Tag Archives: nib12

KHS finishes 3rd at Plano Christmas Classic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Third-place:
Kaneland 45,
Rockford Christian 41

Fifth-place:
Aurora Ch. 75,
Ottawa 45

Seventh-place:
Streator 59,
H-BR 55

Buzzer-beater batters Kaneland girls in Winter Classic Finale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grapplers go 2-3 at storied Flavin Invite

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bowlers squeezed on lanes by Lisle in 2012 opener

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lady Knights knocked to consolation side at Oswego E.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knights take care of conference business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrestlers grab two Saturday wins after losing to YHS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

L-P Cavs cave in Kaneland bowling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lady Knights win at Dixon in extra session

Photo by Patti Wilk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Girls basketball maintains early-season roll in Sycamore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The sophomores lost to Sycamore 26-24.

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

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

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

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

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

KHS fall athletes recognized with awards

KANELAND—Kaneland High School athletics released their slate of Fall Sports Awards, with each sport trumpeting the best it had to offer, with some All-Northern Illinois Big XII honors thrown in for good measure.

In golf, All-NIB-12 went to Troy Krueger and Matt Yonkovich. Co-Varsity MVP’s were Brody Kuhar and Yonkovich. Connor Williams won the varsity most improved player award. On the frosh/soph roster, Stephen Cannell took the MVP, and Jacob Sheehan won the most improved player award.

For volleyball, All-NIB-12 nods went to Katy Dudzinski and conference MVP Kylie Siebert.

Dudzinski was named top offensive player while Siebert was named top defensive player.

Most improved player went to Rachael Clinton, and the Spirit award went to Lauren Banbury. Dudzinski and Siebert took home the team MVP awards.

In Kaneland tennis, Stephanie Rosenwinkel, Amelia Napiorkowski and Kelly Kovacic were recognized as captains. Mallory Dugan and Stephanie Karolewicz were named most improved. Kovacic and Colleen Landers took the team spirit awards. Outstanding achievement awards went to Jelly Emmnouil for a perfect regular season, Madi Jurcenko for a school record 33 wins, and the doubles tandem of Jurcenko and Napiorkowski for a record of 32-3. All-NIB-12 members were Napiorkowski, Jurcenko, Emmanouil and Sammie Schrepferman, and those four were also named team MVP’s.

For girls cross country, Victoria Clinton was honored for All-State totals, as well as being a State qualifier with teammates Maggie Brundige, Abby Dodis, Aislinn Lodwig, Amanda Lesak, Sydney Strang and Ashley Castellanos.

Lesak, Dodis, Lodwig, Brundige and Clinton were named to the All-NIB-12 team. Dodis, Brundige and Carolina Tovar were recognized as captains. Most improved runners were Dodis and Brundige, while Clinton was named as Most Valuable Runner, capping an exceptional freshman campaign.

For boys cross country, Kyle Carter, John Meisinger, Brandon Huber, Miki Marin, Conor Johnson, Luis Acosta, Clayton Brundige and Nate Rehkopf were recognized as State qualifiers, while Huber, Carter and Meisinger made the All-NIB-12 team.

The Golden Knight Awards went to freshman Andrew Lesak, sophomore Nathanie Kucera, junior Meisinger and senior Rehkopf. Rehkopf, Brundige and Marin were recognized as captains. Huber took the most improved runner nod. Brundige won the Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength. Carter was named most valuable runner.

For the State semifinalist football squad, Quinn Buschbacher was recognized for his IHSCA All-State accomplishment, and Jacob Razo was credited with an IHSCA Honorable Mention. Alex Snyder, Drew David, Blake Bradford and Ben Kovalick were named to the IHSCA Academic All-State team.

Snyder, Nick Sharp, Buschbacher, Sean Carter, David, Ryan Noel, Kovalick, Razo, Kory Harner, Ryan Lawrence and Bradford were named to the All-NIB-12 team.

Special teams MVP was Matt Roriguez, while Buschbacher was offensive MVP and Razo was named defensive MVP.

Most improved player was Brandon Stahl, captains were Kovalick, Noel, Buschbacher, Razo and Carter, while Sean Carter walked away with the MVP award.

For the regional finalist soccer team, Alex Gil and Anthony Parillo were named to the All-Sectional team, while Jordan Escobedo, Gil, Parillo and Alec Koczka made the All-NIB-12 team. Pedro Perez and Tyler Siebert were honorable mention candidates.

Gil was named player of the year, with Escobedo taking the offensive player of the year and Sam Rymarz named the defensive player of the year.

The Coach’s Award went to Siebert, Koczka, Jason Biddle and Chris Van Dinther. Gil, Escobedo and Parillo were recognized as captains.

Rookie of the year went to Arsim Azemi. Thansi Pesmajoglou was named most improved player and Gil and Parillo took the team MVP.

Bowling gets first win of 2011-12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaneland wrestlers eclipsed by DeKalb

KANELAND—Against the visiting DeKalb Barbs, KHS was hoping for its own indoor version of Friday Night Lights.

As it stood, DeKalb made sure the Knight grapplers had a disappointing night in a 41-28 Northern Illinois Big XII tussle.

Kaneland’s mark on the young season is 2-6, and 0-2 in NIB-12 action.

WIns for the Knight total were provided by personnel like Steve Gust, who won 7-1, Esai Ponce, who took a 5-0 win in the 126-pound match, and 182-pound entry Matt Price, who took a 13-7 win.

Pinfalls were secured by 113-pound Connor Williams in three minutes, 23 seconds, 138-pound Dan Goress in 4:19 and 220-pound representative Ben Kovalick.

