MAPLE PARK – Kaneland senior guard Troyer Carlson achieved a historic feat as the Knights dominated their Interstate 8 Conference matchup against Rochelle on Feb. 9.
Carlson became Kaneland’s all-time scoring leader with 1,450 points and counting. He drilled a team-best five 3-pointers and led all scorers with 29 points as the Knights cruised over the Hubs 87-47 to move one step closer to an Interstate 8 title.
“It’s awesome and all of my hard work paid off,” said Carlson, who drained three 3-pointers in the first quarter. “My coach pulled me up to the varsity team as a freshman and I’ve been blessed with this opportunity. I have great teammates around me who are getting me open. I’m not hesitant. I like to shoot and I shoot the ball a lot.”
While the score was lopsided, Kaneland (21-4, 7-2 Interstate 8) held only a six-point lead at halftime as the Hubs hung tough behind a strong effort from freshman forward Brody Bruns and junior guard Cayden Moore.
The 6-foot-5 Bruns scored nine first-half points on four field goals and the shifty Moore sparked Rochelle (10-19, 3-7) with 10 first-half points, using his dribble-drive to finish four close-range shots at the rim.
The Knights blew the game wide open in the third quarter when they outscored the Hubs 30-9 and tallied 11 field goals, most of which came on breakaway layups in transition. Kaneland capitalized on its defensive length, getting deflections and turnovers in the half-court setting against the smaller Rochelle lineup. The Knights also controlled the glass during the game, closing possessions with rebounds to further extend their lead.
A two-handed dunk from 6-foot-6 forward Freddy Hassan capped an exciting third quarter for the Knights, who put the game on a running clock early in the fourth quarter. Hassan finished with 18 points, including nine in the third quarter for the Knights, who saw nine players enter the scoring column in the win. Parker Violett and Evan Frieders had nine points apiece. Jake Buckley and Preston Popovich each scored six points in the fourth quarter.
“We have so much talent,” Carlson said. “Freddy’s so good inside and we have shooters around the court. We get the ball into the paint and when we share the basketball, that’s when we’re at our best. We started running out of halftime and we were getting up and down the court. This season is what we’ve expected, but we still have more milestones we want to reach. We want to win a regional and we have a home sectional as well, so I think we’re far from done.”
Kaneland will play its final Interstate 8 contest against rival Sycamore on the road Friday. The Knights entered the Feb. 9 game against Rochelle tied with La Salle-Peru in the conference standings. A win over Sycamore would clinch at least a share of the Interstate 8 crown.