Boys basketball: Sean Reynolds scores 26 as DeKalb cruises past Kaneland

Freddy Hassan totals 10 points, seven boards for Knights, while Troyer Carlson posts a Kaneland-high 13

DeKalb’s Justin O’Neal and Kaneland's Freddy Hassan go after a rebound during their game Monday, Feb. 12, 2024, at Huntley Middle School in DeKalb.

DeKALB – DeKalb assistant coach Julian McElroy wasn’t at the Barbs’ game Monday against Kaneland because of a prior commitment, but the message he gave the players earlier Monday sure was.

The Barbs led by as many as 27 in a 66-47 win against the Knights at Huntley Middle School.

“He told us to just be special,” said Sean Reynolds, who made his first five 3-point attempts and finished with 26 points. “It’s a rivalry game, and we want to show we’re the best in the area. That kind of motivated all of us to come out big.”

Kaneland’s only lead was 4-2 after a Freddy Hassan layup, but Reynolds answered back with a 3-pointer, Davon Grant followed with a dunk and the Barbs (22-7) were up 20-9 after the first quarter.

The Knights (22-5) inched back into the game, and after a Hassan layup trailed 27-21 with 2:42 left in the first half. But Reynolds hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, kicking off a 22-1 run that opened up a 49-22 lead with 3:55 left in the third quarter.

The Knights went 7:30 without a field goal. Hassan ended the drought with a dunk.

“I thought we forced some shots, which we struggle with on some nights,” Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe said. “Too many guys trying to do things, trying to make stuff happen. But we’ve got to play better as a team offensively, especially against a team like DeKalb. They forced us into a lot of tough shots. I don’t think we were patient enough.”

The game was played at the middle school because there was a girls regional tournament scheduled for the high school gym Monday night. The boys game was a make-up from last month between the Barbs and Knights.

Hassan finished with 10 points and seven rebounds in the loss but shot 5 for 18 from the floor. Troyer Carlson, who last week became the program’s all-time leading scorer, led the way with 13 points but struggled from the floor, shooting 3 for 15.

“Defensively, I felt we kind of shut Carlson down,” Sean Reynolds said. “He shot a lot of shots, but I feel like we were there when he shot them contesting them. That’s how I feel we won the game, getting the first rebound and playing defense.”

DeKalb coach Mike Reynolds said Jackson Kees did a good job of guarding Carlson, who was 7 for 10 from the free-throw line and had three steals and six rebounds. The DeKalb coach said that the biggest difference during the run was the rebounding of the Barbs.

Hassan had five rebounds in the first half, four of them on the offensive end. Carlson had four of them, two offensive, while Parker Violett had four rebounds, all in the second quarter, and one on the offensive end.

Once the Barbs started getting the first rebound, Mike Reynolds said that started leading to some transition buckets.

“Freddy and [Violett] hurt us in the first half with some rebounds,” Mike Reynolds said. “With them you always try to contain Carlson. He plays well, but we’ve seen a lot of good guards this year. I think Jackson was ready for the challenge and did a great job on him.”

DeKalb center Davon Grant was in early foul trouble, finishing with seven points, two rebounds and two steals. But with more playing time, Justin O’Neal finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds off the bench. Eric Rosenow had six points, seven rebounds and three steals. Kees had eight points, two steals and a block.

Colombe said the Knights hoped to play stronger on offense in the second half but knew it was a tough task against a defensive-minded DeKalb team.

“We were playing a little more physical and wanted to get better shots,” Colombe said. “But it’s not as easy as just saying it. The kids know DeKalb is not going to let you just do that. I thought we made our share of mistakes. I also thought, tip your hat to them for how well they played defensively.”

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