Tag Archives: Kelly Evers

Spring kind to Kaneland athletics in awards season

Photo: Delani Vest capped a stellar senior season for Lady Knights softball by nabbing the NIB-12 MVP honor. File photo

KANELAND—A highly successful 2011-12 spring season was recognized with team awards dished out earlier this week, as well as honors from the end-of-year senior athletic banquet.

Awards were released on June 3.

Leading the charge was sectional semifinalist softball, which boasted the Northern Illinois Big XII MVP in pitcher Delani Vest. Joining the senior on the all-conference list was Paige Kuefler, Hayley Contorno, Allyson O’Herron and McKinzie Mangers, with teammate Lexi Roach an honorable mention.

Vest, Mangers, O’Herron and Sam Hansen were recognized as captains. O’Herron was named defensive player of the year, while Roach was named most improved player. Kuefler and Lanie Callaghan were named co-offensive players of the year, while Contorno and Kristen Gabrielson took home the Lady Knight award.

The senior athletic banquet awards recognized University of Wisconsin-Whitewater bound Sean Carter as Male Athlete of the Year, Kelly Evers as Female Athlete of the Year, Clayton Brundige as the Male Birkette award winner for dedication, and both Evers and Katy Dudzinski as the Female Birkette award for dedication recipient.

For boys track, Carter was named the Track MVP, while Nate Dyer took home the Field MVP honors. Brundige and Brandon Stahl were co-winners of the Drendel Award. Brundige, Carter, Miki Marin, Stahl, Nate Rehkopf, Kelvin Peterson and Mitch Dienst were recognized as captains. Dylan Nauert was named the winner of the Ron Probst award.

Finally, Kaneland’s boys track group of Luis Acosta, Brandon Bishop, Kyle Carter, Sean Carter, Dyer, Shane Jorgensen, Nate Kucera, Nauert, Tanner Andrews, Brandon Cottier, Marshall Farthing, Kory Harner, Conor Johnson, Dylan Pennington, Brundige and Marin were recognized as All NIB-12.

Meanwhile, the 11 State qualifiers were also lauded for their trip to Eastern Illinois University.

For Knights baseball, Tom Fox, Drew Peters, John Hopkins, Trevor Storck, Jake Razo and Tyler Heinle were named to the All NIB-12 team, with Bryan VanBogaert an honorable mention.

VanBogaert, Storck and Ray Barry took home the most improved player nods, and Trever Heinle was the recipient of the 41 Award in memory of Jeff Malewig. Fox was named the offensive MVP and Tyler Heinle was named defensive MVP, with Razo nabbed Mr. Kaneland Baseball for 2012.

The girls track season yielded quite the prestigious awards, with Amanda Lesak, Jessica Kucera, Maggie Brundige, Sydney Strang, Jen Howland, Lauren Zick and Kaltrina Ismaili being recognized as state qualifiers.

Christina Delach, Nicole Ketza, Elle Tattoni, Lesak, Gabby Aguirre, Strang, Zick, Ismaili and Howland also secured Northern Illinois Big XII honors.

Carolina Tovar and Ketza were recognized for their work as captains. Lesak took home the team’s most improved trophy.

The Track MVP honor was given to Strang, while the Field MVP honor went to Tattoni.

Kaneland soccer congratulated Jess Coia, Jordan Ginther, Delaney Stryczek and Katie Taylor for making All NIB-12, while Brittany Olson made the honorable mention list.

Melissa Bohorquez, Ginther, Taylor and Taylor White were recognized as captains, while Brooke Harner was named Most Improved Player for the Lady Knights.

Courtney Diddell and Madi Jurcenko capped impressive campaigns by garnering Rookie of the Year honors.

Taylor Opperman, Heather Ortiz and Stryczek were named winners of the Coach’s Award.

Michelle Ortiz and Olson were named winners of the Lady Knights Award, while the co-MVPs were revealed as Taylor and Ginther.

Girls track sees 2 finalists at 2A State meet

Photo: Sydney Strang was part of Lady Knight relay action during the Class 2A State meet in Charleston, Ill. Courtesy Photo

KANELAND—While it wasn’t on the scale of the final finish in 2011, the Lady Knights track outfit still came out of the weekend at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. with elite totals in terms of the rest of the state.

When the dust settled from the Friday and Saturday meet, the top finishers brandishing Kaneland duds were Sydney Strang and Jen Howland.

Strang, the lone Lady Knight to make it from prelims to finals on the weekend, qualified for the final 800 meter run group with a time of two minutes, 19.29 seconds and finished 11th in the state with a finals time of 2:20.12.

Kelsey Cramsey of Effingham won the event with a time of 2:12.54. Rochelle’s Michelle Dobbs took third with a time of 2:14.33.

Other Lady Knight final competition included Howland competing in the 3200m run and finishing 11th at 11:36 in an event won by Kristen Busch of Freeburg at 10:54.74.

Additional KHS competition in the prelims included the 4x800m relay foursome of Amanda Lesak, Jessica Kucera, Maggie Brundige and Strang finishing tenth in its heat at 10:07.04.
Lauren Zick, after earning a finals berth last year, finished sixth in her prelim heat of the 400m dash at 59.36 seconds, and the 4x400m unit of Lesak, Zick, Strang and Kaltrina Ismaili finished its prelim run in 4:05.53, less than two seconds from qualifying for the finals.

Teamwise, Springfield Southeast won the trophy with 63 points, followed by Walther Lutheran’s 46. Chicago’s Lindblom (38), Freeport (29), Freeburg (27) and Marengo (27) rounded out the top six.

