By Bob Balgemann


Harlem’s Huskies basketball team enjoyed a successful week as it bounced back from a loss to Rockford East to notch four consecutive victories.

Meanwhile, in a showdown among NIC-10 bowling powerhouses, Freeport’s boys rallied from an early deficit to seize a 14-pin win over Harlem and remain in contention for this year’s conference title. Then Rockford East took a big lead after two games before holding on to stun Harlem by 49 pins, 3,684 to 3,535. For the Huskies it meant dropping to 2-3 for the season.

Harlem’s junior varsity remained in first place in its division, sporting a 5-0 record.

The Lady Huskies’ varsity and junior varsity bowling teams remained undefeated, each at 4-0, and on top of their respective NIC-10 divisions. They are continuing their quests for consecutive league championships.

In boys basketball, Harlem (6-1) showed strength on both offense and defense while winning four in a row, three of them against NIC-10 opponents. Meanwhile, the Lady Huskies saw their string of five consecutive wins on the basketball court come to an end at the hands of rival Hononegah.

Most recently the Huskies met another 5-1 team, Winnebago, and won that evenly matched battle, 64-60.

The Indians led 14-13 after a tight first quarter but Harlem came back to forge ahead, 32-31 at halftime. It was 47-44, Huskies, after three and they also claimed the final period, 17-16, for the four-point triumph.

Harlem had one of its better shooting nights of the season, hitting 49 percent overall including 20-39 of its two-point attempts. Thirty-eight of its points came from within the paint and there were 12 assists.

Senior Dominic Dawsey led the offense with 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Junior Lathan Lewis followed with 16 points, making 6-of-9 two-pointers; sophomore DeAndre Young and junior Alex Wilson scored nine apiece; while senior Trent Tucker netted five. Together, Dawsey, Lewis, Young and Wilson combined to corral 21 of their 36 field goal tries, which is just under 60 percent.   

Earlier and after the setback to East, the Huskies got on the road to recovery three days later by routing Belvidere, 67-39, on the strength of a strong second half. They were up by just 34-26 at halftime, then stormed past the Bucs, 33-13, in the third and fourth quarters to improve to 3-1 against NIC-10 opponents.

Harlem shot 40.9 percent for the night, had a season-best 17 steals and pressured Belvidere into 31 turnovers, while committing just 11 itself. Points in the paint amounted to 35 this night.

Lewis had the hot hand in the victory, hitting 8-of-14 shots and putting 19 points on the scoreboard. Dawsey added 16; Young and senior Cole Buelow, nine apiece; and Tucker, seven.

The 2021 season moved quickly along with the Huskies next meeting always tough Auburn and showing its prowess in the first half, outscoring the Knights, 26-14, on the way to a 47-31 win.

This was a 47-percent shooting night for Harlem and a standout game on the defensive boards, when it hauled down a season-high 27 caroms. Also on defense the Huskies pressured the usually sharp-shooting Knights into missing 15 of their 16 three-point attempts. Harlem, meanwhile, made 50 percent of its 18 three-pointers led by Dawsey, Lewis and senior Landon Gordon, who combined to go 7-of-13 from long range.

Dawsey sparked the offense with 13 points, followed by Lewis with 12, Gordon with 10 and Young with eight.

In the last game before the nail-biter against Winnebago, Harlem had little trouble disposing of usually scrappy Belvidere North, 51-33. Head coach Mike Winters cleared his bench in this one, with nine of the 11 getting floor time putting points on the board.

Team-wise, the Huskies nailed an amazing 17-of-20 two-point field goal attempts, for an 85 percent success rate. Overall, they rang up 57.9 percent of their tries, including 3s. Lewis had another hot night, hitting 6-of-10 field goal attempts for a game-high 14 points. Gordon added eight; Dawsey, seven; Tucker, five; Wilson, Buelow and 6-foot-7 senior Adrian Shemshidini, four each; Young, three; and senior Vince Falcon, two.

Harlem had another solid first half, leading the Blue Thunder 26-14 at intermission and 43-20 after three quarters.


The Lady Huskies took all three games from rising rival Freeport, the NIC-10 runner-up in 2019-20, while winning the match, 3,542 to 3,220. They’re now tied with Auburn, also 4-0, for first place. They won’t play each other until March 8, the last game of the abbreviated season.

Today, the Lady Knights will tackle Hononegah, which is in second place at 3-1, in what could be a key match.

Harlem’s junior varsity girls are in good shape, being alone in first place with their 4-0 record and having already defeated runner-up Hononegah, which is 3-1. Freeport, Guilford and Auburn are tied for the third spot with 2-2 marks.

In boys varsity action, Hononegah is in control of its own destiny with its 5-0 record and sitting atop the NIC-10.

At the junior varsity level, Harlem is in control at 5-0 and already has beaten Hononegah, which is in second place at 4-1.

This week the Huskies could very well wrap up another conference title. They were scheduled to play the other 4-1 runners-up, traveling to Belvidere North on Monday and returning home against Belvidere today. Freeport is on the fringe, in fifth place with a 3-2 record.

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