Prize fighting

By on March 6, 2014

Photo: Senior Drew David was a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line on his way to a team-high 22 points against Glenbard South Tuesday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Share of NIB-12 title in bag, Kaneland begins Regional quest
KANELAND—Say this for Kaneland High School boys basketball: they’re playing a brand of ball that works at the right juncture of the season.

With a furious fourth quarter on Tuesday night, KHS was able to defend its No. 1 Regional seed with an 81-70 win over former conference rival Glenbard South.

With a regular season-ending win over the visiting DeKalb Barb in Maple Park on Friday, 57-55, the Knights were able to secure a triple-share of the Northern Illinois Big XII title. KHS shares it with Morris and Sycamore and has now captured at least a share of the East Division three of the last four years.

Kaneland (17-9, 7-3 NIB12) has won seven of nine after Tuesday’s Regional semifinal clash with Glenbard South.

For the Kaneland Regional, Monday’s contests featured No. 4 Glenbard South winning 88-57 over No. 5 Aurora Central Catholic and No. 3 Marmion Academy beating No. 6 IMSA 85-51. Kaneland’s Regional final opponent was to be determined in a Wednesday night game between No. 2 St. Francis of Wheaton, Ill., and Marmion. Kaneland will now face Marmion in the Regional final, after the Cadets dispatched St. Francis of Wheaton, Ill. 73-57.

Facing off against the Metro Suburban Conference rep Raiders, Kaneland withstood a game-high 30 points from senior point guard Chaun Rickette. Helping withstand the onslaught was a team-high 22 points for guard Drew David, 20 from sophomore Dylan Vaca and 16 from Ryan David.

“(GS) plays in a nice league; I think they were second,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “(Rickette) can really get to the bucket. I’m just happy the boys fought through their runs, and we were able to compete.”

After an even first quarter that saw Kaneland up 18-17, GS hit six of seven shots in an impressive stretch and took a 34-33 lead on KHS. A baseline jumper by Drew David with 1:19 to go was followed by a long-range bucket by the senior with 1:01 left for a 37-34 lead. Rickette hit the front end of two foul shot tries with 41.3 left in the half to close the scoring at 37-35.

The Raiders would take a five-point lead at 54-49 after a Rickette steal and hoop with 1:08 left in the third, but Ryan David’s trey with 40 seconds left brought it back to a manageable 54-52 deficit preceding the fourth.

The fourth quarter began with David tying the game just 15 seconds in and GS taking the lead again with 6:44 to go at 56-54. Vaca was fouled on a successful three try and sunk the foul shot for the go-ahead attempt, and David jacked a three for a quick turnaround and a 61-56 lead with 5:54 left. John Pruett’s putback and a Vaca foul shot completed a 10-0 run and made it 64-56 with 4:40 to go.

KHS would hit seven of nine foul shots the rest of the way and see a barrage of four made shots in a row by Pruett, Ryan David, Vaca and Ryan David once again as the hosts enjoyed their biggest lead of the night at 77-64.

“Some teams would look at that and think they’re not very good, but we knew they were very talented, especially after watching them (Monday),” Drew David said. “We knew we were going to have to play a really solid game.”

Against the visiting Barbs, who beat the Knights on Feb. 4, 76-70, Kaneland was led by Pruett’s 13, Cole Carlson’s 12 and Drew David’s 12. David’s output came entirely thanks to four three-point shots.

Kaneland led 20-16 after the first quarter and 33-30 at the halftime buzzer. The Knights maintained a 48-45 lead going into the final eight minutes of play.

With the season now in full survive-and-advance mode, the Class 3A Regional championship is set for Friday at 7 p.m.