Kaneland downs pesky Rochelle
Kaneland learned there's no such thing as a guaranteed win.
After playing a lethargic first half against a struggling Rochelle squad, the Knights returned to the court with renewed vigor.
They went on a 16-3 tear in the opening four minutes of the third quarter, paving the way for a 64-48 home victory in Saturday's Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference boys basketball crossover.
Kaneland senior forward Ryan David controlled play on both ends of the floor, collecting 28 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks.
Mark Lilly contributed 12 points and 6 rebounds while Jacob Gomes added 10 points and 7 rebounds to help the Knights (10-5) earn their fourth straight win.
"In the first half, I don't think we were mentally or physically ready to play the way we needed to play," said Kaneland coach Joe Conroy.
"There's never an easy game. I think the problem is the kids watch scores and everybody talks. The guys for Rochelle played amazingly hard tonight."
"At halftime, coach set the tone in the locker room telling us what we needed to do," David said. "We were able to work our offense, get easy layups and force them into difficult shots."
David scored 7 points as Kaneland broke out to an 11-3 lead, but Rochelle (4-13) answered with a trio of 3-pointers and moved in front 22-21.
The Kaneland bench, featuring Mitchel Groen, Jake Hed, Brett Hansen and Mason Conroy provided a spark in the final minutes of the half, holding Rochelle without a field goal.
A follow-up basket from Gomes and a pair of free throws from Mason Conroy put the Knights back in front 25-22 at halftime
"That was the message tonight. We can trust anybody to go out on the floor and contribute and make things happen," Joe Conroy said.
The momentum carried over as Gomes and David notched consecutive three-point plays early in the third.
Lilly and David tacked on 4 points each to extend the lead to 41-25. David's tip-in at the buzzer capped his 11-point quarter.
"Ryan was on a mission," Joe Conroy said. "He was getting points off of rebounds and chasing down missed shots. Defensively he was getting back, rotating and doing the things we needed him to, so it was pretty impressive."
"There were a lot of easy short rebounds coming off the rim and falling right to me. I guess the ball was just bouncing my way," David said.
The Knights held a huge advantage at the line, connecting on 23 of 31 attempts. Rochelle finished 6 of 8.
Junior Caleb Gould led the Hubs with 14 points while Colfay Pointer added 11.