Kaneland says goodbye to seniors Ashley Cottier, Caroline Eichelberger, Kelly Evers, Howland, Christina Janes, Nicole Ketza, Carolina Tovar and Shannon Wallace.

KHS girls track sees firsts in 4×800, 1600m

Photo: Nicole Ketza gears up for a discus throw during recent action. Ketza and the Lady Knights gear up for the Kane County Meet in North Stars country on Friday, April 27. File photo

DIXON—Interstate 88’s corridor wields some talented girls track rosters, and Kaneland’s intent was to join that group after Friday’s Dixon Invite.

When the points were tabulated, KHS emerged in the middle of the pack of a 10-team invite.

With 55 points, the Lady Knights edged NIB-12 rival Sterling by three points.

Additional NIB-12 outfit Geneseo took the meet with 93, followed by Dixon with 81. Harlem scored third with 76 points and Moline finished fourth with 68.

Kaneland’s bar is at a higher setting for several events, and just in time for the prestigious Kane County Meet occurring this Friday, April 27.

The 4x800m relay foursome of Sydney Strang, Jessica Kucera, Jennifer Howland and Amanda Lesak emerged victorious with a time of 10 minutes, 7.35 seconds, over two seconds better than the team from Dixon.

Strang also got into the act by running away from the fellow 1600m run crowd, thanks to a 5:42.50 time.

The frosh/soph group of Kucera, Rachel Steinmiller, Kyla Goodine and Madison Keith did well by finishing third in the 4x400m relay event with a time of 4:27.24.

Field events went well for KHS in the form of Kelly Evers’ third in the high jump (13 feet, eight inches), and with Shannon Wallace’s third in the pole vault (23-06).

Kaneland’s Kane County trip takes them to St. Charles North High School for a 5 p.m. starting gun.

Lady Knights track to make most out of depth

Photo: Lauren Zick looks to make her sophomore season more amazing than her freshman campaign in the 400m run. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Numbers are down, and the roster no longer includes assets like Andie Strang, Kris Bowen and Brooke Patterson.

But third-year Lady Knights girls track head coach Doug Ecker is eager and optimistic about what returns.

“We lost good kids, but we picked up some,” Ecker said. “Our numbers are down overall. We have some crossover from a successful cross-country season. So far, so good. We have some kids hurt, but we’ll make the most out of our depth.”

A fifth-place finish at the Kane County Invite and four events with a State seal of approval meant a big finish to 2011.

Still around from the Charleston group are sophomore Sydney Strang, who was in the 4x800m relay, and sophomore Lauren Zick, who finished ninth in the 400m dash.

“Zick is a great athlete and can run anything from a 55 to an 800, with her best race probably the 400, and has improved in the long jump. Sydney did well in the distance events and is getting faster and stronger,” Ecker said.

The indoor track season provided a nice barometer, but slots still need to be figured out.

“It is different, with no discus and no low hurdles, but things still need to get hashed out,” Ecker said.

Going the distance for KHS this season will be personnel like Strang, who has had a nice start in the mile event, as will Amanda Lesak, in events like the 4x800m.

Lesak will also be counted on in the hurdle events, as well.

“She’s someone that we hope will do well in the hurdles and middle distance races,” Ecker said.

Nicole Ketza, Brittany Kemp and freshman Elle Tattoni are getting looks in the field events, with Ketza and Kemp having hours chalked up in the shot put and discus.

“Kemp is someone that did the shot for us as a freshman, and Marina Schaefer is someone we are looking at for big things in the discus once she bounced back from injuries,” Ecker said.

Sydney Luse returns for her junior year, having placed in the hurdles and pole vault.

“We have good kids in these events, but we’d like to shore up our depth because you have to score in a lot of events,” Ecker said.

For sprints, returnee Ashley Castellanos will see time after excelling in the triple jump last year.

“DeKalb and Sycamore have some of the fastest girls in the state, but Ashley is right up there, as well, and will help us,” Ecker said.

A place is being looked at for senior Kelly Evers, who is coming off of injuries the past track season after going to Charleston three years ago in the 4×800 relay.

Other veterans who carry over from last year’s track group and cross-country are juniors like Gabby Aguirre, Maggie Brundige and Abby Dodis.

“Maggie has been injured in the past, but I think she’s gotten past that now and she’s done well for us so far,” Ecker said. “Abby has already run 12-flat for the 2-mile. They would be stars in any other conference, but our conference is so top-heavy with distance runners, it’s unbelievable.”

Kaneland hopes for a strong body of work this season, and a productive homestretch.

“Conference is important. Geneseo, DeKalb are up there and Dixon is getting stronger, not to discount anyone else. We don’t quite have the depth they do, but we’ll be right there with them.

