DeKALB – Kaneland point guard Drew David’s wrist was still a little bit sore and his legs were tired as he took the floor for the fourth quarter of Friday’s 50-45 win against DeKalb, with the Knights trailing by five.
The junior three-year-starter was cleared to practice just two days prior after a fractured wrist kept him out of the first six games of the season, and running on the side of the practice court just didn’t prepare him for a full game.
“I’m pretty out of shape,” David said. “My legs were a little tired.”
David hadn’t made a shot all game when he pulled up for a three-pointer as the clock ticked past two minutes with the Knights down six, looking destined to lose for the fifth loss in seven games this season.
But the shot was picture-perfect, and it whittled the DeKalb lead down to three.
“I wasn’t thinking about what happened before the shot,” David said. “It was just instinct.”
With 45 seconds remaining, David dribbled to his right and sank another three-pointer to give Kaneland its first lead of the game.
All of a sudden, the Knights were in the drivers’ seat, and David’s two free throws put the win on ice.
“[David] showed tonight why he’s a big-time player,” coach Brian Johnson said. “It’s nice to have him back, obviously. It’s nice to have our floor leader.”
DeKalb (1-7, 1-2 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) began to implode before David’s heroics.
Nine fourth-quarter turnovers kept the Barbs from stretching their lead, and 6-7 forward Andre Harris, who was playing his first game of the season, fouled out with 1:27 remaining.
The Barbs looked in control after David’s first three-pointer, but a turnover led to a layup by Tyler Carlson to cut DeKalb’s lead to one before David put the Knights (3-4, 2-1 NI Big 12 East) up for good.
“I think we gave the game away,” DeKalb coach Dave Rohlman said. “It was ours to win all game, and we talked at half time, we talked in our scouting reports this week that they don’t go away. We were going to have to play all four quarters, and we didn’t do it tonight.”
David’s return, along with solid play from senior Matt Limbrunner, has the Knights looking like a team to be reckoned with down the stretch. Friday’s win was their second in a row after beating Hinckley-Big Rock on Wednesday.
“We started off slow,” said Limbrunner, who scored 14 points. “We’re just playing a lot better.”
Limbrunner knows that Kaneland is a different team with their point guard back, even when he’s not making clutch three-pointers.
“He has a really big impact on defense, getting a lot of turnovers,” Limbrunner said. “He controls our team, being a leader a little bit. What a point guard should do.”