Tag Archives: Sarah Grams

WCC_Coach

Waubonsee’s Wagner feels good about collecting 200

Waubonsee Community College head women’s basketball coach Dana Wagner celebrated her 200th victory recently. She is a 1992 Kaneland graduate that went on to play at Aurora University. Courtesy/File Photo

Kaneland alum’s milestone victory paves way for memorable year
SUGAR GROVE—To illustrate how Waubonsee Community College women’s basketball coach Dana Wagner approached a milestone 200th coaching victory, which occurred on Dec. 8, it was almost an afterthought.

“(Sports information specialist) Steve Moga told me before the season that I was going to get it, and I forgot about it for awhile,” Wagner said. “It was a road victory and the girls and team moms got together and signed a frame picture they took. It was a nice surprise.”
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The 73-68 win over the St. Ambrose University varsity team is one of many highlights so far for the 9-5 Lady Chiefs, featuring former Kaneland standouts Sarah Grams and Brooke Harner.

“These girls work hard and buy into the system, and it pays off,” Wagner said. “It’s been a good year for the transition game, and the way we run the floor has been great.”

In her 15th year, Wagner will step down at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, as Waubonsee has enacted a rule that coaching positions will be for non-full-time staff members.

“It’s bittersweet, which is why it’s nice to have this good year. We’ll move onto the next phase, and I’m excited for the future,” Wagner said. “I’m excited to go on a different path.”

Wagner works as Waubonsee’s Assistant Athletic Manager, runs Waubonsee’s intramural programs, handles all of the school’s on-campus athletic events and is facilities coordinator for the hoops squad’s home, Erickson Hall.
With Erickson Hall undergoing renovation to hold a 59,000-square-foot fieldhouse, Wagner’s duties involve that heavy undertaking that benefits Waubonsee athletics in the long run.

“It’s great for recruiting when you walk these kids through the facility. It’s going to be unbelievable, that building will be my ‘real job’ and take up a lot of time after this year,” Wagner said.
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Not only involved in area basketball, since her days as a player at Kaneland, Wagner has worked with many standouts that have seen her evolve as player and coach.

“When I got this job, the first person I coached was Dick Rink (former KHS girls basketball head and assistant coach). I asked him to be my assistant coach after that, and I think we tried adding the number of games he and I had been involved with. It was too many,” Wagner said.

A member of Kaneland’s Class of 1992, Wagner was an All-Little Seven Conference selection in basketball. She then went on to star for Aurora University as a three-time NCAA Division III All-American, was selected the Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference (NIIC) Player of the Year three times, and was named Aurora’s Female Athlete of the Year three times. Wagner remains the Spartans’ all-time leading scorer with 1,693.

With 200 victories, and more looked for as Waubonsee makes its way through Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference action and beyond, Wagner can not only look over a memorable moment, but a memorable coaching tenure. The accomplished coach will just be in the market of bettering WCC rather than just a girls’ roster.

“You have girls that come in here and want to play and don’t want to spend a lot of money, be closer to home, and get their gen-eds done,” Wagner said. “A lot of area girls basketball teams are getting better and starting younger. The hard work pays off. I’m moving on, and looking at the positive.”

Softball returns to regular action

Following weather delays and road trip, KHS finds consistency
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was good to finally take to the softball diamond on Illinois soil. The experience on Thursday was made even better with a handy win. With Ellissa Eckert’s effort on the mound and key hitting in scoring position, the Lady Knights beat the host Rochelle roster by a 10-4 final on Thursday.

In Rochelle, things escalated quickly for the Kaneland bats, as two of the first three hitters reached on errors. With two runners in scoring position, Lanie Callaghan knocked a single for a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Sarah Grams hit a single for two more runs and a 3-0 lead.

In the top of the third and with a 3-1 lead, Haley Contorno was hit by a pitch and came home on an RBI triple from Grams. Eckert then helped her own cause with a squeeze play that ended in a run scored and a 5-1 edge.

In the top of the fifth and with Rochelle closing to within 5-2, Callaghan tripled and Meg Cohrs walked. After a stolen base put runners in scoring position, Grams’ single resulted in her fourth RBI of the day. After a grounder to third by Eckert, the lead increased to 7-1 in the fifth.

A steadfast hitter, Grams was just glad to contribute to the offensive effort on the day.

“I was just happy I put the ball in play and on the ground so my runners could actually score,” Grams said. “That was my main concern, just putting it in play so I could get runners in.”

Paige Kuefler’s RBI double and an RBI single by Cohrs gave Kaneland a 10-2 lead in the sixth to cinch matters.

KHS coach Brian Willis said that any quality at-bat helps the squad after a start-and-stop beginning to 2013.

“Certainly Sarah was seeing the ball well,” Willis said. “I thought we struggled a little bit with our timing today. We did have a few good quality at-bats and that helped us at the right time.”

Against former conference rival Batavia, Kaneland scored 11 runs in the first inning, three more in the second, one in the third and two in the fourth. Eckert improved to 4-0 on the season.

West Aurora failed to hit Lady Knight sophomore Anissa Becker on Monday, and fell in the 1-0 squeaker.

Against Yorkville on Tuesday, the Lady Knights held a 3-1 lead until the top of the seventh, when Yorkville put up three runs to take the lead and steal the victory. KHS suffered from seven errors in the game.

Eckert took the loss on the mound, spreading eight hits over seven innings of work, and surrendering just two unearned runs. Allyson O’Herron led the team from the plate, hitting 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Kaneland now stands at 7-2 overall, 1-1 in Northern Illinois Big XII East Division play.

Future action for KHS has the Lady Knights traveling to Morris for a conference tilt on Thursday, April 11, at 4:30 p.m.

Heartbreak central

Photo: Emma Bradford (32) gets ready to launch a shot in the third quarter against Plano on Feb. 13. The varsity girls reached the second round of regionals but came up just short, losing 52-51. Photo by John DiDonna

Fast, furious comeback falls 1 point short to Plano in Regional
by Mike Slodki
BURLINGTON—It was almost a comeback for the ages.

Instead, it’s a feeling of sadness that will last the offseason.

On Feb. 13, at the Class 3A Burlington Central Regional, the Lady Knights’ 20-point comeback attempt was almost complete, but Aly O’Herron’s three-point try off an inbounds pass with 1.5 seconds remaining clanked off the side of the rim, leaving KHS on the short end of a 52-51 loss to the Plano Lady Reapers (22-7).

Burlington Central upended Plano in the regional final on Friday by a final of 38-34.

Kaneland’s journey fell short at 16-11, a year after advancing to the Sycamore Sectional final against Belvidere North.

Ashley Prost paced all scorers with 22 points off 11-of-15 shooting. Kaneland was 21-of-51 from the line.

Albana Hoti of Plano led the Lady Reapers with 12 points.

KHS had the ball with 9.5 seconds left, but an Emma Bradford layup attempt was blocked out of bounds with 1.5, setting up the final play.

“We had two options: an inside look and an outside look,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “(O’Herron) was our outside look; we got a shot and that’s all you can ask for.”

Plano ambushed Kaneland in the first quarter thanks to five treys, including three from Hoti, and went on a 13-0 run to lead 22-6 after one, and kept the lead to 30-14 at halftime.

Kaneland was down 42-27 after three quarters, but turned on the juice for a 24-10 run spanning the entire fourth frame.

“It was no one adjustment we made, we just starting getting a bit more composure,” Colombe said.

KHS scored the first eight points of the quarter to cut the lead to seven, then Brooke Harner, Grams and Prost hit baskets.

Down 48-42, Caroline Heimerdinger hit a rainbow three, followed by another basket 48 seconds later to make it 50-47. Prost’s shot with 1:45 to go cut it to 50-49, and marked the end of five consecutive shots made.

Heimerdinger and O’Herron had chances for a go-ahead shot but couldn’t connect.

Prost’s shot with 35.6 to go made the final one-point margin after two Lady Reaper free throws with 48.6 left.

Kaneland says goodbye to Grams, Prost, Ashley Castellanos, Harner, O’Herron and Bradford due to graduation.

“They’re leaders,” Colombe said. “They’re six kids who play with heart, and they’re leaders who will do well whatever they do in life.”