Kaneland High School Honor Roll

High Honor Roll
Freshman: Omar Aguilar, Megan Bartholet, Anissa Becker, Rabina Beepath, Jacob Brown, Bryan Bulger, Jason Carlquist, Victoria Clinton, Jaemee Cordero, Mallory Dugan, River Dunne, Jarod Erlandson, Gemma Esposito, Connor Fedderly, James Fell, Robert Foy, Murphy Garcia, Andrew Garland, Breanna Geller, Emily Grams, Brittany Grider, Daniel Hammermeister, Riley Hannula, Anna Hayman, Shannon Herra, Kylee Hill, Olivia Hutar, Brooke Jablonski, Madison Jurcenko, Allison Kadampelil, Stephanie Karolewicz, Madison Keith, Ryan Koeppen, Rachel Kowalski, Matthew Krajewski, Kendall Krawczyk, Colleen Landers, Ashley Larsen, Axel Larsen, Julia Lennon, Andrew Lesak, Steven Limbrunner, Kristin Lipinis, Aislinn Lodwig, Alexis Lund, Alejandra Martinez-Aviles, Alyssa McCannon, Nicole McClellan, Michelle McCracken, Brianna McElroy, Rachel Miller, Jonathan Mills, Marissa Mulligan, Alexia Orosco, Samantha Payton, Marisa Peters, Gina Pettenon, Sabrina Pilkington, Cody Pitstick, Regan Prost, Kassidy Reever, Mitchell Reger, Anna Senese, Morgan Sikon, Amber Spaetzel, Michael Stanley, Nicholas Steers, Caitlyn Strasser, Elle Tattoni, Hannah Theis, Kyra Trynoski, Allison Van Bogaert, Emma Wallace, Hannah Wallace, Taylor Washlow, Anna Wendling, Austin Wheatley, Morgan Withey, Sarah Wolfe

Sophomore: Theresa Alef, Mitchell Bateman, Alexander Beck, Steven Becker, Brandon Bishop, Lauren Black, Morgan Buerke, Molly Campbell, Erika Carlson, Melissa Cherry, Hayley Contorno, Riley Coyle, Christine Crews, Andrew David, Kyle DiSandro, Megan Franklin, Spencer Good, Kyla Goodine, Kelsy Goodwin, Tatiana Guerrero, Kayla Hedgren, Caroline Heimerdinger, Madeline Heinzer, Mara Hernandez Gonzalez, Madison Hester, Tyler Hill, Tyler Holan, Michael Howard, Casey Jacobson, Shane Jorgensen, Koehring, Gary Koehring, Nathaniel Kucera, Emily Laudont, Eun Woo Lim, Jennifer Lubic, Kaley Martens, Rachel Mathys, Meredith McCaffrey, Carissa Miller, Abigail Needham, Brittany Olson, Julie Panasik, Mary Piazza, Eileen Ruppel, Alexandria Russell, Katelyn Schmidt, Tyler Slamans, Rachel Steinmiller, Nicholas Stollard, Elizabeth Strang, Delaney Stryczek, Jordan Thelander, Curtis Thorson, Thomas Van Bogaert, Christian VanDinther, Sophie Wallace, Brin Wilk, Azalia Wilkerson, Michael Williams, Amber Winquist-Bailey, Zachary Winthers, Ethan Witt, Lucas Wolski, Lauren Zick, Nathan Zitko

Junior: Gabriella Aguirre, Lauren Banbury, Kami Bauer, Erica Brettman, Myles Chick, Rachael Clinton, Joshua Cohrs, Vanessa Cook, Kelsey Cotton, Robert Debolt, Abigail Dodis, Austin Doyle, Katelyn Dray, Brendan Dunphy, Zachary Eckhardt, Caroline Eichelberger, Christopher Farrell, Sean Flamand, Dominique Galloway, Sarah Grams, Keriann Groen, Nicole Grossman, Emily Gulanczyk, Nicole Hanlon, Alyson Harner, Brooke Harner, David Hernandez, Jenice Heyob, Conor Johnson, Erin Kettelkamp, Alec Koczka, Jessica Kolzow, Alexander Kovach, Taylor Krawczyk, Joseph Kuipers, Brittany Larsen, Cara Lenhardt, Matthew Limbrunner, Benjamin Longson, Stephanie Maras, Jay Markuson, Madeline McMullen, Daniel Miller, Alyssa Nolte, Allyson O’Herron, Beau Ott, Nicholas Philips, Joseph Pollastrini, Ashley Prost, Maxim Reger, Lauren Rusnok, Michael Saucedo, Jessica Smith, Nathaniel Snyder, Karizza Sotelo, Samantha Sparks, Savannah Stasik, Morgan Stewart, Ryan Straughn, Brianne Strobel, Maria Tapia Escobedo, Alexandra Vickery, Abby West, Jessica Woodward

Senior: Lauren Allen, Rebecca Arnold, Lilly Berrend, Madison Bluml, Brianna Brehm, Taylor Buri, Jocelyn Cabral, Lauren Companiott, Ashley Diddell, Katelyn Dudzinski, Brian Edwards, Eric Eichelberger, Kelly Evers, Grace Fabrizius, Ariel Geraghty, Noelle Goodine, Kelsey Gould, Adam Grams, Malory Groen, Elizabeth Howie, Christina Janes, Nicole Ketza, Denitza Koleva, Kaitlyn Kolzow, Benjamin Kovalick, Stelios Lekkas, McKinzie Mangers, Jacob Mazuc, Austin McElderry, Kayley McPhee, Anna Novotny, William Osborne, Athanasios Pesmajoglou, Drew Peters, Jordan Phillips, Alexa Reger, Karyn Ribbens, Josias Rodriguez, Stephanie Rosenwinkel, Maria Rossi, Alejandra Salinas, Connor Sandquist, Melissa Schmidt, Veronica Seawall, Ashley Shearer, Kylie Siebert, Ashlyn Slamans, Molly Speckman, Anthony Sperando, Brandon Stahl, Trevor Storck, Katherine Taylor, Valerie Tockstein, Catherine Tolan, Amber Urich, Marissa Villafuerte, Savannah Webb, Kathleen Werrline, Anders Winquist-Bailey, Elliot Witt, John Wooten