KHS prepares for a battle in Yorkville on Thursday, Dec. 15.

Boys hoops puts clamp on Spartans, H-BR

Photo: Kaneland’s Dan Miller fights for control of the ball in the second period when Kaneland traveled to Sycamore on Saturday. Kaneland dominated, winning 70-42. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—Kaneland boys basketball is enjoying a three-game win streak dating back to last week—all three of the double-digit variety.

Coming into this week, the Knights held court with victories in Sycamore and Hinckley.

The Knights are now 5-3 on the season (2-0 Northern Illinois Big XII).

Expanding a tight halftime lead, the Knights went into overdrive against rival host Sycamore on Saturday.

In the 70-42 win over the Spartans, Kaneland welcomed 22 points from Marcel Neil, 14 from teammate Thomas Williams and 10 from Trever Heinle.

The Knights also launched six three-pointers, including three from Neil.

Sycamore produced no players in double figures.

The Knights’ 9-5 lead after the first frame increased to 26-20 at the halftime buzzer. Then, Kaneland turned it on in the third for a 51-31 lead after three quarters before adding a 19-spot in the fourth.

In sophomore action, Sycamore got past Kaneland 47-44 to drop the Knights to 4-2.

Along Route 30, the varsity Knights enjoyed a Tuesday win by getting off on the right foot, going up 14-2 after the first quarter, and holding a 31-17 advantage at the half.

Kaneland extended its sizable lead to 49-33 before the contest wound down.

The Knights were helped by Matt Limbrunner’s 13 and Thomas Williams’ 12.

The sophomore Knights also beat their H-BR counterparts, 61-26.

The varsity crew heads for a meeting against DeKalb on Friday, Dec. 16, in Maple Park.

Boys split against current, former conference mates

Photo: Thomas Williams (24) caters to his own southpaw strengths on a trip to the basket during Friday’s NIB-12 win over the visiting Morris Redskins. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Beginning 1-0 in conference play doesn’t just sound better—it is better.

With every meeting in the second-year Northern Illinois Big XII conference a premium, every win over evenly-matched opponents will fit nicely in the back pocket of Kaneland boys basketball.

Such was the case on Friday evening at Kaneland High School, with the Knight crew leading wire-to-wire in a 56-46 win over the visiting Morris Redskins.

The Knights fell back to earth against former Suburban Prairie Conference and Western Sun Conference-mate Glenbard South, 42-37 on Tuesday in Maple Park.

The Knights are now 3-3, and 1-0 in conference play.

KHS was buoyed by Marcel Neil’s 21 points and Trever Heinle’s 18 points against the Redskins. The Knights also sunk five three-pointers, including three from Neil. Also helpful was the 17-of-23 effort from the free throw line.

“They’re a tough team,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “We were maybe hoping to run a little bit more than tonight, but Morris did a good job of handling our press. We don’t have anybody that matches up to their size, but we fought hard.”

Neil offered up a field goal, plus two threes, and the Knights led 13-5 after one frame.

Despite going scoreless for over five minutes of action, Kaneland still managed to hold the lead, and Neil’s fifth straight bucket made the score 18-7 with 4:10 to go in the second.

A three-point play for Morris closed within 18-15 with 2:25 remaining, but a left-handed lay-in by Thomas Williams (nine points) and a foul shot by Dan Miller extended the lead before the teams entered halftime with KHS up 21-16.

Kaneland continued to hold firm and led 37-32 after three, thanks to key baskets by Heinle and Neil.

WIth Morris’ interior pressure stifling efforts to go to the basket, the Knights saw their advantage dip to 39-35 with 5:49 to go.

The home squad found a way to get to the line, however, with Heinle and Drew David making good from the charity stripe in the final frame.

Williams, whose bucket gave Kaneland a 43-37 lead with 3:48 to go, felt good about the effort that led to victory.

“It feels real good,” Williams said. “Just to know you can overcome the defense and being tough, and still score and come out with the win is good.”

Against the visiting Raiders, Heinle was the only Knight to reach double figures with 11 points.

Kaneland and Glenbard South were tied at eight apiece after one, and the Raiders had a slim 17-16 advantage at the break before Kaneland’s 15-5 run in the third had KHS ahead 31-22.

Then, Glenbard South turned it on the fourth, and turned the Knights off, outscoring Kaneland 20-6 in the fourth quarter.

Ahead for Kaneland is a Saturday, Dec. 10, meeting at the home of the Spartans in Sycamore, while Hinckley-Big Rock High School is the site of a Tuesday, Dec. 13, meeting.

Sophomoric!
For a glimpse at some of the future Knights, just turn to the Adam Wickness-coached sophomores.

This week, John Pruett’s 27 points were key in the 55-49 win over the Redskins.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Connor Fedderly’s 21 and Pruett’s 18 helped KHS
enjoy a 61-47 result vs. the GS Raiders.

Grapplers solved by Sycamore, split Saturday excursion

Photo: Connor Williams (113 lbs) controls his opponent during his match on Thursday when Kaneland hosted Sycamore. Photo by Mary Herra

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—While there were some encouraging duels on Thursday, “some” won’t get it done against Sycamore wrestling when “all” are needed.

Sycamore beat Kaneland 52-12 on Thursday in Maple Park.

The Spartans went out to a 35-0 lead over Knights wrestling before 220-pound asset Ben Kovalick earned a pinfall in four minutes, 30 seconds.

