MAPLE PARK – Yorkville recognized the threat Kaneland sophomore Troyer Carlson posed during Saturday’s non-conference game in Maple Park, but didn’t do enough to stop him.
The Foxes couldn’t slow his teammates either as Carlson led four Knights scoring in double figures with 19 points as Kaneland rolled to a 72-57 victory.
“Their best player hit (four threes in the first half) and everyone’s life got easier,” Foxes coach John Holakovsky said. “And we were already paying a lot of attention to Carlson. We talked about him all pre-game and all walkthrough. We talked about him as much as we could and he comes out and hits four threes early and that helps their other guys feel more confident.”
Kaneland (10-3), which was already playing with a great deal of confidence, has now won eight straight games.
Carlson hit a pair of threes in the final 23 seconds of the first quarter, including at the buzzer as the Knights began taking apart the Foxes (6-9).
Johnny Spallasso got involved from long-range to open the second quarter as senior Nick Mitchinson drove and dished out to the junior guard who finished off a 9-0 run that increased Kaneland’s lead to 22-10. That kind of teamwork paid off frequently for an offense that surpassed 70 points for the fourth time this year.
“They’re a really aggressive team that plays hard every game,” Holakovsky said. “They bring it. They’re physical. They’re aggressive, and they’re going to beat you up on defense without fouling, and offensively they’re going to move the ball and get a good shot.”
Senior Jacob Harrison poured in 18 points for the Knights, which included a 9-for-11 effort at the free throw line. Spallasso and sophomore Parker Violett each added 10 points.
“We’re playing more together as a team and sharing the ball more to get everyone involved which helped us put up (72) points tonight,” Harrison said. “We knew Yorkville was a tough opponent that’s played some big teams. They took West Aurora to OT a few night ago so to end up beating them shows how much pride we have to get down and guard tonight and get the win at home.”
The Knights didn’t allow the Foxes to get any closer than when they trailed 24-17 midway through the second quarter.
“Our confidence is starting to build up now,” Violett said. ”We’re starting to spread out the points with passing and others scoring and it’s working out.”
Kaneland enjoyed its biggest lead of the game at 60-39 at the end of the third quarter.
“The biggest thing for us is responding to some of the adversity, moving forward and getting good shots, and unfortunately we weren’t able to do that today,” Holakovsky said. “Our kids never stopped playing hard. We’ve just been struggling a bit shooting the ball the last three games or so, but we’ve hit a lot of shots throughout the season so we’ll get back to it.”
Sophomore Jason Jakstys led the Foxes with 20 points and seven rebounds. Senior DeTorrion Temple added 10 points.