WHEATFIELD – When you play your neighbors in basketball in Indiana, it is never neighborly. The Kougar Boys’ Basketball team needed overtime to hang-on over the visiting Hebron Hawks on Friday, Feb. 8, in a hard-fought battle of two teams determined to win.
The Kats came out on top 56 – 53 with senior Billy Bonilla providing most of the fire-power for KV, notching 21 points. Fellow senior Wade Williams was the only other Kougar in double figures, hitting five put-backs for ten points. Six other players contributed to the win in the relatively low-scoring game.
For the Hawks, junior Jake Friel hit for 19 points and fellow junior Ethen Drook notched 11. Bubbling just under double digits was sophomore Logan Clark with nine.
Kankakee Valley and Hebron traded baskets early on with neither team truly dominating the other. The game would reach the halfway mark with the Kougars barely ahead 22 – 20. That parity continued after the break with both teams scoring just eight apiece in the third.
In the final frame, Hebron was still down by two when, in a hotly-contested call, Hebron shot as the buzzer to end the game finished sounded and it was counted. That last basket tied it up at 42-even and sent the game into overtime.
KV would score first in the bonus frame and took the ball back when an airborne Jaxon Grace played the ball from out-of-bounds off his Hebron guard. Hebron then seemed to pick up the pace but that was cut short by Grace who snagged a pass and went the distance to score on a high-flying layup. That layup energized the Kougars who managed to outscore their opponents 14 – 11 in overtime for the win.
After the game, KV Coach Billy Shepherd was circumspect about the game.
“You could tell that we were rusty tonight after a two-week layoff (due to the weather),” said Shepherd. “We gutted it out, however, and they did what they needed to do to get a win.”
He gave kudos to Grace, as well.
“When Jaxon’s in the game, he can make a difference with his pure hustle. I’ve tried to get all of them to realize that no matter when you go into the game or how many minutes you play, you have to give it your all when you hit the floor.”
Hebron 09 – 11 – 08 – 14 – 11 = 53
Kankakee Valley 09 – 11 – 08 – 12 – 14 = 56
Hawks: Jake Friel 7-0-6-5-19; Michael Briggs 0-0-4-3-3; David Steffen 0-0-0-0-0; Ethan Drook 3-1-2-2-11; Josh Clemens 2-0-2-0-4; Griffin Moore 0-0-6-1-1; Matt Kubiak 3-0-2-0-6; Malachi Lara 0-0-0-0-0; Logan Clark 4-0-1-1-9.
Kougars: Matt Caldwell 1-0-0-0-2; Malik Hemphill 2-0-0-0-4; William Bonilla 5-1-12-8-21; Elijah Carden 1-1-0-0-5; Grant Marshall 2-0-2-0-4; Tyler Martin 2-0-6-4-8; Jaxon Grace 1-0-2-0-2; Will Dyniewski 0-0-2-0-0; Wade Williams 5-0-0-0-10.