JOHNSONBURG – Kane had the game's highest scorer by one point Monday night but the Johnsonburg Rams took care of the rest in an 81-54 victory in the Paper City.
The visiting Wolves were fueled by sophomore forward Jeffrey Kocjancic's game-high 23 points but it wasn't enough to overcome a trio of Johnsonburg Rams scoring in double figures.
Senior Mitchell Holmberg and sophomore Cameron Grumley finished with 22 and 21 points, respectively, while sophomore Cole Peterson contributed 13 points to the winning effort.
The Rams, now 12-3 on the season, used a full-court press early on to jump out to a 22-4 lead as Holmberg started what turned out to be a career night. The Rams started out on a 9-0 run with Peterson layup, a shot from senior Kyle Sheldon a minute later for a 4-0 lead, and a Peterson free throw; senior Michael Shuey and Holmberg followed with layups for a 9-0 lead before the Wolves got on the board with a Kocjancic layup.
Johnsonburg then rattled off an 8-0 run with a layup from junior Quinn Luhr, a layup from Peterson, and a shot from Grumley in the paint for a 15-2 lead.
Shuey put in a layup at the 1:29 mark of the first quarter before Kocjancic finally answered on the other end with a short jumper to cut the lead to 17-4.
Johnsonburg capped off the strong first quarter with a 3-pointer from Grumley, the first of his three downtown shots on the night, and a backdoor layup at the buzzer from Holmberg.
"We knew Johnsonburg would come out and pressure us, and that we'd have to be able to handle that pressure to be competitive in the game," said Kane head boys varsity basketball coach Brian Wymer. "Johnsonburg jumped on us early with their full-court pressure and we need to improve with that for next year, and going forward for the rest of the year.
"We need to handle pressure defense so we don't get into a rut from the beginning."
Kane faced an early 18-point deficit after the first quarter, an advantage that Johnsonburg head boys varsity basketball coach Bill Shuey said served as a huge advantage.
"Our defense kind of set the tone but Kane kept plugging away and had some nice half-court sets, and scored with some nice plays," coach Shuey said. "We kind of fell asleep defensively a bit in the second and third quarters. We got our steals and pushed the ball, and that's what kept us with the lead."
See full article by purchasing the Jan. 31 edition of The Kane Republican.