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Kaneland basketball coach Brian Johnson has seen 4-year varsity veteran Drew David make his share of clutch plays both on the football field and basketball court over the course of his high school athletic career.
David's 25-point performance during the Knights' 81-70 Class 3A regional semifinal victory over fourth-seeded Glenbard South Tuesday night in Maple Park didn't come as a total surprise to Johnson.
"He didn't want to lose tonight," Johnson said of David. "It's nice having a senior like that."
What did come as an unexpected treat for Johnson was watching sophomore sixth man Dylan Vaca add 20 points -- including a pair of 4-point plays.
His second 4-point play of the contest turned a 56-54 deficit into a 58-56 lead with 6:33 remaining -- a lead the Knights (17-9) never relinquished.
"Dylan had two 4-point plays which you don't see too often," said Johnson. "Obviously having a kid come off the bench and put in 20 (points) helps."
"I've had one or two of them before but certainly not two of them in one game," Vaca said of the unconventional 4-point plays. "It was a crazy feeling just to get them to fall like that."
Crazy was something Raiders coach Wade Hardtke was in no mood to witness.
"I don't think I've ever seen … I know I've never seen two of them in one night," said Hardtke. "I guess what do you say to that?"
The game, which featured 7 ties and 10 lead changes, appeared headed for a last-minute outcome until Vaca's second 4-point play ignited the Knights' 10-0 run.
Drew David followed with his third 3-pointer of the game from the top of the key while a putback by senior forward John Pruett (15 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists) and free throw from Vaca extended Kaneland's lead to 64-56 with 4:40 left.
"I thought Drew was huge -- he made some big shots," Johnson said of David, who shot 7-for-11 from the field and added 7 assists and 4 rebounds. "You kind of come to expect big moments out of him."
Sidelined for 6 weeks with a broken wrist suffered in a holiday tournament game on Dec. 26, Vaca also delivered a 3-point play with 1:59 remaining to put the Knights up 68-58.
"It feels really good," Vaca said of his wrist. "I got my first three to fall and felt like I was shooting it pretty well so I thought I might as well shoot a couple more and see if they would fall."
Sophomore Ryan David joined his older brother in double figures with 13 points for the Knights, who will look to capture their second regional title in 3 years against either St. Francis or Marmion Friday night.
"The last time we had a regional final here, Drew was an eighth-grader and we had (Dave) Dudzinski (now a senior starter at Holy Cross)," said Johnson. "He was at that game and I think he wanted to get that feeling.
"It's a big deal to Drew and it's a big deal to all the kids but this is Drew's fourth year doing it."
Senior guard Chaun Rickette tallied a game-high 30 points for the Raiders (16-12) while Tyler Scott and Billy Bair added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
"He's a little guy but he's got a big heart," Hardtke said of Rickette. "He has been doing it for us all year and tonight was no different.
"The last one is always tough."