The locker room was completely silent, as solemn faces stared at the ground, exhausted after losing to DeKalb for the third time last year.
Seniors and varsity basketball players Chaon Denlinger, Tyler Callaghan and Matt Cowans remember all too well the pain of defeat and are working to come away with a victory against DeKalb this year. It will be a challenge for a team that lost several starters, including star center David Dudzinski, Ryley Bailey and Donavon Williams.
“We’ll have seniors that are going to need to step up this year,” Head Coach Brian Johnson said. Johnson said he is going to rely heavily on Denlinger and Callaghan. Denlinger had a solid 8.2 points per game last year and will most likely eclipse that mark this year.
Some of Kaneland’s toughest opponents will be DeKalb, Rochelle and Yorkville.
“Every game will be a tough game,” said Johnson. We lost a lot of seniors, so I just want to be competitive.”
During the off-season, Denlinger made improvements with his strength and ball handling, and Cowans made improvements with his jump shot and ball handling.
Both players said they are hoping play college ball and win regionals in the new NIB 12 conference.
“I like [the new conference] because it means we have a better chance to win,” Denlinger said.