The scoreboard says it all as Kaneland varsity girls dropped a hearbreaker to Plano in the second round of regional action at Burlington on Wednesday, February 13. Photo by John DiDonna
The scoreboard says it all as Kaneland varsity girls dropped a hearbreaker to Plano in the second round of regional action at Burlington on Wednesday, February 13.
Photo by John DiDonna
Brooke Harner goes up for a shot to bring Kaneland closer in the fourth quarter against Plano in the second round of regional action at Burlington on Wednesday, February 13. Photo by John DiDonna
Brooke Harner goes up for a shot to bring Kaneland closer in the fourth quarter against Plano in the second round of regional action at Burlington on Wednesday, February 13.
Photo by John DiDonna
Caroline Heimerdinger drives down the court in the first quarter during Kaneland's regional game against Plano. Photo by John DiDonna
Caroline Heimerdinger drives down the court in the first quarter during Kaneland’s regional game against Plano.
Photo by John DiDonna
Sarah Grams looks to pass in the second quarter of Kaneland's close regional game against Plano at Burlington on Wednesday, February 13. Photo by John DiDonna
Sarah Grams looks to pass in the second quarter of Kaneland’s close regional game against Plano at Burlington on Wednesday, February 13.
Photo by John DiDonna
Emma Bradford (32) gets ready to launch a shot in the third quarter against Plano on Feb. 13. The  varsity girls reached the  second round of regionals but came up just short,  losing  52-51. Photo by  John DiDonna
Emma Bradford (32) gets ready to launch a shot in the third quarter against Plano on Feb. 13. The
varsity girls reached the
second round of regionals but came up just short,
losing
52-51.
Photo by
John DiDonna
Brooke Harner looses track of the ball in the second quarter of the Lady Knight's hard fought regional game against Plano at Burlington on Wednesday, February 13. Photo by John DiDonna
Brooke Harner looses track of the ball in the second quarter of the Lady Knight’s hard fought regional game against Plano at Burlington on Wednesday, February 13.
Photo by John DiDonna

Back on track

Photo: Brittany Kemp moves the ball around an IMSA defender during Kaneland’s 52-19 romp on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Girls secure NIB12 win in Yorkville, smash IMSA
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—At the very least, Kaneland girls basketball won’t be headed into the season’s homestretch on the way down.

After a 7-0 beginning to the season, KHS had been mired in a stretch that saw them go 5-10.

This weekend brought a much-needed refuge from that slide, as the Lady Knights took it to Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora on Saturday by a final of 52-19, and also involved a bit of revenge on Yorkville in a 42-35 Friday win.

Kaneland also travelled to Marengo on Tuesday night, where the Lady Knights dominated in a 50-34 win.

The Lady Knights are 15-10 and 5-4 in Northern Illinois Big XII action, with just one regular season game left.

Against the Lady Titans, the Kaneland crew was down 6-2 early in the first quarter before tying the score at 6-6 by the end of the frame and going on a 35-2 run to cinch it. The run included a 19-0 third frame in favor of Kaneland.

KHS went 19-of-54 from the field and 11 players found the scoring column, with Aly O’Herron and Sarah Grams putting up eight points each.

Facing Yorkville, which earned a Jan. 4 victory in Maple Park, the Lady Knights began matching shot for shot against the Lady Foxes and were tied at eight after the first quarter.

In the second, Ashley Prost’s long two-pointer with 4:43 to go in the half made it 15-12. Vanessa Gould’s conversion off an Emma Bradford feed with 3:09 left made it 17-14, and Brooke Harner’s steal and basket with 1:39 closed out the second quarter scoring at 19-14.

KHS maintained the lead and got two key baskets from Bradford to up the lead to six with 50.1 ticks left, and Kaneland saw itself up 28-22 after three.

The Lady Knights helped themselves with three-pointers from Grams and O’Herron in the fourth, and went 8-of-10 from the foul line to put it out of reach. KHS saw as big as an eight-point lead in the close affair.

“We played together today,” Bradford said. “One of the girls said ‘we played as a fist today and not a hand.’ We were on the same page today and it really worked out.”

KHS coach Ernie Colombe saw the win as welcome, especially after stifling personnel like Mackenzie Bollinger to 10 points.

“The team rose to the challenge. We talked about rebounding, and we rebounded well. We still had a few too many turnovers, but we got better in that area and stepped up,” Colombe said.

Tuesday saw another solid effort from the Lady Knights, as they turned a two-point first-quarter advantage into a 19-point lead after three. Kaneland’s defense held Marengo to just four points in the second period, and they added to the lead with a 10-point third-period advantage.

Bradford led the way with 14 points and seven rebounds. Post also reached double figures, with 10 points to go with eight rebounds. O’Herron added seven and Harner put up six. Grams scored five and contributed a season-high seven assists. Kelly Wallner chipped in four points, and Ally VanBogaert and Marina Schaeffer each put in two.

Kaneland goes to Rochelle on Thursday, Feb. 7, before playing Sandwich on Tuesday, Feb. 12, as part of the Class 3A Burlington Central Regional.

Brittany Kemp moves the ball around an IMSA defender during Kaneland's 52-19 romp on Saturday, February 2. Photo by Patti Wilk
Brittany Kemp moves the ball around an IMSA defender during Kaneland’s 52-19 romp on Saturday, February 2.
Photo by Patti Wilk
Ashley Castellanos (12) , Brittany Kemp (35) and Katherine Brinkman (10) run a tight defense against IMSA on Saturday, February 2. The Lady Knights dominated, winning 52-19. Photo by Patti Wilk
Ashley Castellanos (12) , Brittany Kemp (35) and Katherine Brinkman (10) run a tight defense against IMSA on Saturday, February 2. The Lady Knights dominated, winning 52-19.
Photo by Patti Wilk
An IMSA defender hits the deck while Jessica Jablonski (43) takes off and Ashley Castellanos (12) grabs the ball in the fouth quarter of Kaneland's 52-19 win Saturday, February 2. Photo by Patti Wilk
An IMSA defender hits the deck while Jessica Jablonski (43) takes off and Ashley Castellanos (12) grabs the ball in the fouth quarter of Kaneland’s 52-19 win Saturday, February 2.
Photo by Patti Wilk
Ashley Prost drives to the hoop on the way to a score in the third quarter of Kaneland's 52-19 win at IMSA on Saturday, February 2. Photo by Patti Wilk
Ashley Prost drives to the hoop on the way to a score in the third quarter of Kaneland’s 52-19 win at IMSA on Saturday, February 2.
Photo by Patti Wilk
Kelly Wallner shrugs off an IMSA defender and goes to the hoop in the fourth quarter at IMSA on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk
Kelly Wallner shrugs off an IMSA defender and goes to the hoop in the fourth quarter at IMSA on Saturday.
Photo by Patti Wilk
The scoreboard says it all late in the game as Katherine Brinkman (10) drives to the basket in the fourth quarter of Kaneland's 52-19 win at IMSA. Photo by Patti Wilk
The scoreboard says it all late in the game as Katherine Brinkman (10) drives to the basket in the fourth quarter of Kaneland’s 52-19 win at IMSA.
Photo by Patti Wilk

Girls hoops run over Redskin rival

Photo: Brooke Harner (22) passes out of a crowd to teammate Vanessa Gould (14) in the first quarter against Morris on Tuesday evening. Photo by Patti Wilk

Second-half explosion neutralizes previous
loss to Ottawa

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Tuesday evening in Maple Park was exhibit “A” on how fortunes can change on a dime.

Kaneland and Morris met for the first time since their meeting in the Ottawa Holiday Tournament in late December, and were embroiled in a hotly contested Northern Illinois Big XII outing that saw the visitors up 26-25 at halftime.

Five steals and three three-point plays began the third quarter and shifted the contest into Kaneland’s favor as it outscored the Redskins 27-6 in the third, on the way to a 65-32 shellacking.

The win did its part to take the sting off of a 50-30 loss to host Ottawa on Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Knights are now 12-7 and 4-3 in the Northern Illinois Big XII.

