PLANO – A late fourth quarter surge by the Kaneland boys basketball team was not enough to overcome a game marred by turnovers and frustration.
Kaneland fell to Newark, 57-50, in the Knights’ opener at the Plano Christmas Classic Thursday after a fourth quarter run that pulled the Knights back into contention.
Trailing, 53-42, with a minute left in the game, Kaneland guard Drew David hit a contested 3-pointer that seemed to breath life back into the struggling Knights. After a Newark turnover, Kaneland guard Ben Barnes added a basket to pull the Knights within six.
Kaneland (4-3) then forced another turnover and fed the ball inside to forward John Pruett, who was fouled hard but still managed to make the layup to push the score to 53-49. Pruett could not connect on the ensuing free throw and Kaneland was forced to foul from then on, allowing Newark (9-3) to pull away for good.
Kaneland’s Ty Carlson scored 15 for the Knights, all of which in the first three quarters, but he was most impressed with the team’s performance in the final frame.
“If we play the way we played in the fourth quarter it’s a total different game,” Carlson said. “We’ve got to wake up.”
Carlson kept the Knights within striking distance through the first three quarters. After Newark connected on three unanswered 3-pointers in the second quarter, Carlson hit one of his four layups in the quarter to quiet the surge and rejuvenate a struggling Kaneland team. Carlson finished with nine points in the quarter.
The Knights ran into trouble in the second quarter after finishing the first up, 16-10. Newark forward Jack Clausel, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, controlled the paint on both sides of the ball, scoring seven and locking down on Kaneland’s frontcourt.
Three 3-pointers from the Norsemen’s Will Clausel, Jack Clausel and Steve McGrath opened up a lead that stood for the remainder of the game. The Knights were outscored, 21-13, in the second quarter.
Despite being outplayed in the second quarter, the Knights entered the second half down only two, 31-29. However, the Norsemen opened the third period on a 10-2 run that was spurred by Jack Clausel. Kaneland was able to do some damage control on defense, but only managed six points in the quarter on offense to fall behind, 43-35, heading into the fourth quarter.
Kaneland coach Brian Johnson was surprised that his team was still within striking range toward the end of the game after struggling so badly in the middle quarters.
“When you turn the ball over and make not fundamentally sound decisions, this is what happens,” Johnson said. “Newark took us out of our game.”
Johnson credited the Knights’ ability to work inside the paint for the late run.
“We actually didn’t start attacking the basket until the last minute of the game,” Johnson said. “When we did, we had some good results, except for our extremely poor free throw shooting. We’re not a team that’s going to light it up from the outside and we started settling.”
Kaneland starting guard Dylan Vaca left the game in the second quarter with a wrist injury and did not return. Johnson said that the extent of the injury is unknown until Vaca gets it checked out.
Carlson’s team-leading 15 points were followed by Pruett’s 14, David’s 11 and Ryan David’s five points.
Jack Clausel lead all scorers with 19 points. His efforts were supplemented by Will Clausel’s 16 points and Matt Eike’s eight.
The Knights and Genoa-Kingston will meet at 2 p.m. today in a consolation matchup of teams that were upset, by seed, in Thursday’s action.