Kaneland keeps ball rolling with summer basketball

By on June 27, 2013

File Photo: Drew David

Knights participate in weekend’s Tiger Shootout in Joliet
KANELAND—In the sixth tournament final, it was Benet Academy laying the roundball skills to Rich East on Saturday to capture championship glory.

Benet beat Homewood-Flossmoor, while Rich East bested York in the championship semifinals of the Tiger Shootout summer tournament in Joliet, Ill.

The Pool E final standings after Friday had Kaneland in third place, ahead of Minooka, but behind Homewood-Flossmoor and Mt. Carmel.

Chicago’s Mt. Carmel got past Kaneland by a 58-42 clip in pool play, followed by KHS edging sometimes-rival Minooka 47-43. H-F defeated Kaneland in the final initial Pool E encounter.

After losing to Ottawa, Kaneland beat Joliet West JV in Saturday’s third-place bracket semis before losing to Plainfield North in the third-place consolation final on Saturday, finishing 2-4 on the weekend.

For coach Brian Johnson, it was a chance to see high-caliber teams like Benet, Rich East, Zion-Benton, Crete-Monee and Thornwood.

“There were some really good teams there,” Johnson said. “Our league in the regular season is good, and we have a tough out-of-league schedule, so it’s nice to see those teams.”

Seeing action at outposts like Joliet and the upcoming Morris Shootout also gives the Knights roundballers a chance to hone skills, paying dividends once the weather turns colder.

The Knights’ summer rotation includes Drew David, John Pruett and Tyler Carlson, three members of the 2012-13 crew that were responsible for the productive run.

“Drew has worked on his shot; John tweaked an ankle and has been inactive a little bit, but he’s playing well, and Tyler has put a lot of work in and has been consistent. You also have guys like Tom Van Bogaert, who comes in every day at 6 a.m. to work on his shot. It’s nice to see guys like that step in. As a coach, it’s nice to see where everyone fits in,” Johnson said.

The Knights’ next challenge is the 28th annual Morris Shootout, which began on Wednesday and continues through Thursday, June 27. KHS faces Springfield High School at 3 p.m., followed by a meeting with Belleville West serving as the next opponent at 5 p.m.

Johnson also coaches the North side in the IBCA Class 3A/4A game at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Shirk Center on Saturday, June 29. Kaneland is also in the planning stages of a Feb. 15, 2014, shootout featuring teams like Hillcrest, North Chicago and St. Charles East. Varsity and sophomore teams would all see action, with name and additional team slots to be determined.