Regular Honor Roll
Freshman: Karina Alcantara-Camargo, Mariah Ausbury, Jacob Bachio, Melanie Bateman, Ivan Bohorquez, Nicholas Boose, Amy Burgholzer, Briel Castellese, Hannah Conley, Amy Croft, Gabriel David, Destiny Diaz, Courtney Diddell, Zachary Douglas, Sarah Dratnol, Alyssa Evans, Jeremy Faletto, Colton Fellows, Elise Fichtel, Sam Ford, Kevin Fuchs, Justin Garcia, Julia Golbeck, Victoria Guyton, McKayla Helm, Zachary Justus, Joshua Kasap, Rachel Keske, Joshua Kohler, Alyson Kowalczyk, Jessica Kucera, Shannon Limbrick, Matthew Lyons, Raymond McGarvey, Caitrin Mills, Lenora Murphy, Meghen Nance, Kayla Norell, Taylor Opperman, Nicole Partipilo, Katrina Paulick, Lauren Pence, Kellsie Pepponi, Noah Perez, Blaine Rivas, Vanessa Saltijeral, Colleen Schrems, Samantha Schrepferman, Deanna Scialabba, Jacob Sheehan, Christine Shelton, Aaron Steenwyk, Evan Thompson, Taylor Tindall, James Tockstein, Rachel Urich, Paige Wagner, Charles Wehrmann, Samantha White, Nicholas Winthers, John Wolf, Joshua Yeggy

Sophomore: Johnathan Bahena Diaz, Jesse Balluff, James Bartholomew, Anna Bateman, Dzenan Bogaljevic, Michelle Bohanek, Ryan Bower, Alexandra Brenwall, Johnathan Briggs, Lanie Callaghan, Gina Campobasso Jarvis, Andrew Carroll, Ryan Caul, Lesly Chavez, Jacob Cinkus, Taylor Corbett, Michael Deja, Christina Delach, Justin Diddell, Dakota Drefke, Emily Eckert, Daniel Evers, Alyssa Faulkner, Angelique Franks, Brittany Giannini, Denise Gombar, Christopher Hernandez, Jessica Jablonski, Matthew Kalinowski, Brittany Kemp, Samuel Kitz, Lydia Krauz, Broderick Kuhar, Sara Laurie, Thung Lee, Stefanos Lekkas, Nicolas Likeum, Ryan Longson, Trevor Malatek, Kellyn McMullan, Mikaela Messick, Shannon O’Shea, Joshua Opp, Andre Palpant, Anthony Parillo, Alexa Parrenas, Mason Pieczynski, Alec Pope, Shannon Ransford, Muhammad Rehman, Taylor Robertson, Paige Robinson, Joshua Rodriguez, Kyle Romas, Teri Ruffolo, Zackery Russell, Kaprice Sanchez, Blake Schultz, Kaleb Schuppner, Alexander Speckman, Allison Steininger, Sydney Strang, Ashlee Tennant, Cameron Thomas, Katelyn Treinen, Alyson Utterback, Matthew Vander Sande, Cynthia Vasquez, John Venneri, Jessica Villafuerte, Noelia Villanueva, Kelly Wallner, Lucas Welz, Nicholas Welz, Zachary Wielgos, Thomas Williams, Grant Wooten

Junior: Julia Angelotti, Olubukola Ayegbusi, Joanna Barragan, Alex Baumgartner, Jennifer Bicos, Jason Biddle, Emma Bradford, Margaret Brundige, Bailey Burns, Romina Carrano, Ashley Castellanos, Jacob Childress, Madeline Cole, Nicholas Crawford, Anna Croft, Austen Davis, Laken Delahanty, Claiborne Denlinger, Hannah Dewar, Natalie Dietrich, Alonzo Dominguez, Miricle Dominguez, Breanna Evola, Marshall Farthing, Kristin Gabrielson, Jordan Ginther, Sean Glennon, Jack Grimes, Stephen Gust, Nikolas Hale, Kory Harner, Tyler Hawbecker, Alexander Held, Kirstin Hinds, Meagan Holloman, Kushtrim Ismaili, Lisa Jennings, Johnson, Bradley Johnson, Brandon Johnson, Nicholas Katsigiannis, Brad Kigyos , Samuel Kilgore, Esther Kong, Luke Kreiter,, Baylee Lancaster,, Tanisha Lee,, Kara Leyden, Katherine Lucarelli, Sydney Luse, Alexandra Lyons, Zachary Martinelli, Jacqueline McClellan, Stephen McCracken, Joshua McHenry, James Merletti, Eric Meuer, Savanah Miles, Brayden Miller, Paige Nachreiner, Alyssa Nahley, Morgan Newhouse, Cory Nordine, Sarah Norman, Adam Poczekaj, Kyle Pollastrini, MacKenzie Powell, Lyndi Scholl, Collin Seidelman, Benjamin Sommers, Manuel Tapia- Zachary Theis, Kalani Tovar, Jack Van Gemert, Taylor Velazquez, Jemma Waldrop, Caitlin Wallace, Kaitlyn Wendling, Abbie Wilhelm, Connor Williams, Alexander Willis, Morgan Wojciechowski, Danielle Wylie