“We’ve got stuff to work on, look at everything tomorrow and hope we come out a lot better than that (Saturday). We want to remember this and use it,” Kovalick said.

The next win for KHS (2-4, 0-1 NIB-12) came with 106-pounder Steve Gust taking a 3-2 decision to close within 38-9.

In the final match of the evening, 132-pounder Esai Ponce took an 8-0 shutout win.

The Knights recovered somewhat on Saturday, defeating Lansing’s T.F. South High School on its turf, 48-24, before losing to the Lemont Indians at the same location, 44-21.

Gust got the mat rolling vs. T.F. South with a 4:59 pinfall in the 106-pound match. At 126, Ponce emerged with a 3:25 pinfall. Sonny Horn contributed with a pin in 4:11, while 285-pound entry Zach Theis took a 3:17 pin home.

Gust continued his hot streak against Lemont with a 5:05 pinfall, and Connor Williams took a 2:48 pinfall. However, the only accompanying victory on the mat was 138-pounder Dan Goress, with a 7-1 win.

Girls hoops stifles Morris, IMSA counterparts

Photo: Allyson O’Herron (32) keeps the ball inbounds during Friday’s 43-33 win over visiting Morris. O’Herron had a team-high nine points in the winning effort. Photo by John DiDonna

Six wins at early juncture for Colombe’s crew
KANELAND—Lady Knights girls basketball continues to go along at its desired pace, and came up with two victories this week.

After a game plagued by fouls and execution snags on Friday, the Lady Knights held firm in the fourth quarter against visiting Morris and rallied for a 43-33 win.

Tuesday saw the Lady Knights conquer Illinois Math and Science Academy of Aurora by a 47-31 final score.

The Lady Knights’ 6-1 start is the best in six seasons for the program.

Facing the Redskins, Allyson O’Herron had a team-high nine points on a roster of balanced scoring. Emma Bradford supplied eight.

From the field, the Lady Knights were 13-for-42, and 15-for-25 from the foul line, but also had 14 steals in the winning effort.

Morris went atop KHS 5-1 after the first eight minutes and 16-11 at halftime. Kaneland came back to close within 24-23 after the third and blazed a 20-9 trail in the fourth for the win.

The sophomores improved to 5-0 with a 35-31 win over Morris. Caroline Heimerdinger had a team-high 10 points.

Tackling the Titans, Ashley Prost and O’Herron each had a game-high 11 points, while Prost also added seven steals.

Kaneland was 18-for-56 from the field, and made 11-of-17 shots from the charity stripe.

KHS went out to an early 9-2 lead and enjoyed a 28-9 advantage at the break. While IMSA closed within 32-22 after three, Kaneland righted things in the fourth and finished with a 15-9 fourth quarter.

In the sophomore tilt, Kaneland emerged victorious with a 42-26 win.

Kaneland now prepares for host Sycamore in a NIB-12 tussle set for Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m.

Raising the bar
Looking back at this point a year ago, the Lady Knights were 5-5.
The last two years mark a significant improvement from two years ago, when KHS began 2-8.

Bowling not spared by Dixon

DeKALB—At Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb, the Lady Knights fell victim to a 2,951-2,451 result at the hands of Northern Illinois Big XII crossover foe Dixon on Thursday.

The Lady Knights have begun the season 0-4.

Tops for Dixon was Autumn Day with a 545 series.

The Lady Knights’ top series was bowled by Amanda Strayve with 456, followed closely by Christie Crews at 435. Strayve had the top game efforts with 158 in two instances.

The next highest was bowled by Crews with 150.

After a scheduled meeting in Geneva on Wednesday, the Lady Knights were gearing up for visiting Streator on Thursday, Dec. 8, and to host IMSA on Monday, Dec. 12.

Postseason honors kick in for soccer

Four Knights named to elite squad after regional final run
KANELAND—Kaneland High School soccer saw more benefits roll in even after this last season.

Having made it all the way to the regional final before being ousted by Marmion Academy, the Knights’ squad saw four of its own named to the Northern Illinois Big XII East division All-Conference team, as handed down in November

The Knights had junior midfielder Alex Gil, junior defender Alec Koczka, senior forward Jordan Escobedo and sophomore forward Anthony Parillo named to the elite group.

Meanwhile, sophomore forward Tyler Siebert and senior defender Pedro Perez earned honorable mention nods for their season.

Rochelle brought the most East division honors with five players, and DeKalb’s midfielder Sammy Lake, a senior, won the division MVP.

In the West division, Sterling’s Bryan Gutierrez won the MVP honors.

The Knights finished 12-7-1, and fell short of their quest to clinch a second straight regional title.

Buschbacher tops in NIB-12 with offensive MVP honors

KANELAND—Honors for Kaneland Knights football are now coming as frequently as a monster gain on a Friday night in Maple Park.

Senior wideout Quinn Buschbacher was one of an NIB-12 -best 11 Knights to earn all-conference honors in the East division, with the senior captain earning offensive MVP honors, as well.

Morris’ Hunter Barry took defensive MVP honors.

The Knights’ 11-deep all-conference roster will see the return of six for the 2012 season. Coach Tom Fedderly mentioned in August that a big key to projected success was the return of a handful of all-NIB-12 personnel.

KHS can now boast senior Buschbacher, along with seniors Sean Carter (WR), Ryan Noel (DL), Ben Kovalick (DL) and Jacob Razo (DB). Juniors are OL Nick Sharp, DB Kory Harner, LB Ryan Lawrence and LB Blake Bradford. QB Drew David was one of only three sophomores in the conference to earn top honors, along with OL teammate Alex Snyder.

