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Boys basketball: Limbrunner sparks Kaneland to quick lead, win over Dixon

More than just a name

(Michael Krabbenhoeft/
Kaneland's Tyler Carlson shoots over Dixon's Cal Jarrett during Saturday's game at Lancaster Gym. Kaneland won 76-62.

DIXON – The public address announcer called Cole Carlson’s name as Matt Limbrunner stood up from the bench before Saturday’s game between Kaneland and Dixon at Lancaster Gym.

Limbrunner, a 6-foot, 4-inch senior forward, shrugged his shoulders and ran out onto the court, pretty sure he was supposed to be in the Knights’ starting lineup. Kaneland coach Brian Johnson knew it was true.

As the teams gathered around center court, Johnson verified that the wrong name had been read and not that he had marked the wrong player in the scorebook.

The confusion proved to be the highest drama in the Knights’ 76-62 win over Dixon.

“That’s one the best teams out of the East side of the conference,” Dixon coach Jason Mead said. “They were bigger and faster than us. They were also hitting shots that I didn’t see them hit on any of the films I watched. Those shots forced us out of our zone right away.”

The Knights wasted no time getting the ball to Limbrunner. He was fed in the post on the first possession and powered up for two points. 

After an empty possession by Dixon, Dan Miller hit a jumper to put Kaneland up 4-0. 

Dixon (3-22) rallied, as Nate Gascoigne scored off an assist from Matt Coffey. Cal Jarrett scored moments later to tie things up.

Kaneland scored the next six points, but Dixon rallied to make it 12-8 with with 3:30 left in the quarter. 

The Knights (14-11) took over. Drew David hit a pair of 3-pointers, as Kaneland finished the quarter on a 11-2 run. It then scored the first four points of the second quarter for a 27-10 lead. 

“We knew that Dixon had beat DeKalb, who had beat us,” Johnson said. “So we couldn’t overlook them. I’ve known Coach Mead for a long time, and I know that he’s doing a great job here. This is a team that, in a few years, we are not going to want to face.” 

Kaneland maintained a 15-point lead through the rest of the first half. Limbrunner had 13 of his 15 points before the break. 

Carlson got starter’s minutes and played like one with a game-high 19 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter.

Dixon’s offense settled into a groove in the second half, as Laron Carr started consistently driving to the hole, and Coffey got hot from behind the 3-point line. 

“We did settle in offensively in the second half,” Mead said. “It’s another game with points in the 60s, which is good. But we can’t give up 70 points.” 

Carr finished with 16 points. Coffey hit five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points and three assists.

Star of the game: Matt Limbrunner, Kaneland, 15 points

Key performers: Cole Carlson, Kaneland, 19 points, 7 rebounds; Matt Coffey, Dixon, 17 points, 5 3-pointers, 3 assists; Laron Carr, Dixon, 16 points. 

Up next: Sandwich at Dixon, 7 p.m. Tuesday


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