Senior: Kourtni Bingley, Melissa Bohorquez, Zachary Brown, Emily Carr, Colton Carter, Sean Carter, Jacob Chevalier, Acalia Cleaver, Zachary Douglas, Megan Dressel, , Tyler Fabrizius, John Goodrich, Joseph Gorenz, Casey Haffner, Bridget Hankes, Daniel Hansen, Samantha Hansen, David Heine, Austin Henkelman, Phoojywg Her, Heather Hochsprung, Alexandria Hornback, Seleana Isaacs, Sarah Kitz, Kelly Kovacic, Alec Krueger, Troy Krueger, Kathryn Lanute, Kayley Larsen, Cesar Lazcano, Nicholette LeBlanc, Victoria Likeum, Madison Limbrick, Madeline Meredith, Amelia Napiorkowski, Diana Nuno, Konstantin Paraskevov, Jari Ramos-Orbe, Sawyer Rego, Courtney Reiss, Jake Rosko, Margaret Ruppel, Alejandro Salinas, Max Sanko, Demi Schlehofer, Dana Schultz, Matthew Simmons, Grace Snyder, Erica Sorensen, Michael Tattoni, Mackenzie Theisen, Carolina Tovar, Shannon Wallace, Nicholas Wielgos, Joshua Williams, Jordyn Withey, Michael Withey, Maverick Wojciechowski

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaneland girls go into regionals on winning note

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KHS emerges the victor over Yorkville, Rochelle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lady Knights knocked to consolation side at Oswego E.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Girls basketball maintains early-season roll in Sycamore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The sophomores lost to Sycamore 26-24.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Exceptional start for Kaneland girls hoops

by Mike Slodki
ELMHURST, Ill.—For the second year in a row, the Kaneland Lady Knights basketball outfit visited the Immaculate Conception Tournament for Thanksgiving week.

Kaneland has to be liking the beginning fortunes of this year’s tournament already.

Facing Wilmette’s Regina Dominican High School on Saturday, KHS used defense and rebounding in a 35-24 win. On Monday, the Lady Knights looked like a team that put the other tourney outfits on notice with a 57-13 win over Plainfield South.

In the opener, Kaneland employed five steals, 25 rebounds and a stingy defense that allowed just three shot attempts in the fourth quarter.

Post-presence Kelly Evers had a game-high 11 points. Ashley Prost added eight points and seven rebounds.

The Lady Knights were 15-for-35 from the field.

Against the Lady Cougars, Ashley Prost paced the group with 12 points to go with eight steals.

Prost and crew executed the pressure defense needed for a smothering victory, indicated by an astounding 30 steals, of which Lauren Zick had nine.

“We’re really proud of ourselves for accomplishing all our goals that we set out to do,” Prost said. “We’ve been pushing ourselves more than we ever had to.”

Three baskets by Prost and a lay-in by Lexee Guerra put KHS on top early, 8-0. Sarah Grams and Ashley Castellanos added hoops for a 12-0 lead after the first quarter horn.

Kaneland increased the lead to 30-5 at halftime and 46-7 after three, instituting the running clock for the fourth quarter.

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.

Winter sports awards, NIB-12 honors dished out

KANELAND—For boys basketball, captains Matt Cowans, Tyler Callaghan and Chaon Denlinger were recognized. Most Improved Player nods went to Zach Ringhouse and Trever Heinle. Denlinger also took home the Most Valuable Player. Callghan was awarded Defensive Player of the Year, and freshman teammate Daniel Helm was named Offensive Player of the Year. Kory Harner was named the winner of the Mr. Husle Award, and the All-Northern Ilinois Big XII entries were Denlinger and Helm.

For girls basketball, Defensive Player of the Year honor went to senior Andie Strang and teammate Emily Heimerdinger.

Kelly Evers was named MVP of the varsity squad, while teammate Emma Bradford took home the Most Improved Player award.

Heimerdinger was also award Ms. Kaneland Basketball and made honorable mention for the Northern Illinois Big XII, while Evers added to her awards with a Northern lllinois Big XII all-conference mention.

For sophomore girls basketball, Ashley Prost was named MVP. Brooke Harner was given the Defensive Player of the Year award, followed by Ashley Castellanos and Morgan Newhouse combining on the Most Improved Player awards.

Ms. Kaneland Basketball for the sophomore unit went to Sarah Grams.

Additionally, Alli Liss was named the winner of the Sophomore Hustle Chart Winner.

For the freshman level, Lauren Zick was named MVP and Sydney Strang was awarded Defensive Player of the Year. Most Improved Player was shared by Kelly Wallner and Katie Brinkman. Ms. Basketball went to Amber Winquist-Bailey, while Strang and Caroline Heimerdinger shared captains honors.

Knights wrestling issued a handful of awards, beginning with Kyle Davidson and Jimmy Boyle taking the Most Valuable Wrestler honors.

Zach Theis was named MVW of the JV ranks. Stephen Gust took home the Most Improved Wrestler award. The JV Most Improved Wrestler nod went to David Barnhart.

Andrew Essex was named the Bob Domena Memorial Award Hardest Worker.

Ben Kovalick was given the Dave Osman Memorial Award Most Dedicated Wrestler honor. The Russell Anderson Memorial Award was given to Dan Goress.

Davidson and Boyle were recognized as team captains, and Zach Ganz took home the Heart and Soul Award.

Finally, Boyle, Kovalick, Goress, Davidson and Keagan Mattes were honored for their inclusion on the All-Northern Illinois Big XII team.

For Kaneland Lady Knights bowling, Holly Thomas took home recognition for high series, high game, high average and captainship.

Morgan Wojciechowski was named Most Improved Bowler, and Seleana Isaacs was named Most Improved, as well. Isaacs also was given the coach’s award.

Evers heads NIB-12 hoops first team

KANELAND—Even though the Kaneland girls basketball season came to an end 10 days ago, the good news was still able to pour in on Tuesday.