Morris added 10 members to the list, followed by Sycamore with eight.

Bowling falls to DeKalb in opener

by Mike Slodki
DeKALB—In the confines of Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb, the Lady Knights (0-3) probably felt like it was unfriendly surroundings in a loss to fellow tenant DeKalb on Nov. 22.

In the 3,228-2,422 season-opening loss to the Lady Barbs, the top score of the meet went to DeKalb’s Jessica Eberly with a 576 series.

For Kaneland, the charge was led by senior Madi Bluml, who bowled a 469 series, followed by junior teammate Amanda Strayve’s 431 effort.

Top games were bowled by Strayve at 182 and Bluml at 179.

Strayve will be relied upon, along with select other Lady Knights, to supplant the loss of graduate Holly Thomas.

“It’s going to be a challenge, but I think I improved over the summer,” Strayve said.

Against their Route 23 rivals, Marengo, the team that calls Glo-Bowl home got the upper hand in a 3,196-2,362 affair on Monday.

Christie Crews led the KHS charge with a 491 series, followed by Seleana Isaacs at 465.

Top games were bowled by Crews at 214 and Isaacs at 176.

Tuesday featured a visit to Blackhawk Lanes in Sterling, where the Lady Knights fell 3,433-2,672.

Strayve bowled a team-high 524 series, while she and Crews bowled team-high 213 games.

NIB-12 volleyball accented with Siebert MVP tag

Senior leads East Division honors, joined by three teammates
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was a productive year for Kaneland volleyball, much like last year.

But this year, the Lady Knights can not only boast 38 wins in the last two seasons, but can now trumpet a conference MVP in its ranks.

Kylie Siebert, a senior, who provided stability at the libero position, was voted by coaches to be the NIB-12 East division MVP.

“It’s an honor that we were able to have both Kylie and Katy make the All Conference Team,” KHS coach Todd Weimer said. “And another step further, Kylie is our first All Conference, MVP, Player of the Year. Most MVP’s are setters or hitters and the liberos and smaller players get overlooked. Kylie has done a tremendous job of laying everything on the court.”

Kaneland also welcomed senior Katy Dudzinski to the first team. Dudzinski is bound for the Wichita State University volleyball program.

In the east, the Lady Barbs of DeKalb produced the most first-team nominees with three.

KHS was also happy to add senior Grace Fabrizius and junior Lauren Banbury to the honorable mention list.

In the West, LaSalle-Peru senior Sammi Herron earned the MVP tag.

Just barely

Photo: Jacob Razo (8) and Ryan Lawrence (29) bring down a St. Francis runner in the second quarter. Kaneland came away with a 31-28 victory on Saturday. Photo by John DiDonna

Late TD waved off, 11-0 Knights beat St. Francis, 31-28
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There exists a song by Ringo Starr entitled “It Don’t Come Easy.”

While Starr was part of a group that forever changed the face of music, the Liverpool lad never laced up the cleats the last three weeks.

For the third week in a row, the Knights saw a double-digit lead shrink. Once again, the fate of the game came down to the final drive, this time against St. Francis of Wheaton.

Falling behind 7-0 early, Kaneland put up 31 unanswered points by the end of the second quarter.

St. Francis got two long touchdown runs in the third quarter and a touchdown pass in the fourth to cut it to 31-28.

St. Francis’ Jeff Rutkowski caught a 40-yard touchdown pass with no time left sending the Spartan faithful into a frenzy, but a flag for illegal participation was thrown, negating the touchdown.

With one untimed down left to be played from midfield, Rutkowski caught the ball again, but was tackled at the five-yard line.

“Unbelievable, what a great comeback by them,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “A lot of credit to them. That was a great team we played, and we’re just happy to move on.”

Now, Kaneland makes it to the State quarterfinals in Class 5A for the second consecutive year, and has to travel to Rochelle for a Northern Illinois Big XII conference rematch.

KHS got the best of Rochelle 35-14 on Oct. 2.

Kaneland (11-0) won despite having been beaten in the total yards category, 507-441. St. Francis (8-3) also had a seven minute, 44 second edge in time of possession.

Knight quarterback Drew David was 21-for-40 for 353 yards, with four touchdown throws and two interceptions.

Spartan counterpart Nick Donati was 8-for-16 for 126 yards with 1 TD and two picks, but rattled off scoring runs of 51 and 70 yards in the third quarter.

Jesse Balluff of KHS had 92 yards on 14 carries, but also had 177 yards on eight catches for two touchdowns.

“Jesse is a big-time player for us. He just loves football, and has been getting better for us all season long,” Fedderly said.

Spartan Jack Petrando had his way on the ground, rushing for 155 yards on 17 carries for a score, and Donati amassed 115 yards on the ground.

James Ferguson of St. Francis had 73 yards receiving and a scoring grab.

Just 67 seconds elapsed in the game when Petrando took the ball on the third play from scrimmage and ran 46 yards for a score and a 7-0 lead.

KHS came back and executed a 10-play, 40-yard drive that ended on a 42-yard kick by Matt Rodriguez, making it 7-3 with 5:49 to go in the first.

The Spartans’ next drive ended on a field goal miss from 33 yards away, and the Knights capitalized two plays later when Balluff caught a ball near the sidelines over defenders and raced 77 yards for the touchdown and a 10-7 lead 17 ticks into the second quarter.

Kaneland then went on an absolute roll, scoring on its next three drives, as well.

After Jacob Razo recovered a fumble, Quinn Buschbacher caught a 15-yard scoring pass with 3:37 remaining to go up 17-7.

