 5-9 record in Western Sun Conference play and was 5.7 seconds away from ousting Burlington Central in the regionals before losing 49-48 last February.

            This year, the Lady Knights look to make more positive strides under Colombe in his third year.

            “We work hard,” Colombe said. “I know it sounds like a cliche, but we push these girls in practice, and they seem to respond well to that.”

            First off, the Lady Knights have to deal with departed Class of 2008 members Brittney Hankes, Lesley Winslow, Vickie Mathieu and Jackie Smith.

            Hankes is playing collegiately at Elgin Community College this winter.

            Forwards on the 2008-09 roster are seniors Brianna Hurst and Katie Hatch. Hatch is on for her fourth varsity year, and made all-WSC last year.

            “Day in, day out. No one works harder than Katie,” Colombe said.

            Junior forwards are Kaila Ingraham and Mallory Carlson, both new to the varsity ranks, and sophomore Megan Nauert joins the ranks as well.

            Guards are seniors Sara Rose, who brings an improved shot, according to Colombe, CeCe Anderson, Chassidy Mangers and defensive stopper Mallory Huml, along with new sophomore editions Emily Heimerdinger and Andie Strang.

            Senior Alyssa Galvan provides minutes at the center position.

            Colombe, along with assistant coach Tom Dillavan, thinks that the younger set of sophomores bring intangibles to the court.

            “Andie might be the best shooter in the program and gets up and down the court well. Emily is really improved and is working against Sara every day in practice and is so competitve. Megan can play around the basket and has a knack for scoring,” Colombe said.

            The Knights will have their hands full with Geneva (21-7 in 2007-08) and Batavia (21-5).

            After the opening matchup at Hampshire on Tuesday, the Lady Knights hop on over to Burlington Central for its annual Thanksgiving Tournament beginning on Saturday, Nov, 22. The first conference matchup is vs. Glenbard South on Tuesday, Dec. 2. The regular season ends for the Lady Knights on Friday, Feb. 13, 2009, at Sycamore.

Hampshire deals out convincing loss to KHS girls

by Mike Slodki

            As is customary over the last several years, Kaneland High School girls basketball opened its campaign against Hampshire.

            Unfortunately, the results are as customary as the previous two seasons were.

            For the third consecutive year, Hampshire got the best of the Lady Knights, this time by a final of 59-39.

            Center Alyssa Galvan had a game-high 10 points in the Tuesday night affair at the brand new Hampshire High School. Chassidy Mangers added nine.

            Hampshire went on an early 12-0 run to take a 14-3 lead with 3:10 to go in the frame.

            KHS cut the margin to 15-7 after one.

            The Lady Knights went on a mini-run and made adjustments in the second quarter. Down 22-11, Sara Rose hit a layup and Mangers made a foul shot to close within 22-14 with 5:41 to go in the half. Later on, the Lady Knights went on a 7-0 run, thanks to a Rose shot, a Galvan basket, a Katie Hatch free throw and an Emily Heimerdinger baseline jumper that closed it to 24-21 with 2:24 left. Rose’s offensive putback with 1:19 to go made it 29-25, but Hampshire clamped on the defense and Kaneland went into the half down 36-25.

            Hampshire upping the tempo on both ends led to a 23-point lead in the third quarter before Andie Strang’s two foul shots closed it to 51-30 at the end of three.

            “We made defensive mistakes today,” Colombe said. “These are mistakes that you make when you’re sophomores but not when you’re on varsity. We’ve got a lot to fix, but we’ll work hard in practice.”

            The Lady Knights head out to Burlington Central, facing Rockford Auburn at 2:30 p.m. and Woodstock at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 22.