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Kaneland's climb not finished yet
By John Lemon | Daily Herald Staff

Kaneland’s Sarah Grams, pictured going in for a layup in last year’s sectional championship game against Belvidere North, is one of the seniors who has helped turn the Knights’ record around the past few years.


Rick West | Staff Photographer

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Published: 11/15/2012 3:31 PM

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The goals keep coming, and Kaneland keeps checking them off.

Just two years removed from a 5-win season, the Knights went 20-10 last year, won their first regional title since 2005 and reached the Class 3A Sycamore sectional championship game.

Now a new goal — trying to knock off DeKalb as the class of the Northern Illinois Big 12 East.

“We have a great group of players to work with day in and day out,” Knights coach Ernie Colombe said. “We have a lot of high character players and our practices have been very competitive.

“This is a deep team that will rely a lot on senior leadership. We build everything around our defense and have been very pleased so far. Our conference is very tough in girls basketball and anyone can beat anyone on a given night.”

Forward Ashley Prost leads those senior returnees after averaging 10.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and pocketing 42 steals last year — all team-highs — in an All-Area season.

Seniors Emma Bradford, Allyson O’Herron and Sarah Grams will play guard, with Bradford able to slide and take minutes at forward.

“Emma is our most versatile player,” Colombe said. “She can do whatever is asked of her including guarding anyone from the 1-4 spots on the floor. We are counting on her to increase her scoring this year.

“Allyson is one of the best shooters in the area. Allyson is always ready to hit the big shot. We are counting on her to be a consistent threat and scorer. Sarah was one of the most improved players on the team last year. She did a great job of running the offense for us down the stretch. She is very tough defensively and is a very smart player. She has improved her shot and will provide us with another shooter on the court this season.”

Senior Brooke Harner and junior Marina Schaefer bring back experience at forward.

“Brooke is one of the key players on this team. She rebounds as well as anyone we have. She is a top defender and will be asked to lock down some of our opponents’ best players. She has worked a lot on her offense and should see an increased role on offense,” Colombe said.

“Marina has really improved her shot and will be a factor for us this year. We think she has the ability to stretch the defense and allow us to open things up inside.”

Colombe also has three newcomers who will be part of the rotation: junior guard Caroline Heimerdinger, sophomore post Ally Van Bogaert and freshman forward Vanessa Gould.

“Caroline can run the point and is capable of knocking down the 3. Great ballhandler with excellent open court vision,” Colombe said.

“Ally has a lot of potential and we think she has ability to rebound and score inside for us. She has a nice game facing the basket and will be counted on to defend in the post. Vanessa has really stepped up and has a ton of potential. She is an excellent athlete who will really help us defensively with her long arms. She rebounds very well and has the ability to score off the drive which goes along well with her midrange game.”

Coach: Ernie Colombe

Last year: 20-10

Key players: Ashley Prost (sr., F); Emma Bradford (sr., F/G); Allyson O’Herron (sr., G)

Skinny: Colombe has program on the upswing