Balluff caught a 39-yard touchdown pass with 1:30 left that unfolded after the work of KHS blockers on a screen, and the Knights were ahead 24-7.

Gary Koehring has emerged as a mainstay for the Knights’ defense. On Saturday evening, he emerged with a pivotal athletic play. When Spartan QB Nick Donati was looking to turn a play into another big gain deep in KHS territory in the early stages of the fourth, defensive pressure hit Donati while Koehring plucked the ball out of the air with 10:57 left in the game.

After a Razo interception, the Knights converted with a 5-yard scoring strike to Buschbacher with :24 remaining, making the lead 31-7 by halftime.

The second half ended up rougher for KHS, ending drives on interceptions, a punt and a missed field goal.

Donati’s 51-yard score came with 8:17 to go in the third, and his 70-yarder came with 4:46 to go, making it 31-21 by the end of the third.

St. Francis closed to within 31-28 on an 11-yard pass to Ferguson with 7:48 to go.

Later, Rodriguez’ 38-yard field goal try was no good with 3:32 to go, setting in motion the final sequence of the game.

The Knights’ second meeting of the year with the rival Hubs takes place on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 1 p.m. in Ogle County. No. 13 Rochelle has gotten past Chicago’s Urban Prep Charter, 43-41, and Sycamore 21-16.

The winner of the game faces either Montini Catholic or Marian Central Catholic in the State semifinal game next week.

The key call
Illegal participation:
When an offensive player goes out of bounds (unless blocked out), returns during the play
and is the first one to touch the ball. football.refs.org

Seems like old times
• Kaneland has captured the last four meetings against the Hubs, last losing in 2007.

• KHS and Rochelle have met in the playoffs twice in recent years, with Rochelle winning 27-7 in 2004, and 42-7 in 2003.

• Sean Carter and Quinn Buschbacher had two TD’s each in the Sept. 23 victory.

8th in Class 2A for Lady Knights XC

Photos: Freshman Aislinn Lodwig ended her season with a 59th-place finish, passing 25 runners in the last half-mile at Detweiler Park in Peoria, Ill. on Saturday. Photos by Marshall Farthing

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was an ideal way to wrap up a productive 2011 for Kaneland girls’ cross country.

With six of seven athletes reaching a personal best mark, the Lady Knights unit accumulated a score of 225 at the State race at Detweiler Park in Peoria, Ill., on Saturday, good for eighth place of all Class 2A programs.

Fellow NIB-12 schools Yorkville (74), DeKalb (229) and Dixon (243) finished first, ninth and eleventh, respectively.

It was Sami Staples of Crystal Lake Central taking the individual crown in 17 minutes, seven seconds, but fellow freshman Victoria Clinton nabbed All-State honors with an 11th-place finish at 17:41. The finish includes Clinton as only the fifth girl in KHS history to make an All-State run.

<strong>Victoria Clinton</strong> enjoys her moment after earning All-State honors.

Junior Maggie Brundige ran a PR of 18:29, good for 45th place, 49 seconds better than any previous effort.

Freshman Aislinn Lodwig, who emerged as a talent Kaneland can conceivable count on for three more years, finished 77th at 18:52.

Lodwig passed 25 runners in the last half-mile.

“She had a great finish the last 1,600 meters, and so did all of them,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “That was a hard question to answer (on best race), all seven were great.”

“I just tried to run as fast as I can. It was kind of chilly, and it took me awhile to warm up,” Lodwig said.

With the big finish, Lodwig knows there is more work to come to stay in the mix.

“We can still build up our strength, and there is still a lot more to work on, but we have good coaching,” Lodwig said.

Teammate Abby Dodis was immediately behind Lodwig with the same time for 78th place.

Junior Amanda Lesak ran in 18:53 for 80th place. Sydney Strang finished 99th overall at 19:08, while Ashley Castellanos took 120th at 19:21.

LADY KNIGHTS XC:
Maggie Brundige
Ashley Castellanos
Victoria Clinton
Abby Dodis
Jessica Kucera
Amanda Lesak
Aislinn Lodwig
Anna Piazza
Natasha Ring
Sydney Strang
Carolina Tovar
Head Coach Doug Ecker

Top-15 finish at State for KHS boys

Photo: Conor Johnson tries to create distance between himself and the field at Detweiler Park in Peoria, Ill., on Saturday during the Class 2A State race. The 15th best boys’ cross country program is slated to return five of seven top runners in 2012. Photo by Marshall Farthing

by Mike Slodki
PEORIA—Kaneland’s boys cross country lineup went after the finish line all season long, with the burden of sizable turnover from last year.

Even with factors like that, as well as nagging injuries to key personnel, the Knight harriers made the most of their 15th trip to the State race in 25 years.

With a team total of 371 points, KHS took 15th in all of Class 2A after Saturday’s Detweiler Park gathering in Peoria, Ill.

The seven-deep Knight lineup ran the course with an average time of 16 minutes, 8.1 seconds, and had a pack discrepancy of 57 seconds.

Tops in Class 2A was the always dangerous Belvidere North, with 110 points and four athletes in the top 15. Former Western Sun Conference rival Glenbard South was second at 128, followed by Normal U-High at 173.

NIB-12 mate Yorkville was sixth overall with 209 points. Local outfit Marmion Academy took ninth at 258 points.

Decatur MacArthur’s Michael Clevenger’s 14:26 effort was good for first place, followed by Belvidere North’s Tyler Yunk at 14:32 and Charleston entry Riley McInerney at 14:40.

