Cold shooting costs Kaneland vs. Sycamore
De'Shaun Harris' big third quarter helped put enough of a cushion between the Sycamore boys basketball team and Kaneland in a 53-47 road win Friday.
Harris sank three 3-pointers in the third quarter, all off assists from forwards Xavier Gagnepain and Jase Hayes, as the Spartans (12-5, 5-1 Interstate 8) outscored the Knights, 19-9, in the third quarter to go up, 38-25, heading into the fourth.
"Confidence comes from my teammates getting me open, making good plays to draw two people to kick it out," Harris said. "Coach tells me to have the confidence to shoot it if I'm open."
Harris scored nine of his 10 points in the third quarter and added four rebounds to go with strong defensive play against Kaneland's talented guards.
"His shot is starting to fall in practice," Sycamore coach Andrew Stacy said. "We've been talking about waiting for it to carry over to the game; not just him, but the whole team. He got in a rhythm, and Xavier [Gagnepain] did a good job when they doubled in the post."
The Knights (8-7, 4-2) made a late run, cutting what was a 14-point lead down to two when Porter Conroy scored at the rim to pull Kaneland within 47-45 in the final minute.
"We started picking up the pressure on defense, but that is hard to keep up in a whole game," Kaneland guard Will Cushman said.
Sycamore's Harris made 1 of 2 free throw to go up three before Cushman's shot on the other end was affected by Jackson Johnson, and the Knights traveled when falling on the basketball.
Johnson sank two free throws with 21 seconds left, only for Cushman to answer with two more free throws. The Knights pressed on the inbound pass, doubling Grant McConkey, as he was able to get the ball away to Johnson, who passed ahead to Lukas Overhaug who finished a layup to seal the victory.
"Throughout the first three quarters, we missed a ton of shots, and we missed a ton of point-blank shots, which we've got to fix," Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe said.
Johnson's rebounding provided the Spartans a boost in the second quarter, helping the Spartans to take back the lead from the Knights.
"It is a new conference, we have a chance to win conference and winning it in football, I'd love to have a chance to win it in basketball too," Johnson said.
Johnson scored 11 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had three steals. Gagnepain added 11 points.
"Me and Jase [Hayes] were actually talking before the game like, 'Hey, me and you [have to] get big down low and can really be a game changer.' Turns out he was right," Johnson said.