Vanessa Gould hit a basket on a putback, and Emma Bradford hit a foul shot to give Kaneland a 12-9 lead over Morris with 1:08 to go in the first until Morris launched a three-pointer with 42.1 left to tie the score at 12. The first quarter ended with the same score.

Morris withstood baskets by Brooke Harner (career-high 15 points) and a three-point play by Sarah Grams to tie it at 23 with 2:33 left in the half.

Bradford hit a basket to give KHS a 25-23 lead before a Morris trifecta with 1:44 to go in the half sent Kaneland down one.

The third quarter began with KHS on a 12-0 run thanks to a three by Aly O’Herron (22 points), a three-point play by Grams, a three-point play by O’Herron and a three-point play by Harner to give KHS a 37-26 lead with 5:45 to go in the frame. A second flurry with two Harner foul shots, a Bradford basket, a Caroline Heimerdinger shot and two more Harner free throws extended the lead to 45-28 with 3:35 to go.

“In the second half, we realized we were a better team than this, and we need to play better,” O’Herron said.

To add an exclamation point on the third-quarter, O’Herron caught an inbound pass with one tick left and nailed another trifecta to give KHS a 52-32 lead after three.

“I was supposed to screen and run across and I saw nobody around me, so I was like, ‘Caroline, here,’ and my eyes lit up,” O’Herron said.

Kaneland forced Morris into a scoreless fourth quarter and an 0-for-9 stretch from the field as the Lady Knights put up 13 more points of their own.

“I think the girls were disappointed in the first half and came out better on defense in the second half,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “They stepped up in the second half. Any time you hold a team to six points in a half at this level, it’s excellent.”

Ashley Prost led the Lady Knights with 10 points against the Ottawa counterparts, but KHS struggled with a 12-for-39 effort from the field, and 6-of-23 from the charity stripe.

KHS was down 17-9 after one and 28-14 at the half. Ottawa was up 36-21 after three before the final frame.

On Friday, Jan. 18, Kaneland faces host Sycamore at 7 p.m.

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Back to even

Photo: Kaneland’s Brooke Harner played tough defense against Burlington on Saturday at home. Photo by John DiDonna

Comeback win over Rochelle evens KHS conference mark
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Bouncing back from adversity could be the difference in later games this season, and Kaneland girls basketball put it into practice this past Friday and Saturday as the calendar switched to 2013.

Friday saw a laboring battle against visiting Yorkville, and KHS fell 39-26. Kaneland rebounded on Saturday with a 56-53 win over Burlington Central.

Down five late against visiting Rochelle on Tuesday, the Lady Knights went on a 12-0 run spanning the fourth quarter and overtime in a 54-47 overtime win.

Kaneland now sits at 11-6 (3-3 Northern Illinois Big XII).

KHS shot just 10-for-41 against the Lady Foxes and scored just two points in the third quarter of play.

Aly O’Herron and Emma Bradford paced the Lady Knights with six points each, while Corrine Rowe had a game-high 10 points for YHS.

Yorkville was up 11-8 after one quarter and 22-19 after the first half of play before leaving the third quarter with a 31-21 lead. Yorkville outscored Kaneland 8-5 in the final eight minutes to cinch it.

Against BC, Ashley Prost and Bradford had 12 points each, while Sarah Grams added 10.

Despite shooting just 12-of-46 from the field, the Lady Knights converted 31-of-39 foul shots.

The two squads were tied at 8-8 after one, and Kaneland led 23-18 after a half before BC closed within 32-30 after three. BC sent it to an extra period by outscoring Kaneland 14-12 before KHS outscored the Lady Rockets 12-9 in OT.

Against Rochelle, Kaneland was down 24-22 at halftime. The two squads exchanged baskets until Grams hit two straight and O’Herron stole and converted to tie the score at 30.

Rochelle scored with 1:56 to go to take a two-point lead before Brooke Harner’s offensive putback tied the game with 3.8 left in the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Michelle Dobbs of Rochelle hit a bucket and then hit one-of-two foul shots for a 36-32 edge with 4:33 to play. The Lady Hubs hit four of six free throws down the stretch for a 41-36 lead with 47.6 seconds remaining in the game. O’Herron responded by launching a rainbow perimeter attempt that connected with 40.3 to go, making it 41-39. Prost tied the game at 41-41 with a basket converted off a steal with 20.9 to go, and Rochelle missed on two shot attempts near the end.

In the extra four-minute session, Emma Bradford made good on a lay-up, and O’Herron launched a trey for a 46-41 lead with 2:49 left. Prost nailed a pair of free throws to give KHS a 48-41 lead that completed the 12-0 run.

Dobbs hit a bucket and a pair of free throws to close within 48-45 with a minute to play, but a Prost basket, as well as foul shots from O’Herron and Grams, put the contest away after much tension.

“The key to the game was really our composure,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said following the second consecutive OT win. “We got down early. Dobbs is a dynamic scorer, and we wanted to make her work a little bit harder.”

Kaneland plays in Ottawa on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 2:30 p.m.

Photos by John DiDonna:
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Girls leave Ottawa with split

The Kaneland girl’s varsity basketball team ventured to Ottawa for the Holiday Tournament. They beat Morris 38-29 and lost to Pontiac on Saturday, 43-39. File Photo

Colombe contingent nbeats Morris, takes loss vs. Pontiac
by Mike Slodki
OTTAWA—It’s hard to get accustomed to new digs for the holiday season.

Kaneland girls basketball had spent the previous six seasons hooping it up at Oswego East’s tournament in late December, and made its way to Ottawa’s Holiday tournament in 2013.

After splitting the first two contests a week ago in downtown Ottawa, the Lady Knights once again beat conference rival Morris on Friday afternoon by a final of 38-29, before losing to Pontiac, 43-38, in the seventh-place game on Saturday afternoon.

Kaneland’s eighth-place mark out of 12 teams brings the mark to 9-5 as the 2012 part of the season closes out. The Lady Knights have lost five of seven contests after a solid 7-0 beginning to the season.

Joliet Catholic won the tournament after a 49-26 handling of the host Lady Pirates, while Yorkville beat Geneseo, 39-29, in the third-place encounter.

Ashley Prost had 11 points to lead the Lady Knight attack in the win over the Morris, while Amber Winquist-Bailey had eight points off the bench in key minutes.

“It’s nice to stop the slide,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We knew it was going to be a different game, and they moved up a freshman to varsity and she’s one of Morris’ best players.They did a real nice job of defense on us, just getting in there battling.”

Kaneland emerged with a 12-11 lead after the first quarter, but fell behind quickly until Prost’s basket put the lead back to 14-13 just 38 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Sarah Grams’ jumper with 4:35 to go made it 16-13, while Winquist-Bailey’s basket 27 seconds later made it 18-15 and marked the final score of the quarter until a Morris foul shot with 38.3 seconds remaining.

Morris tried its best to push through to the lead, but junior center Kelly Wallner’s free throw, Prost’s bucket and Emma Bradford’s shot had KHS at a 23-20 advantage with 4:56 to go in the third. Later, Morris sliced the lead to two, but another Winquist-Bailey basket made it 27-23 with 17.9 remaining, closing out the third frame’s scoring.

Yet another key Winquist-Bailey conversion gave KHS a 29-23 lead with 6:24 to go, and the Lady Knights never looked back. Grams’ shot with 4:48 to go gave KHS a 10-point lead with 4:48 left, and her two foul shots with 52.2 left gave the Lady Knights their largest lead of the night at 37-26. Kaneland was 4-for-5 from the field and hit six of eight from the charity stripe to seal it.

“Amber had a nice spark in the game, and we all just cleared our heads and we focused on what we needed to do,” Prost said.

The Lady Knights’ break continues until Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, when they host rival Yorkville.

Kaneland begins Ottawa journey

3-game skid ends with win over Sandwich
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland Lady Knights basketball endured a three-game skid last week, but still has enough of a pedigree to be a highly looked at team from the area.

KHS began the current season winning its first seven.

Then came last week’s losses to DeKalb and Antioch, and the Lady Knights had to endure another loss to Geneseo High School on Saturday as part of the Ottawa Tournament.

However, the ship was righted with a better result against Sandwich later that day.

The Lady Knights sit at 8-4 (2-2 Northern Illinois Big XII).