For Kaneland, the conclusion to 2011 gets it on par with the outstanding fifth-place finish two years ago. In 2010, KHS sent Trevor Holm to State, where he finished 37th.

As he’s done quite often during his sophomore season, Kyle Carter had the top total for the Knights, finishing with the 38th best time of 15:45.

Junior Conor Johnson took 59th with a time of 16 minutes flat, followed by teammate John Meisinger in 60th, one second behind.

Meisinger was impressed at the team’s fortunes.

“This was a big year, we had good team unity and wanted to see what we could do after Trevor left. With all the races, even if you don’t know, you are always improving,” Meisinger said.

Brandon Huber finished 85th at 16:16, while Miroljub Marin took 129th at 16:41. Luis Acosta was 139th overall at 16:48, and Clayton Brundige was 155th at at 17:04.

KNIGHTS XC
Luis Acosta Nick Albano
Ryan Bower Clayton Brundige
Kyle Carter Brandon Huber
Conor Johnson Brad Kigyos
Miroljub Marin John Meisinger
Ryan Paulson Nate Rehkopf
Head Coach Chad Clarey

Knights emerge with 51-45 victory in round one

Photo: Ryan Fuchs (10) makes a key 28-yard catch in the fourth quarter of Friday’s 51-45 slugfest in round one of the Class 5A playoffs. The senior’s grab was his only catch of the game, but continued a drive that ended on a Zack Martinelli touchdown catch. Photo by John DiDonna

KHS has date with St. Francis Spartans in second round
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—On the surface, it wouldn’t seem like a Class 5A No. 16 seed like the Belvidere Bucs would make any kind of a splash in the first-round matchup with the Knights football roster on Friday.

It turned out that it wasn’t until very late in the fourth quarter that Kaneland was able to throw the NIC-10 school out of the playoff pool.

Belvidere (5-5) outgained Kaneland in total yards by a 557-478 count, and had a chance to take the lead late in the fourth, until Knight Kory Harner leapt up and beat his Buc counterpart to the pass, securing a 51-45 win.

“I think that was Kory’s first interception,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “He picked a great time to do it. We just tell the kids to keep playing. They got some things on us, and our kids just kept playing and we made a play at the end.”

Kaneland (10-0) hosts the No. 8 seed St. Francis of Wheaton, who eliminated Burlington Central on Saturday by a final of 27-10.

For Kaneland, this brings coach Fedderly’s postseason mark to 4-3 since taking over the reigns in 2007.

A year ago, Kaneland began its playoff quest with a running clock, 42-0 win over Chicago’s King High School.

The leading rusher for the contest was Buc talent Marcus Gooden, who rushed for 174 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Belvidere had four rushing scores on the night.

However, Kaneland went to a balanced rushing attack that shared the wealth and yielded good things when needed most.

Quinn Buschbacher had 80 yards and two rushing scores, followed by Jesse Balluff with 78 yards and three touchdowns, and quarterback Drew David had 69 yards on 10 tries.

“I think our pass and our running game really complement each other,” David said. “We can’t always rely on the pass to win us games, and we can’t always rely on the run to win us games. Today, we decided we were going to pound it.”

Belvidere QB Troy Vandenbroek was 15-for-25 for 278 yards, with two touchdowns and one pick. David was 13-for-21 for 251 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Sean Carter of KHS had 134 yards receiving on four catches.

KHS scored first on a 43-yard TD run by Buschbacher just 1 minute, 54 seconds into the game, and scored again on a David one-yard sneak with 3:53 left in the frame, with the extra-point attempt botched making it 13-0.

The Bucs stormed back on the first play of the next drive thanks to an 80-yard scamper by Gooden. Gooden gave Belvidere the lead on a three-yard TD run with :17 to go for a 14-13 lead.

Down 17-13, Kaneland went to the rush again and had Balluff score on two one-yard carries within 3:15 of each other, taking a 27-17 lead in the second. Vandenbroek closed the first-half scoring with a nine-yard run with :24 left to close within 27-24.

In the third quarter, David found Zack Martinelli for a 14-yard strike with 9:32 to go for a 34-24 lead. With 1:12 to go in the frame, Buschbacher scored from four yards out to go up 41-24.

Kaneland players and fans alike had to withstand a feisty fourth quarter as Belvidere didn’t go away.

Reed Greiter caught a 17-yard TD pass with 10:01 to go to close within 41-31. After getting the ball back on a pick, Vandenbroek ran for a 40-yard score on the next play to make it 41-38 with 9:46 to go.

Buschbacher then took the ensuing kickoff 94 yards down to the one, where Balluff plunged in for a 48-38 lead with 9:26 to go.

Kyle Harris caught a 38-yard TD pass to close within 48-45 with 8:15 to go. Jake Razo recovered the onside kick attempt, and Matt Rodriguez kicked a 40-yard field goal to set things at 51-45 with 5:19 to go.

Belvidere drove into KHS territory, and on a 2nd-and-20 from the Knight 33, Harner came up with the crucial pick, leading to Kaneland running out the clock.

Kory Harner (43) was part of a defense that had given up 73 points in its last six quarters of football. Notwithstanding, the Knights defense still needed to make a big play, and Harner came through. Harner’s first interception of the year stopped a Belvidere drive on Friday that had advanced to the Kaneland 33-yard line. The Knights ran out the clock, and now prepare for St. Francis this Saturday, Nov. 5, in Maple Park.

The next challenge for the Knights, on Saturday, Nov. 5, takes place at 7 p.m.

The winner of the Knight-Spartan contest faces either Sycamore or Rochelle the following week.

