Knights boys fall to Bogan in 12-team E. C. Nichols debut

By on December 24, 2008

Dudzinski scores 22 in opening contest of Marengo tournament

by Mike Slodki

            For awhile, the Kaneland boys basketball team played like it hadn’t seen the court in 17 days.

            Monday’s opener at the E.C. Nichols Tournament at Marengo High School had Kaneland struggling to do what it needed for any kind of edge against Chicago’s Bogan High School.

            By the time the Knights did find their footing, it was too late and KHS suffered a 55-44 loss to drop to 2-4 (0-2 Western Sun Conference).

            Last year’s opening game at the E.C. Nichols gathering saw Kaneland stomp Harvard 63-36 behind Nick Wagner’s 23 points on its way to a 2-2 fourth-place finish.

            For the Knights, Dave Dudzinski had a game-high 22 points, followed by Christian Dillon with seven. Kaneland also had a rare game without a three-pointer.

            “It took us a little while to get going and find our shots,” KHS coach Dennis Hansen said. “Bottom line is we needed to shoot the ball better.”

            Bogan’s ball-movement and up-tempo offense had Kaneland reeling as the Knights also struggled to penetrate the Bengal defense. Down 12-6, KHS found a Dudzinski foul shot and a putback to close to within 12-9 with 30.6 second left in the first quarter before Bogan’s Myles Horton hit a buzzer-beater to go up 14-9 after one.

            Kaneland’s only field goal in the second quarter was a Steve Colombe jumper with 1:56 to go in the half to close within 23-17 before Bogan scored the final two baskets to go up 27-17 at halftime.

            Kaneland found itself down by 16 points at 37-21 with 2:24 to go, but Dudzinski’s shot and a buzzer-beater by Ryley Bailey closed to within 37-25 and gave the Knights some life.

            Bogan secured the lead by smart ball-control and hitting 9-of-10 foul shots to hold of the Knights. Kaneland managed to cut it to 39-29 on Dudzinski’s free throws with 6:52 to go, but six missed three-point attempts hindered the Kaneland comeback effort.

            Despite the loss, Kaneland’s Dudzinski had one of his stronger games of the young season.

            “He was calling for the ball more and getting inside to the basket and getting to the line and that’s what we like to see,” Hansen said.

            It was also nice for the team to get back on the court after weather cancellations and the loss of two classmates and friends.

            “It still weighs on our minds and it was nice to get back to what we need to do and that’s fight hard and try every night,” Hansen said.

            The boys were set to face Francis Parker High School from Chicago on Tuesday evening, and play two games on Saturday, Dec. 27. The first game would be against either North Boone, Alden-Hebron or Westminster Christian of Elgin, with the final being against either Hubbard, Sycamore or Marengo.

            Other teams competing in the tourney are Harvard, Winnebago and Hampshire.

            Following that is the much-anticipated game against Geneva at the United Center in Chicago with an 8:45 a.m. tip-off on New Year’s Eve.