AURORA – The Kaneland boys basketball team used a strong first half and a balanced scoring attack to down host IMSA, 79-40, on Monday to advance to an IHSA Class 3A IMSA regional semifinals against St. Francis tonight.
The Knights (16-11) jumped out to a 41-24 lead at the break thanks to 10 points from junior John Pruett. Freshman Dylan Vaca came off the bench and hit three 3-pointers and the rout was on for Kaneland.
Four Knights, led by Vaca with a game-high 18 points, were in double figures in the blowout win.
“The goal was to come out and work hard and play the game the right way,” Kaneland coach Brian Johnson said. “It’s nice when we’re sharing the ball and playing unselfish. It’s important to see a guy like Dylan Vaca – who’s only a freshman – shoot the ball with a lot of confidence.”
St. Francis downed Kaneland early in the season, 63-50.
“We’re going to have to come with our best game. They work really well together – it’s a normal [coach] Bob Ward team,” Johnson said. “We have to step up to the plate if we want to stay in this tournament.”
Vaca (18 points), Pruett (15), Matt Limbrunner (13) and Dan Miller (10) were all in double figures for Kaneland.
3A Burlington Central Regional opening round – Burlington Central 51, Genoa-Kingston 30: At Burlington, confidence was never an issue for BC during its comfortable win against Genoa-Kingston.
The Rockets already had beaten the Cogs twice this season in Big Northern East play, once in a blowout on the road and once at home in an overtime loss that was too close for comfort.
Behind solid defense and 14 points apiece from Ryan Ritchie and Moter Deng, the Rockets (13-13) were never threatened and advanced to face Hampshire in a regional final at 6 p.m. today.
“We forced [the Cogs] to shoot contested jump shots and we limited them to one shot, and that was the key for us tonight,” BC coach Brett Porto said. “We went more back to the formula of what we did the first time against them. The first time, we played pretty well, like we did tonight.”
• Ian Matthews and Anthony Zilis contributed to this report.