By Bob Balgemann, REPORTER

 Harlem Cheer has come home with a first place trophy from the recent Midwest Cheerfest, held at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park. The Lady Huskies competed in the Large Varsity Class with nine other schools that have sizable enrollments. Harlem totaled 82.61 points to 79.42 for runner-up Batavia and 78.92 for third place Prospect. Head Coach is Rebecca Doxtater. Harlem’s second competition of the year will be Monday (Dec. 18) at suburban Rolling Meadows High School. 

Tambryn Hecox, a Junior at Harlem, made the announcement of the Cheer squad’s success during the Dec. 5 Machesney Park Village Board meeting. She is the liaison between the high school and Village and brings officials up to date on happenings at Harlem. She had another bit of information for Trustees, reporting that Senior football standout Brenton Shaw was honored at halftime of the Dec. 4 professional football game between the Chicago Bears (3-9) and San Francisco 49ers (1-11). He set a new NIC-10 record for rushing yardage during the recently concluded 2016 season. And, now some 20,000 football fans know about it, too. Soldier Field actually holds 61,000 people, but attendance for the 49ers reportedly was one of the lowest in years because of bad weather. Still, it was a good day for the Bears who won, 26-6.

Meanwhile, two relay teams at Harlem recently broke Freshman school swimming records during a NIC-10 dual meet. Kai Anucauskas, Nate McNames, Jose Martinez and Josh Galindo set a new standard in the 200-meter freestyle relay while Nate, Josh, Jose and Donavan Zezniewski broke the record in the 200-meter medley event. During that time span Harlem’s swimmers won two of three meets, defeating Jefferson, 97-71, and Byron, 92-75, while losing to Auburn, 102-51. Harlem’s Junior Varsity raced past Byron, 98-31.

Harlem’s Varsity Girls Basketball Team once again showed its Christmas spirit, this time by raising $1,800 for the annual toy drive the school holds in conjunction with Harlem Township. The school itself came up with another $5,000, with Township officials gathering Dec. 5 in the school lobby to collect the toys.

Most recently, on the basketball court, the Lady Huskies (6-4) won their first NIC-10 game of the season, 55-52 on the road at Belvidere. It was a wild first half with the Lady Huskies roaring to an 18-8 lead after the opening quarter. But the Lady Bucs (3-5) did some roaring of their own, claiming the second period, 17-8, and trailed only by one, 26-25, at halftime. Harlem won the decisive third quarter, 15-13, and then battled the hosts to a 14-14 standoff over the final eight minutes of play. Senior Kahley Logan led the victory with 14 points while Freshman Brielle Shaw and Junior Paige Schneider added 11 apiece. Earlier, at home against Belvidere North, the Lady Huskies dropped a 50-36 decision. It was a relatively close game in the early half going with North leading, 26-21, at halftime. But, the Lady Blue Thunder (4-3) opened it up with a 12-1 advantage in the third quarter, to build a 16-point advantage. The same night Harlem’s Sophomores engaged in a thriller with North, which the Lady Blue Thunder won, 38-36. 

Meanwhile, Harlem’s Boys Basketball Team was at home and edged North, 64-61, behind a 22-point performance by Senior Allen White III. Another Senior, Austin Navickis, chipped in eight points while Sophomore David Williams, Junior Christian Albright and Senior Logan Myers all contributed seven apiece. It was reported that the team defense made the difference in this one.

CHRIS ANDERSON, PHOTO - The Journal. Harlem's Klairissa Boisvert (10) battles two Blue Thunder opponents for control of the ball during the game against Belvidere North on Dec. 6.

Harlem’s Klairissa Boisvert (10) battles two Blue Thunder opponents for control of the ball during the game against Belvidere North on Dec. 6.

The win evened Harlem’s overall record at 3-3, while it was the first NIC-10 success for the Huskies in three tries. North fell to an overall 0-7 for the season.

Friday night (Dec. 9) the Huskies traveled to Belvidere where they lost a 55-40 Conference decision. The game was close until the third quarter when the Bucs (3-6) outpointed the visitors, 18-8, to take command.

A key conference game is on tap for the Huskies Friday night (Dec. 16) when they travel to Rockton to battle once-beaten Hononegah. The Indians only loss of the season was to Boylan, 69-68. After falling behind, 54-43, the Titans outscored Hononegah, 26-14, in the fourth quarter for the victory.

Looking further down the road Harlem will be playing in DeKalb at the 89th Chuck Drayton Classic over the Christmas holidays. The top seeds, No. 1 Geneva, No. 2 Ridgewood, No. 3 Chicago Schurz and No. 4 West Chicago, currently have a combined 23-2 record.

The Huskies will open the tournament on Dec. 27 against Lemont at 4:45 p.m. The Indians brought a 2-3 record into this week as members of the South Suburban Blue Conference. The school has an enrollment of 1,377 students.

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