Knights use last-second heroics for win
Daniel Helm tries to score any way he can during Friday’s dramatic 49-47 win at DeKalb. The freshman contributed in a big way with 19 points in NIB-12 play. Photo by John DiDonna
by Mike Slodki
DEKALB—Kaneland boys basketball had a sense of the moment on Friday night in Barb-ville.
It’s the last moment that counted the most.
A basket by Chaon Denlinger just before the buzzer sounded took KHS to a 49-47 win over DeKalb on Friday.
After blowing an 11-point lead originally amassed in the second quarter, Kaneland emerged with a small bit of revenge against the squad that ousted them from Class 3A regionals last Feb.
“DeKalb’s tough, this is their home floor,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “Their record’s very decieving, they’re not a one-win team in my eyes. They’re a good team and they fight.”
Kaneland is now 6-2, while DeKalb fell to 1-7. The Knights improved to 3-0.
In the fourth quarter, with the Barbs having taken a 44-43 lead with 5:20 left, Kaneland recovered from its first deficit since the first quarter with a Matt Spitzzeri basket down low to take a 45-44 lead with 4:06 left.
Daniel Helm’s bucket with 3:37 to go increased the lead to 47-44.
After three trey attempts by DHS, Brian Sisler made a basket with 52.2 remaining to close within 47-46.
DeKalb’s Andre Harris went up for a drive to the basket but was intentionallty fouled on a fast break with 26.8 seconds remaining. Harris made the first of two, and Sisler’s attempted layup with 18 seconds left missed. Helm brought it up past halfcourt, where coach Brian Johnson called time out and set up the final exchange.
The passing game that had provided so many opportunities for Kaneland during the game worked as Denlinger inbounded the ball to Drew David, who passed to Helm. Helm passed to David, who found a back-door opening down low to Denlinger for a lay-in before the clock buzzed 0.0.
“We knew they were going to overplay it,” Denlinger said. “We knew they were going to try to get a steal. We don’t run it very often, and if we could just get it to work… I thought I missed it.”
Helm led the way with a game-high 19 points, followed by sharp-shooting Zach Ringhouse with 13 points.
“We started running more of our sets,” Helm said. “That opened up a lot of stuff. The team felt better because there were so many more openings.”
Sisler paced DeKalb with 17 points.
The Knights went up 9-5 after a quarter of play, and increased the lead to 27-19 at the half. The Barbs closed the margin to 41-38 after three.
Meanwhile, the sophomores bested their DHS counterparts by a 45-33 final.
The contests marked the last regular season contests in Chuck Dayton Gymnasium. DeKalb is moving to a new campus near Dresser and Annie Glidden roads.
Plano Christmas Classic
1st round matchups on Monday, Dec. 27
Morris vs. Yorkville, 9 a.m.
Forreston vs. Mendota, 10:30 a.m.
Sandwich vs. Genoa-Kingston, 12:30 p.m.
Rockford Christian vs. Coal City, 2 p.m.
Kaneland vs. Hinckley-Big Rock, 3:30 p.m.
Princeton vs. Seneca, 5:30 p.m.
Plano vs. Hall, 7 p.m.
Newark vs. Somonauk, 8:30 p.m.