The road ahead
The 4 remaining Northern Illinois Big XII teams went 2-2 in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.

Kaneland 51 vs. Belvidere 45

Morris 35 vs. Morton 24

Sycamore 36 vs. King 29

Rochelle 43 vs. Urban Prep 41

Conference chase complete

Photo: Dylan Nauert chases Morris QB Austin Feeney during Kaneland’s 31-28 victory. Kaneland’s 9-0 mark brings forth a conference title and a date with visiting Belvidere on Friday, Oct. 28. Photo by John DiDonna

Early lead holds up for NIB-12 East champs in 31-28 win in Morris
by Mike Slodki
MORRIS—All that stood between a second consecutive Northern Illinois Big XII East division championship for undefeated Kaneland was fellow undefeated juggernaut Morris.

On Friday in Grundy County, only one undefeated football outfit stood tall: the Knights.

Storming out to a 24-0 halftime lead in a first half that saw the Redskins gather just 30 yards, the Knights clung to the lead after Morris scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

But an emphasis on the run and two key interceptions had the Knights emerge the 31-28 victor.

The Knights finished the 2011 regular season campaign with a 9-0 mark and a 5-0 NIB-12 slate, cinching their second straight conference crown and the No. 1 overall team on the IHSA Playoff Points scale in Class 5A.

“It’s huge, and I’m so proud of our kids,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “Coming into the season and losing all the kids that we had, we didn’t know what we had, but we knew we had a lot of talent.”

Morris finished 8-1 with a 4-1 mark in NIB-12 play.

Kaneland continues to roll on the Maple Park grass, finshing their second straight undefeated season.

The Knights have now won 19 regular season games in a row, and 22 of their last 25 contests in regular and post season.

Kaneland found out Saturday that with the No. 1 seed, it’ll host 16th-seeded Belvidere High School on Friday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. at Peterson Field.

Morris, meanwhile, hosts Morton High School on the same night in the upper half of the 5A bracket.

In sophomore action, Morris defeated Kaneland by a 12-6 final.

The varsity Knights outgained the host Redkins by a 328-288 margin, while being almost even in passing yardage, 232-219.

KHS quarterback Drew David was 16-for-32 on the day, with four TD throws, while counterpart Austin Feeney was 20-for-30 for 219 yards and three touchdowns, but had four picks.

David also rushed for a game-high 54 yards.

Sean Carter had 161 yards on five catches, and three touchdowns to go along with an interception.

“We knew Morris was a good team,” Carter said. “They are a hard-hitting team, but once we had that first quarter, we just got on a roll.”

Any second-half score against the Redskins would have been nice, but in Sean Carter’s case, it was the difference. His sideline catch-and-run in the fourth quarter gave KHS a 31-14 edge. Carter led the Knights with 161 yards on the evening.

Morris struggled to get things going in a friendly atmosphere, and Kaneland’s second drive yielded a 22-yard field goal by kicker Matt Rodriguez for a 3-0 edge.

One of the most significant halves of football for Kaneland this season continued in the second quarter and led to three touchdowns. David found Zack Martinelli for 13 yards, as well as Carter from 53 and 3 yards out, to take a 24-0 lead by the end of the half.

Morris finally got into the contest and on the board when on the opening drive of the second half, the Redskins drove 77 yards in 16 plays. Anthonee Monson caught a fourth-down, 19-yard TD pass with 4:10 to go to make it 24-7.

Morris amped up the attack and scored on its next drive, thanks to Feeney’s six-yard touchdown with 9:51 remaining to make it 31-21.

Kaneland struck again when Carter caught a 63-yard TD pass to end a four-play drive with 7:39 remaining to make it 31-14.

Morris answered three plays later when Feeney found Jake Ruettiger for a 33-yard touchdown to set matters at 31-21 with 6:37 to go.

Blake Bradford came up with a key interception after Morris recovered an onside kick, but KHS was forced to punt. Morris closed out the scoring with 2:18 to go on a 20-yard TD pass to Danny Friend.

Knight Jake Razo recovered the Redskin onside kick attempt, leading to a drive that saw David lose the ball on the grass, but the officiating crew ruled him down before the fumble.

A couple of additional runs set the result in stone and a jovial Kaneland crew celebrated, for one week anyway.

The playoff landscape is plentiful for the Northern Illinois Big XII this weekend, as Rochelle and Sycamore have action this weekend.

The Hubs, as a 13th seed, travel to Gately Stadium in Chicago to face Urban Prep Charter on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 4 p.m.

12th-seeded Sycamore plays at Lane Stadium in Chicago at the same time against King High School, the Knights’ first-round opponent a year ago.

The winner of the KHS-Belvidere clash is slated to face either (8) St. Francis of Wheaton, or (9) Burlington Central.

Volleyball falls in regional to Glenbard S. in three games

Photo: Katy Dudzinski (left) and teammate Keri Groen show their blocking skills during the annual Spikefest on Saturday, in which KHS took third place. The Lady Knights’ season concluded on Tuesday. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—In coach Todd Weimer’s regime, the fact that Kaneland was one point away from a regional match victory shows the significant progress KHS has made on the court.

However, it remained at one point on Tuesday, as third-seeded Glenbard South staged a four-point rally on its way to a 19-25, 25-17, 26-24 thriller at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, Ill.

The Lady Raiders face regional host St. Francis on Thursday, Oct. 27.

Kaneland finished the season at 19-15, matching last year’s total, with a 6-4 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII play.

