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Kaneland boys basktball out-runs Rochelle for first conference win

MAPLE PARK – When all five players on the floor can score, a team can be dangerous. And that was the case for the Kaneland boys basketball team Friday night against Rochelle.

Five Knights finished scoring in double figures as Kaneland cruised to an 83-63 win. A contest that was competitive early saw the Knights earn their first win in Northern Illinois Big 12 East play this season.

“We have a lot of competitors and players that want to be out here and play,” senior John Pruett said. “Every day in practice, coach says it is the next guy up all of the time. Everybody knows their role. Just get out there and do what you do.”

Pruett scored 15 points for Kaneland (3-2, 1-1 NI Big 12 East) and added five rebounds and three assists. Tyler Carlson added to the scoring with 11 points and was one rebound shy of a double-double. 

“John, Drew [David] and Tyler are the leaders of our team, but [balanced scoring] has kind of been the trend throughout the year so far. We have multiple people that are scoring,” Knights coach Brian Johnson said. “Everybody is very unselfish. It is nice to keep people involved, and who doesn’t like playing on a team where you are going to get the ball?”

Kaneland led, 39-31, at halftime. The Hubs closed the gap to six on multiple occasions during the second quarter. But in the second half, the Knights came out firing.

The Knights opened the third quarter on a 12-2 run in the first four minutes to drive the lead to 51-33. Kaneland pushed the ball off of rebounds and turnovers throughout the game.

“We just constantly practice getting the ball and push,” Pruett said. “We just try to out-run teams. We try to get up the floor as quick as we can to get easy buckets.”

Kaneland forced 15 Rochelle turnovers and outrebounded the Hubs, 34-21. 

“We contested shots a little bit better and they tired out,” Johnson said. “They worked really hard on the floor and we capitalized on that. 

“You have to make them work on defense, and I thought that if we could get the ball down the floor a little bit, we could tire them out.”

After opening the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run and pushing the lead to 24, the Knights coasted to the victory. 

Dylan Vaca finished with 14 points and five rebounds. Ryan David added 10 points and Ben Barnes was the spark off the bench with a team-high 16 points.

Drew David chipped in with six points and four assists.

Kaneland’s next game will be Tuesday at Hinckley-Big Rock.

“We played well, but there is always room for improvement,” Pruett said. “We are a young team and it is early in the season, but we gave up a lot of points. We just need to tighten up our defense.”

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