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The INSIDER: Boys Basketball

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

SPOTLIGHT ON ...

Adam Price
Genoa-Kingston, senior, forward
Price led the Cogs on Thursday with 23 points in G-K’s 66-42 win over North Boone. 

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Burlington Central at Genoa-Kingston, 7 p.m. today A key Big Northern Conference game for the Cogs, who have aspirations of a league title.

DeKalb at Chuck Dayton Tournament, Thursday and Saturday The Barbs will look to get their season on track with games against Winnebago and Harlem this week.

POWER RANKINGS

1. Hinckley-Big Rock (7-2, 3-0 Little Ten): Royals lost a close game at Kaneland, but rebounded against Stillman Valley. 2. Indian Creek (9-1, 3-0 LTC): Timberwolves keep rolling with a big win over Hiawatha. 3. Genoa-Kingston (7-2, 2-1 Big Northern East): Cogs are playing well early on despite some injuries. 4. Sycamore (6-3, 2-1 NI Big 12 East): Spartans lost a tough matchup against Yorkville, but followed with a win at Glenbard South. 5. Kaneland (3-4, 2-1 NI Big 12): Knights rallied at DeKalb for another conference win. 6. Hiawatha (3-6, 1-1 LTC): Hawks still struggling against top competition. 7. DeKalb (1-8, 1-2 NI Big 12): Barbs let late lead slip away against Kaneland.

NOTES: Hawks improve on settling for jumpers

Hiawatha’s athleticism can almost work against the Hawks offensively.

At times they seem so intent on getting to the rim, players forego open mid-range and perimeter shots.

“The strength of our team is definitely slashing to the basket,” coach Danny Klein said, “but we have gotten better at settling for jump shots and hitting jump shots.”

The drive-and-kick game should play well for Hiawatha this season, but the Hawks will count on players like senior Dakotah Quimby to consistently be a threat from beyond the arc. Quimby knocked down a couple of key 3-pointers in the Hawks’ opening Little Ten Conference victory over Leland-Earlville.

Sycamore off to quick start

The Spartans quickly have asserted themselves as a contender in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East. With wins against Kaneland and Rochelle, followed by a tough loss to Yorkville, the Spartans are off to a 2-1 start in conference play.

“It’s a combination of the experience and just a little more talent, depth-wise,” Sycamore coach Andrew Stacy said. “If someone’s struggling, we can plug someone in. It’s an extra year of maturity.”

Part of that added depth has come from junior forward Ben Niemann, who was bumped up to the varsity team after playing at the sophomore level last season. He scored 15 points and added 14 rebounds in Sycamore’s victory Saturday over Glenbard South.

“Ben has done a great job,” Stacy said. “He’s a great athlete and has great instincts on the floor. He’s really improving on the offensive end, too.”

Sycamore will start play in Marengo’s holiday tournament Saturday, and Stacy is hoping for a little more consistency out of the Spartans in their defensive rebounding and rotations.

G-K defense progressing

The Cogs put up 85 points in their season opener against Rockford Christian Life, but also gave up 80 points in the overtime victory.

G-K coach Corey Jenkins has been pleased with the results of G-K’s defense during the past few weeks. The Cogs held Harvard to only 27 points and surrendered 42 points to North Boone. “It’s coming along,” Jenkins said. “We’ve been better the last couple games.”

VIEWS: Harris, David returns give Barbs, Knights boost

DeKalb needed a mere two minutes to see the quick benefits that came with the return of its senior center.

Andre Harris, playing in his first game of the season against Kaneland, was an immediate presence in the post. The touch and finishing ability wasn’t always there, but it was easy to see what Harris brings the Barbs: an athletic big man capable of providing another offensive threat. 

Kaneland got its own boost from the return of junior point guard Drew David, who had been recovering from a wrist injury suffered during the football season.

David’s rust was a bit more evident, failing to record a bucket until late in the fourth quarter, but his impact was even more pronounced, scoring eight key points in the final three minutes to help the Knights rally for a win.

“[David] showed tonight why he’s a big-time player,” coach Brian Johnson said after Friday’s 50-45 win. “It’s nice to have him back, obviously. It’s nice to have our floor leader.”

So what does it mean for the two Northern Illinois Big 12 East rivals?

In the short term, both provided much-needed help on both ends of the floor. In the long run, each becomes a threat in the NI Big 12 East.

DeKalb and Kaneland will have some work to do as winter break approaches, but the conference has proven early on to be unpredictable and balanced. Sycamore, a team that finished at the bottom of the standings last season, is 2-1.

None of the division’s six teams is going to run away with the conference title, but it might be Harris or David who swing the title toward DeKalb or Kaneland.

• Ross Jacobson is the sports editor of the Daily Chronicle. Write to him at rjacobson@shawmedia.com.

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