Kaneland has easy time with Morris
A little home cooking always helps to get the positive energy flowing.
Kaneland's senior-laden squad took the home floor for the first time Friday night against Morris and treated the partisan crowd with a 23-1 first quarter barrage that included 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point range.
The Knights tacked on the first five points of the second quarter for good measure and pummeled the Redskins 72-41 in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East boys basketball opener for both teams.
Ryan David led four Knights in double figures with 18 points and 3 blocks while guard Mark Lilly hit 5-of-6 shots and finished with 15 points and 4 rebounds.
"You only get one chance to open at home your senior year and they wanted to make it special and they did," said Knights' coach Joe Conroy.
"You want to come out strong and start a good year and having the rowdies there helped get us pumped up and excited to play," David said.
Kaneland (4-1, 1-0) blitzed Morris with a full-court press that netted 7 first-quarter turnovers.
With Dylan Vaca on the bench with two quick fouls, the Knights' guards did heavy damage as Ethan Conroy drilled consecutive trifectas in an 8-point quarter, while Lilly scored 7 points. David closed out the flurry by banking in a long 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"Last year, usually we were on the other side of those runs, but this year we're bringing the intensity and we're strong on defense," David said. "It was a good run and we were able to put them in a hole and keep going."
"I think we caught them off guard a little bit because we didn't show that pressure a lot in the tournament," Conroy said. "I don't think their guards were ready for it."
Morris (4-2, 0-1) finally got some traction with a 10-2 run to close within 30-11, but Ethan Conroy completed a 13-point first half with a transition layup and 3-pointer.
Leading 42-19 at halftime, the Knights opened the third quarter with another 9-point run to put the game out of reach. Vaca tallied 7 of his 14 points in that stretch with Jacob Gomes adding a putback off a missed free throw.
The Knights led by as many as 38 early in the fourth before emptying the bench.
"We felt like we had a little dip late in the second quarter, and we just talked at halftime about not having any kind of letdown," Conroy said. "I was very impressed with how we came back out and played."
Matt Shaw hit three 3-pointers to lead Morris with 9 points while three others finished with 7 points.
The Knights now have a week to prepare before hosting Sycamore next Friday in a tough conference game.
"That will be an exciting game and we know they also have a lot of seniors who have something to prove," Conroy said.