After a 15-4 start to 2011, KHS dropped 11 of its last 15 contests against a stacked schedule.

Kaneland fell behind in game one 14-9 before closing to 17-14. KHS then scored 10 in a row and closed it on a Katy Dudzinski kill for game point.

The Lady Knights fell behind as GS rallied in game two, down 24-15 before the Raiders cinched it.

An even third game saw good front line play, but Glenbard South made good on its service time. Kaneland was down 19-14, but rallied to tie it at 21 and take a 24-22 lead, but could score no more.

“We just couldn’t get out of it, and we’re very disappointed,” Weimer said. “We had a bunch of curveballs thrown at us, some injuries and mismatches. I’m upset that we lost, we really wanted to play St. Francis. It’s hard.”

Kaneland also hosted the annual Spikefest on Saturday out at Harter Middle School in Sugar Grove, finishing in fourth place out of eight squads with a 2-3 record.

Weimer’s Lady Knights took care of Aurora Christian 25-20, 25-10, and Hampshire 26-24, 25-7, before losing to tournament champ Metea Valley 25-19, 22-25, 15-9, and then Oswego East 25-20, 25-16. KHS fell to Geneva in the third-place game by a final of 26-24, 25-6.

Metea Valley beat Oswego East in the championship match 25-18, 25-23.

Kylie Siebert and Katy Dudzinski were named to the 2011 All-Tournament team.

Siebert had 80 digs during the tournament, giving her 1,100 digs throughout her KHS career with 12 assists and 10 aces. Katy Dudzinski had 32 kills, giving her 839 for her KHS tenure, and 14 digs, while Ashley Prost added 38 assists and 26 digs.

Against Yorkville on Thursday in the East gym, Kaneland suffered a 25-17, 17-25, 25-22 loss.

KHS says goodbye to seniors Siebert, Dudzinski, Kourtni Bingley, Malory Groen and Fabrizius.

Fifth place at own regional good for boys XC

Photo courtesy YorkvilleCrossCountry.com

by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—When you deal with boys cross-country rosters like Yorkville and Crystal Lake Central, the squeeze for sectionals can be a bit crowded.

Luckily, Kaneland’s crew can worry about Sectionals as an active participant.

The Knights, thanks to a 127-point output, took fifth place at the 2A regional at Elburn Woods on Saturday morning and are headed to Belvidere’s sectional.

The Foxes had 36 points, followed by CLC with 71, DeKalb with 117 and Burlington Central with 118.

Other teams advancing to this weekend were Aurora Central Catholic (138) and Sycamore (142).

Crystal Lake Central entry Alex Baker, a junior, was tops on the traditionally hilly course with a time of 15 minutes, 47 seconds, ahead of Rocket Clint Kliem by 3.3 seconds.

For the Knights, sophomore Kyle Carter came through again with a time of 16:33.1, good for ninth overall.

Junior John Meisinger was next in 16th place with a time of 16:55.2.

Knight junior Brandon Huber was 22nd with a time of 17:08.7.

Conor Johnson of KHS took 34th with a time of 17:25.4.

Knights coach Chad Clarey would like to see more of an effective punch lineup-wide. “We qualified as a team for the Sectional, obviously the most important factor of the day. We’ll go back to work this week, freshen up and make a run for the top five (Saturday) in Belvidere.”

The Saturday, Oct. 29, race begins at 11 a.m., and also features schools like Grayslake Central, Richmond-Burton, and other Northern Illinois Big XII schools like Dixon, Sterling and Rochelle.

Lady Knights XC sees season continue with third place

Photo: The KHS girls XC team practices Tuesday in preparation for the Belvidere Sectional this Saturday. Photo by Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It would take a team effort to make it out of one of the premier girls cross-country regionals in Illinois.

For Kaneland, that effort was solid enough to garner third place in Saturday’s Elburn Woods clash.

Kaneland’s 84 points was behind champ Yorkville’s 39 and Crystal Lake Central’s 84.

Other advancing teams are DeKalb at 99, Sycamore at 144, Woodstock at 189 and Hampshire at 203.

DeKalb sophomore Kelsey Schrader took the Regional mantle at 18 minutes, 14.9 seconds, which was 10.5 seconds ahead of the closest competitor.

Freshman Victoria Clinton of Kaneland continued to make leaps and bounds of progress with an eighth-place finish of 19:16.7.

Teammate Maggie Brundige had a 14th-place day with a time of 19:35.5.

Aislinn Lodwig, another of Kaneland’s talented freshmen, finished 20th at 19:51.8.

“(We) had several girls under the weather, but they still managed a third-place finish in the toughest 2A regional in the State,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said.

The Saturday, Oct. 29, gathering hosted by Belvidere kicks off at 10 a.m.

Knight boys XC takes to Sterling, Byron

KANELAND—At Byron, Kaneland’s 31 points was tops for the meet, above Byron’s 62. Richmond-Burton’s 68-point total was good for third.

With groups shooting out of the gate at 20 second intervals, Kaneland’s Gus Stott took the top spot for the Knights, followed by Nick Albano in fourth.

In Saturday’s Sterling Invite, the freshman-sophomore roster ran to a fourth-place finish with 121 points. Sophomore Kyle Carter’s 16 minute, seven second time was good for second, followed by teammate Luis Acosta, who finished seventh at 16:53.

The varsity group heads off to the second annual Northern Illinois Big XII meet, hosted by Geneseo High School, on Saturday, Oct. 15.

A year ago at Elburn Woods, Kaneland finished seventh out of 12 teams, with the Yorkville Foxes taking the mantle.