Kaneland wins rematch with Sycamore
Three straight turnovers for the Sycamore boys basketball team in the fourth quarter became six points for Kaneland as the Knights avenged an earlier home loss with a 46-41 win against the Spartans on Friday.
A 3-pointer by Tyler York at the third-quarter buzzer got the Spartans (5-7, 4-6 Interstate 8) back to within 30-28 in what had been a back-and-forth contest.
But the Knights (6-5, 5-5) scored the first eight of the fourth quarter, the last six of which came from Sycamore turnovers, including steals by Jamari Meeks and Troyer Carlson.
"It kind of came back to bite us tonight in that [fourth] quarter," Sycamore coach Andrew Stacy said. "We had three turnovers, and they got six points off those turnovers, and we ended up losing by five."
Meeks had only two points through three quarters but opened the fourth with a layup. He added a second one off a steal, then capped a personal six-point run when Carlson got a steal and fed the ball ahead to Meeks.
Meeks then returned the favor, getting a steal and feeding it ahead to Carlson, a freshman who led the Knights with 12 points off the bench.
"Jamari is figuring out what teams want to do to him," Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe said. "When he's patient and he doesn't force things, he's a great athlete and he's tough to stop. We just have to remind him of that sometimes. He's capable of having runs on his own, but he has to let that come to him and not force it."
That stretch put the Knights ahead 38-28 with 4:57 left in the game. The Spartans scored the next six to get within 38-34 but never got closer down the stretch.
Meeks finished with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.
"I think all his points pretty much came off turnovers in transition, and I think he got a couple looks, but it was off their fast breaks I think," Stacy said. "He was a guy we're trying to stop and did a good job, but we let him get loose there a couple times and that's where he's at his best. In the open court, he's really hard to stop."
Carlson hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter. One was part of a 10-0 Kaneland run that turned a 19-14 Sycamore lead into a 24-19 Kaneland lead. Sycamore scored six straight to retake the lead, but Carlson and Porter Conroy hit 3s on consecutive possessions as Kaneland regained the lead for good.
Colombe said he's been impressed with the freshman season Carlson has had.
"He's had double-digit games in the last couple," Colombe said. "He's developing. It's been pretty impressive considering we're not practicing a ton and he's learning on the fly. The guys, you can see they have a ton of confidence in him."
And although he's young, Colombe said he's been the top free-throw shooter. Carlson took the free throws at the end of the game to hold off the Spartans.
"We thought he could help us win games and he has been," Colombe said. "The seniors that we have, we've got some really good leaders. So we wanted him to be around them this year. That was important to us, too."