Yorkville offered compelling evidence Friday night the inherent difficulties of a prep athletic team beating a foe three times in the same season are misleading.
Behind four players in double figures, the Foxes dealt the Kaneland boys basketball team a fatal blow for top honors in the Northern Illinois Big XII East Conference with a 62-51 victory in Maple Park.
Yorkville, despite its solid 18-7 overall mark, was already eliminated from conference-championship consideration with its 5 league losses.
"I can't explain it," Yorkville coach Dan McGuire said of twin losses to both league leaders Rochelle and DeKalb.
But the Foxes turned the trifecta against the Knights -- the schools met in the semifinals of the Plano Holiday Classic -- behind a critical stretch to close out the second quarter.
Yorkville ended the first quarter with a mini-burst and took command of the game by scoring the last 11 points of the second quarter, concluding a 22-6 run to lead 30-18 at the half.
Josh Williams' 9 second-quarter points framed the Foxes' run, but it was the spirited play of reserve point guard Brett Assell who turned the tide for Yorkville.
"(Assell) is a nice role player," Kaneland coach Brian Johnson said.
Assell had a putback, a pair of assists and 3 defensive rebounds as Kaneland ended the half by missing its final 8 shots.
"When you settle for jumpers and don't take it to the basket, that's what happens," Johnson said of the Knights' 5-point second-quarter output.
Kaneland (15-9, 5-4) did not fare much better in the third quarter, going 2-for-11 in the frame, as backcourt mates Trever Heinle and Drew David had the Knights' lone field goals.
In the heated atmosphere of the long-standing rivalry, emotions were at a fever pitch.
Johnson, incensed over what he perceived as a double standard regarding charging fouls, incurred a technical foul.
After a relatively productive first-quarter output of 13 points, the Knights entered the fourth quarter trailing by 18 points after Yorkville limited the squad to same number of points over the middle two quarters.
"We knew it was going to be a war at first," said McGuire, a reserve guard on the 1997 Class AA West Aurora state runner-up team. "(Rebounding) was the big key tonight. It helped us to demoralize them."
Staring at a 44-26 deficit with eight minutes to play, Kaneland played with reckless abandon in the fourth quarter.
Thomas Williams' 8 consecutive team points helped the southpaw lead all players with 20 points, and Kaneland erupted for 25 points in all.
"We just dug ourselves a hole and we couldn't get back in it," Williams said. "(The offense) didn't click until the fourth quarter."
Marcel Neil added 10 points for Kaneland.
Cody Bailey had 19 points to pace Yorkville.