“We played solid defensively in all three losses, we played against three tough teams,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We had a chance in all three games; it came down to missing some shots at key moments in the game.”

Kaneland slogged through a 37-33 loss in pool play down in Ottawa to NIB-12 crossover foe Geneseo.

Geneseo led matters 11-6 after one, but KHS tied the score at 15 going into the break. The Maple Leafs were up 25-20 after three before the Lady Knights outscored Geneseo 13-12 to no avail.

Kaneland was 11-for-36 from the field and committed 14 turnovers on the game.

Ashley Prost had a team-high 12 points, while Aly O’Herron had 11 points supplied in part by three three-pointers. Teammate Brooke Harner had five steals on the defensive end in a losing effort.

More up the KHS alley was the 60-30 win over the Interstate Eight Conference stalwart Sandwich program.

Kaneland was 23-for-41 from the field and led by Prost’s 16 points, with 11 Lady Knights seeing the scoring column.

Kaneland’s Sarah Grams added five assists in the win. Reserve Marina Schaefer had eight points and five boards, as well.

Tuesday saw Kaneland drop its second game in a week to DeKalb in a 38-22 loss at home.

The DeKalb “D” was too much for the Lady Knights, as they saw a 10-7 first-quarter deficit extend to 19-7 at halftime. KHS was unable to come back in the second half.

Prost led Kaneland with 8 points and 4 rebounds.

The Ottawa gathering resumes on Friday, Dec. 21, with Kaneland set to square off against Joliet Catholic, LaSalle-Peru or Morris at 3 p.m.

KHS had previously called Oswego East High School its holiday tournament home since the 2006-07 season before hitting Ottawa this season.

Lady Knight streak ends

Photos by Patti Wilk

Kaneland’s season-opening win streak falls in loss to DeKalb
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—The opening season unbeaten streak for the Lady Knights basketball team came to an end Tuesday against DeKalb, but not before earning a tough overtime win over Sycamore last Thursday.

After navigating through a tough and tight battle and seeing the game almost slip away with under a second remaining, the Lady Knights used an extra quarter to dispense of visiting Sycamore on Thursday, 44-37.

Middle presence Ashley Prost paced the Lady Knights with 11 points, while Lauren Goff of Sycamore had a game-high 12.

Kaneland was 15-for-40 from the field on Thursday, but 13-for-18 from the foul line.

The fourth quarter began with Kaneland up 24-22, and a Sarah Grams pull-up jumper eventually gave KHS a 32-27 lead, but two baskets by the Lady Spartans made it 32-31 with 2:58 remaining.

Two foul shots by Grams with 1:41 to go extended the lead to 34-31, but an SHS basket with 28.3 to go made it 34-33.

Sycamore would get one last possession, and a Prost foul sent the visitors to the line with .1 second left.

“It wasn’t a position we wanted to be in,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We just got fortunate and caught a break.”

After the front end of the two shots was made, it was on to overtime, where Brooke Harner scored the first two baskets and KHS kept the lead doing with foul shots from Aly O’Herron, Prost and Grams.

“Our main goal is to make the other team take a time out within the first two minutes and keep up the defense, and the offense will follow after,” Harner said.

Kaneland led 10-8 after one quarter, and trailed 14-13 at halftime.

“They had us dribbling too much early on, kind of got us frustrated. They had us throwing the ball for longer passes than we wanted to, and they got to us that way,” Colombe said.

In the third, baskets by Prost and Harner, along with a free throw from Emma Bradford, gave KHS a 20-16 lead.

Marina Schaefer’s two baskets made it 24-19 with 1:14 left, setting the state for the final quarter.

The streak ended at seven games when DeKalb stifled the Lady Knights offense. Kaneland fell 31-17 in a game that saw just three Kaneland players change the scoreboard.

Bradford led the way with 11 points, O’Herron contributed five points, and Marina Schaeffer added one.

Kaneland sits at 7-1 (2-1 Northern Illinois Big XII). The team gets set for a new holiday tourney entry beginning Saturday, Dec. 15, with the Ottawa Tournament.

KHS fall sports announce awards

Kaneland—The Kaneland High School fall sports programs recently concluded their respective awards nights.

Cross Country—Boys
• Most Valuable Runner: Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson
• Most Improved Runner: Nathaniel Kucera
• Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength—Nick Messina
• Captains—Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson, Brad Kigyos
• Golden Knight Award—Freshman: Kyle Osborne; Sophomore: Andrew Lesak; Junior: Ryan Bower; Senior: Gus Stott
• State Qualifiers—Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson, Nathaniel Kucera, John Meisinger, Ryan Bower, Brandon Huber, Ryan Paulson, Luis Acosta
• All Conference—Kyle Carter

Cross Country—Girls
• Captains—Abby Dodis, Maggie Brundige, Ashley Castellanos
• Most Improved Runner—Jessica Kucera, Sydney Strang
• Most Valuable Runner—Victoria Clinton
• All Conference—Victoria Clinton, Brianna Bower, Abby Dodis, Sydney Strang, Amanda Lesak
• State Qualifiers—Victoria Clinton, Aislinn Lodwig, Sydney Strang, Abby Dodis, Ashley Castellanos, Maggie Brundige, Amanda Lesak, Brianna Bower
• All State, State Champion—Victoria Clinton

Football
• Captains—Blake Bradford, Ryan Lawrence, Dan Goress, Kory Harner, Nick Sharp
• Most Improved Player—Bradley Johnson
• Most Valuable Player—Blake Bradford
• Offensive MVP—Zach Martinelli
• Defensive MVP—Gary Koehring
• Special Teams MVP—Matt Rodriguez
• NIB XII All Conference—Zach Theis, Nick Sharpe, Alex Snyder, Zach Martinelli, Jesse Balluff, Drew David, Justin Diddell, Jaumaureo Phillips, Blake Bradford, Kory Harner, Gary Koehring, Ryan Lawrence, Matt Rodriguez

Golf
• Varsity Most Improved Player—Jessy Denton
• Varsity MVP—Matt Yonkovich
• Fresh/Soph MVP—Jeremy Faletto
• Fresh/Soph Most Improved Player—Tori Guyton, C.J. Wehrmann
• All Conference—Matt Yonkovich, Connor Williams, Brody Kuhar, Luke Kreiter
• State Qualifiers—Connor Williams, Luke Kreiter, Matt Yonkovick, Brody Kuhar, Dan Miller, Sean Glennon

Soccer
• Captains—Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo, Marshall Farthing, Sam Rymarz, Alec Koczka, Ivan Bohorquez
• Most Improved Player—Jason Biddle, Marshall Farthing
• Most Valuable Player—Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo
• Rookie of the Year—Ivan Bohorquez
• Coach’s Award—Tyler Siebert, Alec Koczka, Chris Van Dinther, J.T. Karr
• Offensive Player of the Year—Anthony Parillo
• Defensive Player of the Year—Sam Rymarz
• Player of the Year—Anthony Parillo
• All Conference—Marshall Farthing, Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo, Alec Koczka, Sam Rymarz
• All Conference-Honorable Mention—Arsim Azemi
• All Sectional-Honorable Mention—Arsim Azemi
• All Sectional—Alex Gil, Marshall Farthing
• All State—Anthony Parillo

Tennis
• Team Spirit Awards—Varsity: Jess Woodward; JV: Katelyn Blaszynski
• Most Improved Awards—Varsity: Colleen Landers; JV: Mallory Dugan
• MVP—Sarah Grams, Stephanie Zwick
• Outstanding Achievement Awards—School Record: 38 wins—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil; 1st Singles player to qualify for the State Tournament—Samantha Schrepferman
• State Qualifiers—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil, Samantha Schrepferman
• All Conference—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil, Samantha Schrepferman, Sarah Grams

Volleyball
• Most Improved Player—Emily Laudont, Keri Groen
• Spirit Award—Rachael Clinton
• MVP—Jenny Lubic
• Top Offensive Player—Ellie Dunn
• Top Defensive Player—Shayna Tucek
• All Conference—Ellie Dunn, Lauren Banbury

Winter Sports Preview: Lady Knights look for more

With a large group of returning players, Kaneland looks to exceed last year’s stellar season
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Could this be a lucky seven for coach Ernie Colombe and crew?