With the Northern Illinois Big XII girls basketball All-Conference team voted on by coaches and released, Lady Knights Kelly Evers was a unanimous selection to the first team, and teammate Emily Heimerdinger was named to the honorable mention group in the East Division.

Evers, a six-foot junior, was recognized for her everyday starting contributions, and for helping the 13-16 Lady Knights to their best mark in five years.

DeKalb had three players on the first team, including co-MVP Kelli Gerace, Emily Remis and Taylor White. Rochelle added Katie Swartz and Cassidy Ziech. Morris supplied co-MVP Layney Miller.

Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza rounded out the first team.

For the honorable mention, Heimerdinger closed her senior season with the nod to the NIB-12 core best. DeKalb’s Courtney Patrick represented the Lady Barbs, while Rochelle’s Shanna Metzger joins her.

Morris added Alex Granger and Leslie Claire to the honorable mention list. Yorkville supplied Jenny Taptich and Jordann Dhuse. Sycamore’s Ashley Berlinski rounded out the list.

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 blown over by Leafs, get regional draw

Photo: Trinae Coachman battles for posession in the 62-50 loss on Saturday afternoon to the Geneseo Lady Leafs. Photo by Mary Herra

KANELAND—It’s over and done with, but Kaneland girls basketball would have loved to end its home schedule with a win on Saturday afternoon.

As it stands, the Lady Knights, who have shown strides this season as a team, fell to the visting NIB-12 West Geneseo Maple Leafs in a 62-50 matchup.

The Lady Knights are now 11-14 after their lone contest this week with a 2-6 record in NIB-12 play.

Leading the way for KHS was Kelly Evers, who had 18 points, a game-high, and Emily Heimerdinger with 15 points.

Heimerdinger sunk four three-pointers in the contest.

Kaneland was 15-for-53 from the field and 15-for-21 from the foul line.

Allison Weiss of Geneseo had 16 points.

KHS led 14-12 after the first quarter, but fell victim to a 21-9 second quarter and fell behind 33-23 at the half. Kaneland cut it to 47-39 after the third quarter and even cut the margin to eight points in the fourth, but hitting only three-of-16 shots hindered the comeback chances.

The sophomores improved to 22-1 with an impressive 35-27 win over Geneseo. Sarah Grams led the charge with nine points.

The freshmen improved to 19-0 with a 39-26 win over Geneseo, helped by Lauren Zick’s 10.

Lady Knights basketball was also given its postseason assignment in the Class 3A playoffs.

The Lady Knights will travel to Wheaton for the St. Francis Regional on Monday, Feb. 14, as the fourth seed and play Wheaton Academy, the fifth seed, at 7:30 p.m.

As of press time, the Lady Warriors are 8-14.

Girls hoops sandwiches win between two losses

Photo: Lexee Guerra unloads before the halftime horn sounds during Friday’s setback to visiting Yorkville. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland girls basketball will have to be satisfied with a lone win concerning this past week’s tilts with rivals.

Yorkville bested the Lady Knights on Friday night, 47-39, but KHS earned a 46-40 win over rival to the north Burlington Central on Saturday. Kaneland also dropped a 48-34 clash with visiting DeKalb on Tuesday, and was swept in that season series.

KHS is now 9-11 with a 1-4 record in NIB-12 action.

Against the Lady Foxes, Emily Heimerdinger had 12 points, followed by Kelly Evers’ eight. KHS was 16-for-43 from the field and suffered with just four attempts at the foul line on the night, compared to 12-for-25 for Yorkville, including 17 attempts in the fourth quarter.

YHS went out to a 13-12 lead after one quarter and held firm with a 24-22 lead at the half. Kaneland found itself trailing 31-30 after three before the Lady Foxes widened the gap.

Facing the Rockets, Kaneland had a 15-point night from Heimerdinger and 12 points from Tesa Alderman. Evers contributed nine points and 12 boards.

KHS was 17-for-58 from the field and 10-for-16 from the charity stripe.

Heimerdinger had nine steals to key the Kaneland winning effort, as well.

KHS went ahead 13-10 at the end of the first quarter and maintained a slim 20-19 advantage going into halftime. BC took a 31-28 lead going into the fourth quarter in Maple Park, but free throws by Emma Bradford, Alderman and Heimerdinger gave Kaneland the edge in the fourth quarter that saw KHS outscore BC 18-9.

Facing the Lady Barbs, Kaneland was led by Evers’ and Heimerdinger’s eight points, but DeKalb’s Emily Bemis put up 13 and Rachel Torres had nine.

Kaneland was up 13-11 after one but was outplayed 17-6 in the second frame to fall behind 28-19 at halftime. DeKalb maintained a 40-29 lead going into the final quarter.

In younger contests, the freshman “A” outfit improved to 13-0 with a 35-16 win over Yorkville on Friday, with Lauren Zick and Brittany Kemp contributing 10 points each. The “B” squad earned a 33-9 win over Yorkville.

The sophomores improved to a 16-1 record by virtue of a 41-18 win over Burlington Central.

Coming up for the varsity Lady Knights is a home contest with Rochelle on Thursday, Jan. 13.

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 win first two at Oswego East

Photo: Emma Bradford deals with a Storm during Kaneland’s 59-55 opening win in Oswego East.
Photo by Ben Draper

OSWEGO—Throughout this 2010-11 season, Kaneland girls basketball has dropped hints that this was not the same team from last year.

As exhibited in the sixth annual Oswego East Winter Classic Tournament this holiday weekend, Kaneland dropped more than hints—it dropped the first two foes on the schedule.

