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Sports

Girls Basketball Notes: With no stars and four guards, Kaneland still getting it done

Kaneland guard Kelsey Modaff scores on a layup in the second quarter of their Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference game Jan. 11 in Maple Park.
Kaneland guard Kelsey Modaff scores on a layup in the second quarter of their Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference game Jan. 11 in Maple Park.

Ernie Colombe has coached Kaneland teams with stars.

Look no further than last year, when the guard tandem of Jenni Weber and Jamie Martens led the Knights.

This team, it’s different.

“We don’t have that one person that’s going to score you 15 points in a game,” Colombe said. “The unique thing about our team is they all do a little bit of everything. It’s kind of a unique team that way.”

And it’s worked.

Kaneland (15-8, 5-3), with an entirely new starting five, is humming along with another successful season. They’re coming off a 35-34 loss to Sycamore on Jan. 15, nearly mounting a comeback with a furious rally. A game with LaSalle-Peru was postponed because of snow.

If one person’s value is clear, it’s Keely Noel.

The 5-foot-7 junior, one of four guards in Kaneland’s starting five, is averaging 7.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists. When she was injured at Christmas, Kaneland went 0-3 at Decatur without her.

“She’s in there getting every loose ball she can,” Colombe said. “We’re kind of a small team. She does a lot of the dirty work for us.”

Sophomores Chloe Conley and Kelsey Modaff, who both recently had sisters pass through the Kaneland program, have combined to hit 67 3-pointers. Brianna Kigyos, Kaneland’s only starting forward, is tasked with tangling with 6-footers inside. Hannah Armin is averaging 6.1 points and 3.1 assists and has 38 steals.

“She just works her tail off,” Colombe said. “They all are getting better across the board, but Keely and Hannah kind of do it all. We rely on them quite a bit.”

North Stars pointing up

St. Charles North coach Mike Tomczak didn’t stew too long about his team’s 48-23 loss to Batavia on Jan. 10.

“You’ve been around this game long enough, you get one or two games like that no matter how good you are,” Tomczak said. “The fact of the matter is, you miss 17 layups, that won’t help you. We didn’t have it that night. File in the garbage and move on.”

North has indeed moved on.

Two nights later, the North Stars played DuKane Conference co-leader Wheaton Warrenville South to a four-point game with two minutes left in a 39-30 loss, then won at Cary-Grove 52-45 without Annie Tate and Talia Pellegrini.

Tate returned to score 19 points, Caroline Jakaitis had 13 and Emily Ludwig also had 13 in a 64-28 win over Jacobs on Jan. 21.

“We’ve rebounded nicely from that Batavia game,” Tomczak said.

Ludwig, likewise, has found her way again the last couple of games.

“She is still taking shots, which is great,” Tomczak said of his freshman guard. “It ebbs and flows. You beg for consistency, but from freshmen and sophomores sometimes you just don’t know.”

Rivalry rematch

Aurora Central and Rosary resume their Edgelawn Drive rivalry Jan. 24, this time at Rosary. The Chargers took the first meeting 48-36 on Jan. 7.

Aurora Central is led by junior Delani Kosner, averaging 13.7 points through 21 games.

Kosner scored a career-high 30 points against Harlem in December, had 21 against Joliet Catholic, 23 against Rich East and 17 against unbeaten Sandwich.

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