Last year, the Kaneland Lady Knights basketball program brought its skills to the floor in a way not seen in quite awhile, ending with a berth in the Sycamore Sectional final and a 20-10 overall record.

Now in his seventh year at the helm and with a glut of returning talent, Colombe and the Lady Knights are looking to put their plans into execution again for an even better year.

Despite the loss of post presence Kelly Evers, Kaneland returns several assets like seniors Ashley Prost, Emma Bradford, Allyson O’Herron and Sarah Grams.

With four projected starters returning, it’s time to hold court.

“It’s a change in terms of having this many kids back,” Colombe said. “It’s also a challenge to make sure we don’t get complacent. We’ve got a great group of kids that work really hard in practice.”

Also returning to help the KHS cause are returning personnel like senior guard Ashley Castellanos, senior forward Brooke Harner and junior forward Marina Schaefer.

“Things look pretty good early on, but that doesn’t always translate on the court. You’ve got to get stuff done on the court and this team’s very capable of doing that,” Colombe said.

New varsity additions take the form of junior guards Caroline Heimerdinger, Sydney Strang, Katherine Brinkman, junior forwards Jessica Jablonski, Amber Winquist-Bailey and Brittany Kemp, and junior center Kelly Wallner.

Two underclassmen fill the roster out: sophomore center Ally VanBogaert and freshman guard Vanessa Gould.

“We have a bunch of kids that can play coming off the bench.We think the younger players are going to help us, and this is a good group of seniors to bring up a young kid with,” Colombe said.

Kaneland looks to be right in the thick of things when it comes to the Northern Illinois Big XII layout.

“I think our conference is really good and improved,” Colombe said. “DeKalb had a great run and we had a nice run; Rochelle’s returning a co-conference player of the year. Sycamore’s improved, and the competition should be good. Morris is improved and we had a nice rivalry with Yorkville, and it’s a shame they got moved up to 4A, but our whole conference is pretty strong.”

Kaneland already got past Wilmette’s Regina Dominican on Saturday by a 47-38 clip at the pre-Thanksgiving Immaculate Conception stop.

After tournament play, the NIB-12 slate begins at Morris on Friday, Nov. 30, with the first home conference matchup against Sycamore on Thursday, Dec. 6. Kaneland also hits the Ottawa Tournament for holiday play after spending that week at Oswego East High School the past six years.

Tennis bests Senior Night with flourish

Photo: Kaneland’s Jessica Woodward watches her return shot during the varsity girls match against Mendota on Monday. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—If only every week could be as successful as this one for Kaneland High School tennis.

The Lady Knights battled non-conference opponent Mendota while hosting Senior Night and came away with a 6-1 dual win to improve to 11-3 on the season.

Kaneland also battled five other teams in the Geneva Quad and garnered a second place.

Against the Lady Trojans, it was the top two singles entries with victories in the form of sophomore Sammie Schrepferman and senior Sarah Grams.

Schrepferman won her match in 8-1 fashion, while Grams won her bout by an 8-0 score.

On a Senior Night where the group of four-year players were celebrated with gifts and speeches, Grams got down to business as best she could.

“I just try to keep the ball in play,” Grams said. “Moving it back and forth with my backhand and forehand, and if I had to chance to move up to the net, that’s what I’d try to do.”

No. 1 doubles unit Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil won their match by an 8-1 tally, and No. 2 doubles team Jenna Bicos and Jess Woodward did their part to celebrate their own Senior Night with an 8-4 win.

Brooke Harner and Aly Harner won their No. 3 doubles duel, as did Danielle McCormack and Abby Meyer in the extra match.

Kaneland did quite well for itself at the Geneva Quad, finishing second behind only St. Charles East.

Kaneland outlasted Geneva, Wheaton Academy, St. Charles North and Bartlett.

Kaneland finishes a suspended dual meet at Oswego on Thursday, Oct. 4.

Taking care of business

Colleen Landers prepares to serve against Yorkville during the varsity home match on Tuesday. Photo by John DiDonna

KHS racketeers sweep the Rochelle Quad field
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Once the end of the school week hits, many a student would just like to take a breather.

Kaneland High School tennis would just rather take opponents’ breath away.

Just seven days removed from trouncing the field at the Yorkville Quad, the Lady Knights, under coach Tim Larsen, did the same to four other teams at another Northern Illinois Big XII hangout in the Rochelle Quad on Saturday.

The Lady Knights swept the rankings, achieving first place in both singles and all three doubles categories, getting the full-tilt 25 points.

Freeport went second overall with 16 points, while DeKalb went third with 13 points. The host Lady Hubs took fourth with 12 points, and Sterling Newman went fifth with nine points.

With a 6-4, 6-4 win over Freeport’s Nikki Church, Lady Knight sophomore Sammie Schrepferman took first overall in the No.1 singles category.

Kaneland’s Sarah Grams nabbed the spotlight on the No. 2 singles court and won the day with a 6-2, 6-2 decision over Rochelle’s Brittany Sanderson.

The three Lady Knight doubles teams owned the day, going a combined 12-0.

Jelly Emmanouil and Madi Jurcenko were tops in the No. 1 doubles, while teammates Jenna Bicos and Jess Woodward secured the No. 2 doubles crown, and the Colleen Landers/ Stephanie Karolewicz tandem broke through in the No. 3 set.

“It was windy, cold and wet when we got there,” Larsen said. “(A) rough day to be out in the elements, but not so bad when you win that many matches.”

Tuesday’s action saw Kaneland send visiting Yorkville High School home with a 4-1 loss. Kaneland posted wins in all doubles action, as well as the No. 1 singles bracket.

Schrepferman battled her opponent at the top singles spot after breezing through the first set 6-0. She dropped the second set 6-4, before flipping the scores to win set three 6-4, securing the victory.

Jurcenko and Emmanouil took their No. 1 doubles match in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0. Bicos and Woodward followed with a 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 2 doubles. Landers and Karol completed the doubles’ sweep with a 6-3, 6-1 win.

“(This was) another good conference win,” Larsen said.

The JV team fell to Yorkville, 3-2.

The Lady Knights meet up at old familiar stomping grounds for the Geneva Quad on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Clean sweep: Kaneland trumps Ottawa on court

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was a lucky 7 for KHS tennis last week.

On Sept. 12, the Lady Knights took care of the next Northern Illinois Big XII crossover opponent in the form of Ottawa, and left with a 7-0 sweep of their Lady Pirate foes.

Kaneland also defeated Ottawa in Maple Park last season by one match.

With Kaneland’s win over Morris on Tuesday, combined with a partial rain-out of the Lady Knights-vs-Oswego match earlier in the week, Kaneland’s dual mark is now 9-3.

Against Ottawa, No. 1 singles entry Sammie Schrepferman took charge against her opponent Maya Sakakibara, by a 6-1, 6-0 tally.

Moving back into singles action for the dual was No. 2 player Colleen Landers, who won over Carly Haywood 7-6, 6-2. Stephanie Karolewicz won her No. 3 battle over Symone Stewart, 6-1, 6-0.

Over in the doubles crowd, it was the reliable tandem of Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Kayla Guenther and Molly Angell.

Jess Woodward and partner Sarah Grams took the No. 2 doubles win with a 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 result over Maria Cavanaugh and Bailey Bradish, and Kaylee Shoaff and Stephanie Zwick won the No. 3 match with a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 flair.

Also contributing to the cause was the team of Aly and Brooke Harner, who took a 6-3, 7-5 win in the extra match.

“This match was much closer than it looked,” KHS coach Tim Larsen said. “They have some pretty good players. I’m pleased to say that our girls executed the shots we needed today.”

The JV crew also took care of Ottawa in a 4-1 decision.

On Tuesday, Kaneland swept out Morris with a 5-0 victory.

Schrepferman won in a perfect 6-0, 6-0 match. Senior Sarah Grams won at No. 2 singles, 6-2, 6-2. Doubles action saw Jurcenko and Emmanouil win 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 1 spot. Jessica Woodward and Jennifer Bicos battled at No. 2 doubles for a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win. Colleen Landers and Stephanie Karolewicz teamed up for a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 3 doubles.

