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Boys basketball: Kaneland closes fast against Sandwich

Sandwich's DakotPadillKaneland's John Prueti scramble after loose ball Saturday play-round game Plano Christmas Classic. 
Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media

Sandwich's Dakota Padilla and Kaneland's John Prueti scramble after a loose ball Saturday in a play-in round game of the Plano Christmas Classic. Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 6, 2013 10:05PM

The rims didn’t look small, but the way outside shots weren’t falling for Kaneland and Sandwich Saturday in their Plano Christmas Classic opener, an observer had to wonder.

The Knights, who missed all nine of their shots from beyond the three-point line in the game, solved the issue by going inside and took advantage of 29-19 rebounding edge to claim a 52-31 decision over the Indians.

“They’re the first team that has muscled us like that on the defensive end. We haven’t seen that,” said Sandwich coach Ben Bates, whose team fell to 1-5 and is still fighting to get its legs under it after not playing in a season-opening Thanksgiving tournament.

“They flat out pushed us around and killed us on the offensive boards. We have been getting steals and layups.”

Not in this game. The Knights had just 10 turnovers and got 19 points from forward Tyler Carlson, 12 from John Pruett and 11 from Matt Limbrunner.

“Our main goal was to control the tempo of the game and I felt like we did that today,” said Carlson, who had a game-high 10 rebounds.

“I think our defense created a lot of our offense toward the end there,” said Kaneland coach Brian Johnson, whose 4-4 team led 10-8 after one quarter but held the Indians scoreless for the opening 6:19 of the second quarter and led 18-13 at halftime.

It was 30-22 after three before the Knights blew it open with a 22-9 edge in the fourth quarter.

“We were able to get some turnovers and then get a couple easy baskets,” continued Johnson. “And, we got some offensive putbacks and a few that turned out to be ‘and-ones’ and that helped to get a little separation.

“We wanted to work inside but we probably settled for threes (early on) and when we’re not hitting them, we’re struggling.”

So was Sandwich, which went just 2 of 15 from beyond the arc and managed just 29 percent (12-41) from the floor for the game.

“I thought Dan Miller did an excellent job on (Sandwich forward) Seth McDonald,” said Johnson. “(McDonald) is a pretty dynamic scorer and he limited him to five points. Miller doesn’t get huge offensive stats but he hits the boards and does a lot of nice things for us.”

Senior guard Liam Crotty led the Indians with eight points.

“They worked hard and had more of a will to win. And we had a lot of fouls, too,” said Crotty.

“It was a 16-to-5 ratio at one point and they made a lot of free throws.”

The Knights finished 18 of 21 from the line while Sandwich made all five of its attempts.

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