Kaneland drops 1st conference game
Ethan Feiza and the Kaneland Knights left Friday night perhaps feeling a little frustrated.
After the Knights came back from 10 points down to take the lead entering the fourth quarter, Plano was able to grind out a 65-55 win to hand Kaneland its first Interstate Eight conference loss of the season.
"Definitely frustrating," Feiza said. "This game was really important to us to stay on top and show the rest of the conference that we're a new team this year. [But], last year is in the past."
Kaneland (8-6, 4-1) had some difficulty keeping a trio of Plano players in check. Griffin Cross, Robbie Taylor and Gabe Rodriguez each scored 17 points apiece.
Kaneland, down 10 with 2:05 left in the third quarter, roared back beginnig with Will Cushman's layup and free throw. Feiza followed with a layup before Brett David also hit a layup to pull within 42-39.
Jamari Meeks hit a layup before Cushman made a pair of free throws to take the 43-42 advantage into the fourth quarter, but Plano ultimately held firm. Kaneland made it a 47-45 game with 5:47 left, but Cross scored eight of his 17 points in the final quarter.
"Coach [Ernie Colombe] played a big role in that [initial comeback], just getting our heads right," Feiza continued. "We all kind of figured it out together, [and] realized we're still in this; we can still fight."
Plano (10-6, 4-1) extended its winning streak to four games. Kaneland, meanwhile, had just snapped a three-game losing streak with its 54-42 win over LaSalle-Peru on Tuesday.
"I just told them [postgame] I think we were in control just about the whole game, except for whatever happened at the end of the third quarter there," Plano coach Kyle Kee said.
Plano, trailing 21-18 after a Cushman layup, ended the first half on a 9-0 run for a 27-21 lead. Robbie Taylor hit a pair of free throws. Kaneland then turned the ball over, and Cross hit a layup in transition to re-take the lead.
After one Taylor made free throw, Mason Accidentale and Taylor each hit layups to give the Reapers a halftime lead.
Kaneland was paced by Cushman's 17 points, followed by Feiza's eight points and three rebounds. David had six points and three rebounds, while Meeks finished with six points and four rebounds. Porter Conroy had eight points and three rebounds.
"This was the big win that we needed," Kee said. "We feel like we're a good team; we just haven't had that big signature win, and this is a big win."