Kaneland varsity tennis gets ready for the Rochelle Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 22, the same meet that saw a first-place nod a year ago.

Lady Knights successfully court win vs. DeKalb

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With a lineup firmly in place, there’s no telling what Kaneland’s tennis squad is capable of.

Just ask them, or visiting DeKalb.

The Lady Knights took it to their Northern Illinois Big XII sisters in dual action on Thursday by a final clip of 4-1.

Following Tuesday’s loss to IMSA, Kaneland’s mark is now 4-2 through six head-to-head battles.

Sophomore Sammie Schrepferman continues to impress and handled herself accordingly in a No. 1 singles win, 6-1, 6-0, over DeKalb’s Taylor Volk.

It was the doubles category that gave Kaneland the lengths it needed for victory.

Sophs Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil won their match in a 6-0, 6-0 sweep, and seniors Jenna Bicos and Jess Woodward took the No. 2 doubles match in a 6-1, 6-2 affair. Capping the victory was the senior No. 3 duo of Sarah Grams and Aly Harner and their 6-2, 6-2 win.

“I’m proud of all the girls today—every one of them,” KHS coach Tim Larsen said. “(They) all hit great shots and represented Kaneland well today.”

The Lady Knights dropped a 5-2 Tuesday match with IMSA, garnering wins at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles.

“This is a tough loss,” Larsen said. “We could have won four matches for sure.”

Schrepferman came through with a 6-2, 6-1 win in singles play. Jurcenko and Emmanouil rebounded from a first set to come through 2-6, 6-2, 7-4.

“That No. 1 doubles match was fantastic, with four outstanding players,” Larsen said. “Madi (Jurcenko) and Jelly (Emmanouil) showed some serious resolve in that match.”

The JV unit also fell to IMSA on Tuesday, 6-1. The lone victory came at No. 3 singles with Shreya Jain winning in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4.

Ahead for Kaneland tennis is a NIB-12 trip to rival Sycamore on Thursday, Sept. 6.

Tennis overcomes early bump

Photo: The Kaneland varsity girls tennis team is off to a good start this year. Here, Senior Aly Harner serves during their home match against Belvidere on Aug. 23, which Kaneland won 4-3. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—A win last week at West Chicago had Kaneland tennis on a smooth track early.

That was until the Lady Knights met up with Wheaton Academy on Aug. 22 in Maple Park.

A 5-2 dual loss was then overcome on Thursday in a 4-3 squeaker against the visiting Blue Thunder of Belvidere North.

Kaneland now has a 3-1 record in dual play, as the schedule gets busier.

In the 5-2 loss to the Lady Warriors, the lone wins were handled by No. 1 singles entry Sammie Schrepferman in a 7-5, one-set affair, and by No. 1 doubles tandem Jelly Emmanouil and Madi Jurcenko in a 6-0, 6-0 sweep.

Wheaton Academy also bested Kaneland JV action.

Against Belvidere North, singles wins were gathered by Schrepferman, 6-4, 6-3, and by No. 3 star Stephanie Zwick, who held her counterpart at bay, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, after Kaneland had already lost three matches.

Emmanouil and Jucenko took their match, 6-2, 6-0, while extra duo Colleen Landers and Kaylee Shoaff won the final match, 6-3, 6-1.

“Madi and Jelly played very good tennis and beat a couple of really good players,” KHS coach Tim Larsen said. “Sammie struggled but kept her composure for a good win. The hero of the day was Stephanie Zwick.”

Monday’s action saw the Lady Knights sweep Glenbard North in a 7-0 home victory, with every match going Kaneland’s way in straight sets.

Schrepferman cruised to a No. 1 singles victory, 6-2, 6-0. Steph Karolewicz earner her first varsity win of the season, 6-1, 6-2. Zwick completed the singles side of the sweep with a 6-4, 6-3 win from the No. 3 spot.

In doubles action, Jurcenko and Emmanouil breezed through a 6-1, 6-0 match. Jennifer Bicos and Jessica Woodward battled for a tough straight-set victory, 6-3, 7-5. Colleen Landers and Sarah Grams earned a 6-2, 6-1 win, and Abby Meyer and Kaylee Shoaff completed the sweep with a 6-2, 7-6 win.

Tuesday’s contest hosting DeKalb High School was rescheduled for Thursday, Aug. 30, and the Lady Knights will take on IMSA at home on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Tennis Preview: Eyes on the prize

Photo: Last year was an impressive season for KHS tennis. The Lady Knights return to defend their conference crown. File Photo

Defending conference champs aim to continue winning ways
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It’s an exciting time to be involved in Kaneland tennis, whether you are a player or a parent, a fan or a friend.

Imagine what it’s like for coach Tim Larsen.

Larsen wants to build off of a second consecutive season in which the Lady Knights had a presence at the state level, and now the team has reached a level in which his players consistently expect to win.

“It’s definitely exciting,” Larsen said. “The approach to practice has felt different. Our JV coach (Dominic Bruno) is in his third year, and I feel a lot more comfortable having him deal more with the younger players. That allows me to deal with varsity and make adjustments to their game.”

With Kaneland capturing the Northern Illinois Big XII mantle last season, adjustments might not need to be very significant.

One adjustment that needs to be made is replacing a capable Class of 2011 core, featuring Stephanie Rosenwinkel, Madi Limbrick and two-time State goer Amelia Napiorkowski.

Napiorkowski took care of business at the last two sectionals, pairing up with Lindsay Jurcenko in 2010 and current sophomore Limbrick in 2011.

“Losing Amelia is big. She was a competitive force and set a great example,” Larsen said.

Larsen intends to sync Jurcenko with last year’s No. 2 singles conference champ and fellow sophomore Jenny Emmanouil for the top doubles spot.

“They are very excited to play together. They are kind of making their own story. Immediately, it’s different than what other doubles teams have done,” Larsen said.

The only other cemented pairing is the second doubles spot, with Jenna Bicos and Jessica Woodward serving as a tandem once again.

On the singles side, sophomore Sammie Schrepferman takes the reins.

“Last year, I really had no choice to put her at the No. 1 spot, she was playing so well. She did really well with the experience,” Larsen said.

The other singles entries are sophomore Colleen Landers at No. 2, and Stephanie Karolewicz at No. 3.

Larsen thinks the lineup has it in themselves to do big things, which has been the norm as of late for the program.

“I trust the kids. The game is not bigger than them, they just need to keep their focus on the opponent,” Larsen said.

With a couple meets already under their belt this past week, Kaneland hosts Belvidere North on Thursday, Aug. 23.

Lady Knights start with win
Kaneland kicked off its season with a 5-1 victory over West Chicago on Monday.

“Good start for Kaneland,” Larsen said. “Very happy to start with a win.”

Schrepferman took the No.1 singles match in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2. Landers dropped her match at No. 2 singles, 6-0, 6-3, but Zwick returned the Lady Knights to the win column with a three-set battle, 6-1, 4-6, 7-4.

In doubles action, No. 1 doubles team Jurcenko and Emmanouil, as well as No. 2 doubles team Bicos and Woodward, each won their matches by identical 6-0, 6-1 scores.

The No. 3 doubles match went to three sets, with Grams and Aly Harner earning a 6-2, 6-7, 7-1 victory.

While Larsen and his team are happy with the win, he said there remains room for improvement.

“We did uncover a decent list of things to work on, so we’ll be practicing hard tomorrow (Tuesday),” he said. “But all in all, a very good start.”

The JV team fared even better against West Chicago, sweeping its opponent away 6-0.