With a 59-55 win on Monday over South Elgin, and a 64-52 upset win on Tuesday over Addison Trail (No. 2 seed), Kaneland was set to play either Andrew in the championship semifinal on Wednesday, Dec. 29, at 6:30 p.m.

The Lady Knights are now 8-7 with a 1-2 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII play.

Against the Storm, KHS and South Elgin were tied at 13 after one quarter, and the Lady Knights took a 28-22 lead at the halftime break. While the Storm closed within 41-37 after three, the Lady Knights were helped by a 10-for-10 fourth quarter at the foul line.

KHS was 16-for-21 from the charity stripe for the game and 20-for-52 from the field. Tesa Alderman had a team-high 12 points while Kelly Evers and Andie Strang had nine each. Emily Heimerdinger was six-for-six from the foul line in the final frame.

South Elgin’s Becca Smith had 26 in a losing effort.

Against Addison Trail on Tuesday morning, KHS shot an astounding 25-for-44 from the field and went 8-for-12 from the line. Strang scored 22 points, while Nicki Ott had 18. The fourth quarter, which began with Kaneland up 50-41, featured Strang with eight and Ott with 10 points.

The championship final is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 30, at 6:30 p.m.

6th OSWEGO EAST WINTER
WINTER Classic TOURNEY

1st-round matchups on Monday, Dec. 27
Addison Trail 46, Plainfield C. 23
Kaneland 59, S. Elgin 55
Andrew 52, Aurora Christian 25
Plainfield N. 40, Metea Valley 36
W. Chicago 58, Joliet Cent. 26
Lemont 55, Plainfield E. 45
Oswego E. 51, Aurora Central Catholic 41
Downers Grove S. 49, E. Aurora 47

2nd-round matchups on Tuesday, Dec. 28
Kaneland 64, Addison Trail 52
Andrew 70, Plainfield North 66 (2OT)
West Chicago 53, Lemont 28
Downers Grove South 44, Oswego East 39
South Elgin 74, Plainfield Central 38
Metea Valley 41, Aurora Christian 26
Plainfield East 41, Joliet Central 38
East Aurora 48, Aurora Central Catholic 45

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 drop contest in Morris

KANELAND—Now entering their first-ever Northern Illinois Big XII slate, contests take on the utmost importance for the Lady Knights.

The conference tilts unfortunately began with a loss on Friday in Morris, 54-48, dropping KHS to 5-5 (0-1 NIB-12). Kaneland has now lost two in a row.

With Kaneland shooting 16-for-45 from the field and 14-for-20 from the free throw line, the Lady Knights kept pace with their Redskin counterparts, but Morris weapons Laney Miller put in 21 and Alex Granger put in 20 to buoy Morris.

Andie Strang had 15 points and seven rebounds for KHS, followed by Emily Heimerdinger’s 11 points. Kelly Evers was two points and two boards away from a double-double.

KHS built a 17-15 lead after one, but Morris went on a 16-5 tear to go into halftime up 31-22.

The third quarter ended with the score 43-34 in Morris’ favor. The fourth frame saw KHS cut the deficit to just one point on three separate occasions, but Morris converted 11-of-19 foul shots in the final eight minutes.

In younger action, the sophomore crew improved to 5-0 on the young season with a 49-10 handling of the Lady Redskins. Alli Liss led the way with 13 points.

Ahead for the Lady Knights is a contest in Sycamore on Friday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m., followed by a trip to DeKalb High School on Tuesday, Dec. 14.

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.

Lady Knights lose opener on late 3

AURORA—It would be a fantastic beginning to the 2010-11 campaign for Kaneland Lady Knights basketball if it weren’t for the pesky last shot.

In the opening contest of the season for the Lady Knights on Tuesday evening in Aurora at Illinois Math and Science Academy’s Hoop Happenings, Tesa Alderman hit a game-tying three-pointer, but Rock Island’s Whitney Hoover hit a trey with two ticks left.

The bang-bang exchange dropped Kaneland, 51-48.

The Lady Knights now gear up against either Aurora Christian or Yorkville in the second round, which will tip-off at Aurora Christian High School.

For Kaneland, post player Kelly Evers led the charge with 17 points and nine boards. Emily Heimerdinger had nine points and three steals. Andie Strang had five points and eight boards.

Kaneland was 19-for-50 from the field, with four three-pointers.

KHS led early, 14-5 after the first quarter, but the Lady Rocks took a 23-21 lead at the half. Kaneland rallied for a 37-36 lead before the fourth-quarter stage was set.

The next contest for KHS tips off at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 19.

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 track travels to Dixon

KANELAND—With Kaneland and Dixon suiting up as Northern Illinois Big 12 conference mates next season, what better way for Lady Knights girls track to get their name out in that territory than at the annual Dixon Relays.

Friday afternoon saw KHS finish seventh in a talented 10-team field by President Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home, with a total of 54.5 points. Kaneland finished 2.5 points behind Dixon and 4.5 points behind Rochelle.

Harlem (118), Geneseo (88) and Sterling (84) took the top three spots.

In the unusual weight events 4x100m relay, Mel Mazuc, Keara Palpant, Nicole Ketza and Briana Stark took a first place with 57.03 seconds.

The pole vault event also went to Kaneland, thanks to the efforts of Brooke Patterson, Hillary Luse and Sara Wallace, who hit 25 feet in the finals.

Patterson, still a rookie to the track ranks, has now become a true asset to KHS girls track in events like the triple jump and vault.

“I think it’s a good start,” Patterson said on Tuesday. “I try to have fun because it’s my first year doing it.”