Varsity roster
Seniors
Jennifer Bicos Sarah Grams
Brooke Harner Aly Harner
Cara Lenhardt Abby Meyer
Danielle McCormack
Jessica Woodward
Juniors
Kaylee Shoaff
Sophomores
Angelica Emmanouil
Madison Jurcenko
Stephanie Karolewicz
Colleen Landers
Samantha Schrepferman
Stephanie Zwick
Head coach
Tim Larsen


Last year, varsity tennis coach Tim Larsen said, ‘There’s an awful lot of hustle in the varsity lineup and not a whole lot of quit.’ File Photo

Varsity Tennis Schedule
• Monday, Aug. 20; 4:30 p.m.
At West Chicago HS
• Wednesday, Aug. 22; 4:30 p.m.
Home vs. Wheaton Academy
• Thursday, Aug. 23; 4:30 p.m.
Home vs. Belvidere North HS
• Saturday, Aug. 25; 8 a.m.
At Plainfield North Invite
• Monday, Aug. 27; 4:30 p.m.
Home vs. Glenbard North HS
• Tuesday, Aug. 28; 4:30 p.m.
Home vs. DeKalb HS
• Tuesday, Sept. 4; 4:30 p.m.
Home vs. IMSA
• Wednesday, Sept. 5; 4:30 p.m.
At LaSalle Peru HS
• Thursday, Sept. 6; 4:30 p.m.
At Sycamore High School
• Monday, Sept. 10; 4:30 p.m.
At Rosary High School
• 4:30 p.m.Tuesday, Sept. 11
Home vs. Rochelle Twp HS
• Wednesday, Sept. 12; 4:30 p.m.
At Ottawa Twp HS
• Saturday, Sept. 15; 8 a.m.
At Yorkville Quad
• Monday, Sept. 17; 4:30 p.m.
At Oswego High School
• Tuesday, Sept. 18; 4:30 p.m.
At Morris High School
• Saturday, Sept. 22; 8:30 a.m.
At Rochelle Invite
• Tuesday, Sept. 25; 4:30 p.m.
Home vs. Yorkville HS
• Saturday, Sept. 29; 8 a.m.
At Geneva Quad
• Monday, Oct. 1; 4:30 p.m.
Home vs. Mendota Twp HS
• Friday, Oct. 5; 1 p.m.
At DeKalb
NIB XII Varsity Tennis Tourney
• Saturday, Oct. 6; 8 a.m.
At DeKalb
NIB XII Varsity Tennis Tourney

Sterling softball too golden for Kaneland

Photo: Hayley Contorno slides safely into second on a hit by Sarah Grams in the second inning of Kaneland’s sectional playoff game against Sterling, hosted by Belvidere North, on May 30. Photo by John DiDonna

KHS softball (31-7) sees season end
in sectional semi

by Mike Slodki
BELVIDERE, Ill.—Kaneland softball’s season had more ups than downs in 2012.

Unfortunately, the Sterling Lady Warriors brand of diamond play made KHS land with a thud.

A Lady Knight lineup that saw the spectrum of convincing victories and dramatic comebacks in a regional championship—its first since 2005—fell victim to the pitching of Stephanie Kester and an opponent that plated nine runs in a 9-1 sectional semifinal result at Belvidere North High School on May 30.

Sterling lost to Marengo in the sectional final on Monday by a 2-1 clip.

Kaneland’s season ended at 31-7.

“They earned everything they got this year,” KHS coach Brian Willis said. “Certainly it’s encouraging that we’ll be getting people back, but it’s hard to comprehend right now and it’s disappointing to go out this way.”

Kester defeated Delani Vest in the pitching matchup in what would be Vest’s final varsity game.

But Vest contributed early with her bat after allowing a run in the top of the first inning.

After a double, Allyson O’Herron sacrificed her over to third base. Third baseman Paige Kuefler drove Vest home with a single but was thrown out at second.

Sterling scored twice in the second for a 3-1 deficit, and Kaneland would find itself with two runners on base for the last time in the game.

With one out, Hayley Contorno and Sarah Grams laced back-to-back singles, but Sam Hansen lined out and Vest popped out to end the threat.

Kaneland would get just two more hits the remainder of the game, and Sterling would put up two runs in the fifth, one in the sixth and three more in the seventh to ice the win.

While Sterling’s fielding kept the Lady Knights mostly in check, Willis would liked to have seen enough hitting for the defense to be irrelevant.

“We bunted the ball too hard, it was right to their third baseman, and I would put it more on us than I would on them.”

With the conclusion of Kaneland’s softball year, the program says goodbye to seniors Vest, Hansen, McKinzie Mangers, Alexis Villarreal and Sarah Kitz.

Regional Rally

Photo: Sam Hansen leaps into the arms of fellow Class 3A IMSA Regional-winning teammates on Saturday after Kaneland’s 9-5 win over Yorkville. Photo by Patti Wilk

Furious 6th inning leads to comeback over YHS for Regional

by Mike Slodki
AURORA—There’s a saying that if you give someone an inch, they’ll take a mile.

In the case of Lady Knights softball, give them the sixth inning, they’ll score six runs.

Kaneland softball (31-6) scored nine runs in its final two at-bats during Saturday’s Class 3A Regional Championship at Illinois Math and Science Academy against the second-seeded Yorkville Lady Foxes for a 9-5 win and its first regional plaque in seven years.

“We’ve been doing this all year,” coach Brian Willis said. “They never quit. I didn’t have to say anything. They know what they’re capable of.”

Kaneland got into the final with a 10-0, six-inning triumph over fourth seed Rosary on May 23.
Delani Vest earned the win in both games.

“Since freshman year I’ve wanted to win a regional championship. It feels awesome to finally get one, and we really had to push through this one,” Vest said.

Yorkville went up 1-0 in the third inning, and it remained that way until the bottom of the fifth.

With one out, Allyson O’Herron singled, as did Paige Kuefler. Lanie Callaghan laced another single for an RBI to tie the game. With two outs, Lexi Roach redeemed her third-inning at-bat that left two runners stranded with a triple to give Kaneland a 3-1 lead.

“That was the biggest hit, no question,” O’Herron said. “That got us going.”

After Yorkville put up four runs on Vest in the top of the sixth, Kaneland’s lineup came alive with six runs after 11 girls came to the plate.

With the score 5-4 after a Vest RBI, McKinzie Mangers lifted a flyball out of the right-fielders reach that plated two more for the 6-5 lead. Sarah Grams and Roach came up with two more run-scoring hits.

In the seventh, Sam Hansen caught a liner at second base, triggering a celebration.

“We are confident. This shows that we could do it, and we have to ride the wave,” O’Herron said.

The sectional wave was scheduled for Wednesday at Belvidere North against Sterling. Sterling won the game 9-1, ending the KHS season. See the June 7 edition of the Elburn Herald for game coverage.

Softball, with 24 wins, continues season steamroll

Photo: Kaneland catcher McKinzie Mangers gets ready to throw to third base in the seventh inning of their 10-1 home win against Sycamore on Thursday. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Like bills received in the mail, Kaneland softball comes at you whether you like it or not.

Sometimes its a late rally, other times a convincing route, but the Lady Knights softball roster is leaving an imprint on whomever it goes up against.

After a 10-1 rout of the visiting Lady Spartans on Thursday, and a 7-4 comeback win over visiting DeKalb on May 2, the Lady Knights are 24-5, nearly doubling last year’s win total, and caps it with an 8-0 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII play. Kaneland holds a three-game edge over DeKalb for the conference crown.

Eight runs in the final three innings of play buoyed Kaneland against Sycamore, with Sarah Grams going 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBI in the win. Righty Alexis Villarreal earned the win in five innings, allowing just a run on five hits to go with seven strikeouts. Ellissa Eckert pitched two perfect innings to secure the win.

The win over DeKalb took on a more dramatic and compelling nature, after DeKalb smashed two early homers to take a 4-3 lead after three innings. Down to its next-to-last chance, Kaneland went nuts in a four-run sixth.

KHS coach Brian Willis was happy with the end result, particularly after a rough start.

“It would have been disappointing, no question about it, especially with all the opportunities we would have left out there,” Willis said. “We had some baserunning and defensive gaffes early, but this team is resilient. They don’t quit.”

With the bases juiced and one out, Delani Vest’s grounder to shortstop was thrown away, allowing two runs to score. Allyson O’Herron and Paige Kuefler followed with RBI singles to put the game away.

Kuefler continues to plug away in the middle of the order, carrying an offensive load at times as an underclassman.

“I feel I have improved, but I’ve been in some slumps,” Kuefler said. “I try my best to work out of the slumps. On a game like today it was hard for me to wait to get up to the plate because I was so into it and I wanted to come back.”

Kaneland prepared to host Yorkville on Thursday, May 10, as the Northern Illinois Big XII slate soldiers on.

Kaneland softball looks toward captains to right ship

Photo: Samantha Hansen brings speed and bat prowess in her role as a captain for the Lady Knights softball squad in 2012. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—An 8-1 start a year ago turned into a 14-19 finish for a softball group hoping for bigger things.

With a solid group of captains ready to pick up where graduated seniors Rilee Vest and Andrea Potts left off, KHS softball looks to experience to have a more consistent season-long outing.

Third-year coach Brian Willis makes no bones about what the team needs to do in 2012.

“If we play well every day, we’ll be in there at the end,” Willis said.

Heading up the charge to make sure the Lady Knights play well every day are Willis’ captains.

Senior pitcher Delani Vest, who has the advantage of being on the Kaneland roster from the get-go this season, brings talent from inside the pitcher’s circle.

Other senior captains include infielder Samanatha Hansen and catcher McKinzie Mangers, and junior shortstop Allyson O’Herron.

“The people that left, we can’t replace them because they were such a valuable part of our team. We need to adjust to what we have,” Willis said.

With the four captains bringing experience to the forefront, the Lady Knights don’t look to see themselves playing catch-up.

“They are four girls that have been with me since I got here, and I expect their leadership on and off the field,” Willis said.

With the rotation set-up, first and foremost will be Vest.

“She’s very focused this year and close to the form she was back as a sophomore. As a captain and with her athletic ability, she’ll be ready to go,” Willis said.

Accompanying Vest in the rotation is returning pitcher and outfielder Alexis Villarreal, a senior.

“Alexis got a lot of valuable innings last year, she worked hard in the offseason and threw an awesome game on Friday night,” Willis said.

McKinzie Mangers returns to complete the battery in her final KHS season.

Freshman Paige Kuefler mans third base, and is off to a prolific start behind the plate.

O’Herron returns at shortstop and brings consistency on the offensive and defensive end.

At second, Hansen and sophomore Allie Miller are giving coaches a tough decision.

Rosary transfer Hayley Contorno takes over at first as a sophomore, coming off good numbers in Aurora at first and hurler a year ago.

“She’s established herself not only as a solid ballplayer but a solid person,” Willis said.

In the outfield, Kaneland expects to see sophomore slugger Lanie Callaghan return to full strength next month, along with juniors Danielle McCormack, Kristen Gabrielson, Sarah Grams and Taylor Krawczyk, Morgan Newhouse and Lexi Roach looking for innings.

“We have a nice mix of seniors, juniors and sophomores. They want to keep our program strong and don’t want to go out on a negative note,” Willis said.

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.

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 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.

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.

Lady Knights sweep Dixon

KANELAND—Only one way to make any headway on spring cleaning.

If you’re KHS softball, get out the brooms. That’s exactly what the Lady Knights did in a pair of doubleheader wins over host Dixon High School on Saturday.

The fortunate 8-0 and 6-1 doubleheader wins came on the heels of an 8-5 loss to the host Ottawa Lady Pirates on Thursday.

Kaneland’s current mark is 10-7 (2-2 Northern Illinois Big XII), and looked to steady itself after the loss to Ottawa had them in a six losses-in-seven games quagmire.

In the first game on Saturday, Kaneland posted a six-spot in the top of the first inning and two more in the second.

Alexis Villarreal scattered just four hits and fanned three on the way to victory in the pitcher’s circle.

At the plate, Allyson O’Herron was 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored. Andrea Potts went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI, while teammate Lanie Callaghan went 2-for-3 with a triple and two driven in.

Game two was won by Brittney Miller at the pitching post, as she went six innings with seven K’s and seven hits surrendered. Callaghan went 2-for-3, and Potts hit her second homer of the twinbill, a three-run dinger in the top of the first.

Against Ottawa, Kaneland led 3-2 in the fourth until Ottawa plated three in the fourth to put the Lady Knights behind 5-3. After scoring once in the top of the fifth, Ottawa came back with two more in the fifth to hold off Kaneland’s one-run rally in the top of the seventh.

Kaneland’s Rilee Vest went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the losing effort.

In underclass action, the sophomore Lady Knights executed a 7-1 and 8-6 doubleheader victory over Dixon. Elyssa Eckert struck out 10 and doubled for KHS, while Sarah Grams tripled and homered in a two-RBI effort. In game two, Maddy Hester went 3-for-4 with a triple.

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.

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.

All-WSC, team awards handed out at KHS

KANELAND—Kaneland High School dished out end of the year and spring speason sports awards last week.

In Knights boys track and field, Logan Markuson was named the Track MVP, while Nick Sinon, state champ in high jump, was named Field MVP. Edgar Valle, also a state champ as part of the 4×400 relay , was named recipient of the Drendel Award. Markuson, Derek Bus, Joe Levita, Brett Ketza, Justin Choate and Sinon were recognized as captains. Andrew Essex was named winner of the Ron Probst Award. Sinon, Markuson, Taylor Andrews, Valle, Bus, Matt Reusche, Matt Spitzzeri, Sean Paulick, Tommy Whittaker, Dominic Furco, Trevor Holm and Levita were recognized as the final Kaneland representatives for the all-Western Sun Conference team.

Brandon Cottier, Essex, Curtis Secrest, Whittaker, Spitzzeri, Valle, Bus, Taylor Andrews, Markuson, Levita, Holm and Sinon were all lauded for their trip to the Class 2A State Finals in Charleston, Ill.

For girls track, Lisa Roberson and Andie Strang, both State-goers, were named co-Track MVP’s, while Brooke Patterson, fresh off a trip to Charleston, was named field MVP.

Mel Mazuc and Nicole Ketza were part of a group of three named most improved field athletes, along with Briana Stark in long jump. Hurdler Hillary Luse took the most improved track athlete award.

Roberson and Sydney Bilotta were recognized as captains, while Patterson, Ashley Castellanos and Gabby Aguirre were honored for their All-Western Sun Conference performances.

Strang (800 meter run, 4x800m relay), Roberson and Kris Bowen (4x800m), Sara Wallace (pole vault), Jessica Stouffer (4x800m), Patterson (pole vault, triple jump) and Castellanos (long jump) were lauded for their State trip.

For the 20-win softball team, first-year coach Brian Willis gave most outstanding defensive player to Jordan Hester and most outstanding offensive player to Andrea Dimmig-Potts. Samantha Hansen took home the most improved player award, Kristen Stralka and Brittany Davis got in on the Lady Knight Award, while 13-win pitcher Delani Vest was given the most outstanding player award.

In the freshman softball ranks, Elizabeth Eckert and Sarah Grams took the co-MVP honors, while Danielle McCormack won the Kaneland Knight award.

For baseball, Dave Dudzinski and Bobby Thorson were named recipients of the Mr. Kaneland Baseball award.

Jake Tickle, he of the 19-game hit streak during the season, was named offensive MVP, and Steve Colombe was crowned defensive MVP.

The 41 Award, in honor or Jeff Malewig, was given to Tickle and Jake Fiedler.

Thorson, Fiedler, Colombe and Tickle were all recognized for their All-Western Sun Conference honors.

For the 15-win girls soccer team’s history- making season, Megan Gil, Haley Johnson, Shelby Koester, Colleen Gebauer and Emily Heimerdinger were lauded for their captain-ship.

Amy Fabrizius was given the most improved player honor, and freshman goalkeeper Jordan Ginther was named Rookie of the Year.

Sophie Blank, Andie Bruce and Natalie Swieca won the coach’s award. Gebauer and Katie Taylor were co-winners of the Lady Knights Award, while Heimerdinger and Gil took the MVP honors.

For the final awards of the night, the female Birkette award was given to Roberson. Markuson and Bus took home the male Birkette award.

Markuson was honored with the Male Athlete of the Year award, while Roberson was given the Female Athlete of the Year award.

Levita, for his time in cross country, wrestling and track, was honored for his three-sport commitment.

Photo: Lisa Roberson, shown here in relay action in Charleston, Ill., two weeks ago, was awarded Female Athlete of the Year and Female Birkette Award winner at last week’s 2010 Senior Athletic Banquet Awards. File Photo