Patterson is not as far behind the curve as most, with a gymnastics background.

“It definitely helped in pole vault, I knew how to turn upside down when I had to,” Patterson said.

Kaneland also brought home a couple of third-place finishes, as Lisa Roberson, Jessica Stouffer, Kris Bowen and Andie Strang ran 10:05.11 in the varsity 4x800m relay. Harlem won the event with a time of 9:58.

On the frosh/soph end of that event, Maggie Brundige, Abby Dodis, Savanah Miles and Kelly Evers ran a 10:51.90 to clinch third.

Tuesday had some Western Sun Conference action in store for the Lady Knights in DeKalb against the host Lady Barbs and Geneva.

Ecker steps in for girls track

Photo: Girls track coach Doug Ecker gives pointers on the triple jump at Friday’s practice. Photo by Mike Slodki
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—After a ninth-place finish in State a year ago, how do you repeat such a fine performance?

Wait and see.

A large part of the stellar finish at 2A State for the Kaneland Lady Knights girls track squad was due in part to Lindsay Gierke, gone off to the University of Northern Iowa. One of the most celebrated girls track athletes in KHS history, Gierke managed a second place in the 100m hurdles, fourth in the 100m dash, third in the 300m hurdles and was a four-year State qualifier.

“We’ve had some great athletes in the past and we’ll miss her points, but a lot of great athletes from last year are gone now, and it’s part of high school,” said KHS coach Doug Ecker.

Also gone from the group is pole vaulter Jordan Pinkston, who finished fifth at State and is competing at Southern Illinois University.

The good news is that 2009-10 allows new faces to step up and take the mantle of postseason success, and not all State qualifiers have left for the college ranks just yet.

One new face is right at the top, as girls cross-country coach Ecker moves up to take the head position, switching places with Pat Sheetz, who moves aside after four decades as head coach.

“There’s really no change,” Ecker said. “Sheetz and I have worked for 23 years; everything’s pretty much the same.”

Ecker has had head track experience in the college ranks and high-school boys track.

Junior Andie Strang looks to go back to Charleston, Ill. for a third go-around after finishing 10th in the 800m run and was part of the 4x800m relay, along with returning teammates Kris Bowen, Kelly Evers and Lisa Roberson. Strang is on the road back from a stress fracture suffered during girls basketball season.

“We’ll see how it is when outdoor season comes. If it’s healed it’s healed, and if it’s not its not. Hopefully she’s back at full strength and we’ll have to see what happens.”

Sara Wallace, a senior, also qualified for State in pole vault and looks to shore up that event.

Ecker stressed a lot of new faces, with accompanying talent to go with them on the roster numbering 50-strong.

“We don’t have any superstars, but we have kids with potential,” Ecker said.

Trying to break into the Lady Knight ranks in the jumping categories is junior Brooke Patterson, fresh off being familiar in the gymnastics realm and the younger sister of graduated trackster Kelli Patterson.

The junior has excelled in the indoor triple jump with a 32 feet mark.

Freshman Ashley Castellanos has done well in the triple and long jump in the initial stages of the season.

“Every team lost superstars, so you’ll have above average girls trying to take spots in the area,” Ecker said, who also said sprinters and vaulters could be crowded headed into the outdoor season.

The 4x800m relay looks to improve on their first go-around to state, but could see an influx of challengers. Ecker mentioned Castellanos and junior Jessica Stouffer having run well, joining a pool of seven or eight additional runners.

Hurdles will see freshmen and sophomores jockey one of Gierke’s specialty events.

Sprinters could put up some decent speed, thanks to representatives like sophomore Jordyn Lawrence.

“We have more depth at sprinters than we’ve had in a while; we just have to remain healthy,” Ecker said.

Senior Hillary Luse will have a chance at pole vault. The shot put and discus has younger lady tracksters looking to make a name for themselves before the outdoor season takes off.

Any Lady Knight that could take fellow athletes by surprise? Ecker mentioned junior Ariana Espino, who is looking for a relay spot, and fellow junior Sydney Billotta.

“They’re healthy and doing better leading up to the season, and both ran cross-country,” Ecker said.

In this, the final campaign for the Western Sun Conference, Ecker mentions Geneva and Batavia rising up despite losing personnel, along with Rochelle.

Freshmen joining the Kaneland girls track roster for 2010 are Gabby Aguirre, Jenna Bicos, Maggie Brundige, Angalia Carbonara, Brianne Claypool, Laken Delahanty, Abby Dodis, Brooke Harner, Lisa Jennings, Amanda Lesak, Sydney Luse, Emily Maki, Kelly McCarthy, Emma Moon, Grace Mozdren, Alyssa Nolte, Katie Ogboukiri and Jessica Woodward.

Sophomores are Tesa Alderman, Ashley Diddell, Kelsey Gould, Nicole Ketza, Savanah Miles, April Smith, Grace Snyder, Meggen Southern, Carolina Tovar and Shannon Wallace.

Juniors are Athina Ajazi, Elizabeth Hylland, Lordan Krawczyk, Keara Palpant, Alyson Rehr, Nicole Rymarz, Briana Stark and Cara Zagel.

Seniors are Elicia DiBella, Tara Groen, Mel Mazuc, Megan Mendoza and Lexie Pniewski.

For the girls, the outdoor season kicks off on Tuesday, April 6, against Burlington Central and Oregon.

The Kane County Meet is at Batavia on Friday, April 30, followed by the final Western Sun Conference meet on Friday, May 7, at Glenbard South.

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.