By Bob Balgemann

Harlem athletes will continue competing in the postseason by having advanced to this weekend’s IHSA state sectional tournaments in girls bowling and wrestling.

Meanwhile, Harlem’s girls varsity basketball team will wrap up the regular season tonight (Thursday) at Belvidere North, before heading into the postseason by hosting a regional tournament next week.

In current regional bowling action, the Lady Huskies won their own regional and will lead a group of four into this Saturday’s sectional at nearby Don Carter Lanes in Rockford, hosted by Belvidere High School.

The Lady Huskies rang up 5,889 pins to lead the list of qualifiers, all from the NIC-10. Others moving along were Freeport (5,803) in second place; Hononegah (5,743) in third; and Rockford East (5,121) in fourth.

Long-time head coach Jim Heathscott’s team was a blend of the four classes at Harlem High School, led by senior Paige Carpenter with a six-game total of 1,259 pins. She was followed by junior Hailee Kerr at 1,210; senior Carolyn Richards at 1,185; and junior Stephanie Windsor at 1,137. Freshman Riley Gilbert rolled five games and totaled 952 pins; sophomore Miranda Klenz shot one game, a 146.

In wrestling, freshman Koletyn Zanoni won the 113-pound championship at the Carpentersville Dundee-Crown Regional Tournament, and will lead a group of five Huskies to this weekend’s sectional in Barrington.

Zanoni (16-8) won three matches to take the title, by pins in 1:44 and 3:28 and then with an 11-2 major decision in the championship bout.

Other qualifiers for Harlem were sophomore Justin Lewis (15-10), who finished second at 106 pounds; freshman Ethan Hagerman (11-7), second at 126; senior Marshal Cunz (19-5), second at 152; and junior Ben Larsen (13-6), second at 170.

Junior Myles Babcock (13-11), junior Andrew Ryden (17-9) and junior Dylan Hogan (5-5) finished fourth at 132, 145 and 220, respectively, but only the first three place winners advanced to the sectional.

Ryden had the busiest day of all Huskies, wrestling four times and winning twice by pins in 1:05 and 2:28.

Also competing at the regional for Harlem were freshman Dylan Goodall (7-8) at 120 pounds; and senior Zack Hawkins (6-17) at 285.

Harlem had entries in 10 of the 14 weight classes and head coach Sam Enderle said he was “pretty happy with the way we wrestled. I think we had nine pins overall and those bonus points pushed us to third place” as a team. “I felt bad we couldn’t get a couple more kids through to the sectional, but after all the things that hit us this year, having eight out of 10 place at the regional wasn’t all bad.

“We need to step up now to qualify for the state tournament.”

Huntley won the regional with 220.5 points followed by Belvidere North in second, with 179.5 points; Harlem (114) in third; Dundee-Crown (110) in fourth; and Hampshire (97) in fifth. The Top 8 were rounded out by NIC-10 members Hononegah in sixth; Guilford in seventh; and Auburn in eighth.


In the week to come, Harlem (14-13, 7-8) will be hosting one of two regionals in this area in the opening round of the IHSA state girls tournament. Rockford Jefferson is the other regional site. Qualifiers from those regionals, plus from Barrington and Elgin Larkin, will advance to the DeKalb sectional scheduled Feb. 22 and 24.

Harlem is the No. 6 seed in its regional and will meet top-seeded Hononegah (25-3, 15-0) in the opening round at 6 p.m. Monday. The winner will play again at 7 pm. Feb. 17 against whoever takes the DeKalb-Rockford Auburn game.

State this year will be March 3-5 at the Redbird Arena on the campus of Ilinois State University in Normal.

The Lady Huskies bounced back from the loss to Auburn by traveling to historic Rockford East and, with a strong first-half display of offense and defense, defeated the Lady E-Rabs, 59-23.

Myah Udell opened the first quarter by sinking a 3-pointer to give Harlem an immediate 3-0 lead. As time progressed, the Lady Huskies capitalized on turnovers and low-percentage shots forced by their defensive pressure to go on a 21-2 run for a 24-2 advantage in the second period. Stolen passes and other takeovers were part of the defensive staple personified by Udell, Grace Vyborny, Julie Bailey, Brooke Brien and others.

Offensively, those players along with teammates Paige Stovall and Mya Davidson fueled that 22-point first quarter, which evolved into a 30-6 halftime lead. It was 51-18 after three.

Nine players contributed points to the victory, led by Davidson with 17 including 7-of-10 on trips to the free-throw line; Julie Bailey with nine; Keyara Bailey with eight; Vyborny and Stovall with six apiece; Udell with five, Brien with four, Alyssa Fulton with three; and Alli MacGregor with one.

After a 63-45 loss to second-place contender Rockford Guilford, Harlem came back again, this time with a rousing 69-53 win over Jefferson (7-21, 5-12), which locked up a sixth-place conference finish for the Lady Huskies.

A feature of that game was Harlem making 22 trips to the free-throw line, where it converted 35-of-46 attempts, representing just over 50 percent of its scoring.

The first quarter was close, with the host Lady Huskies edging ahead, 13-8. Balanced scoring featured four points from Davidson, three from Finley Lafferty, and two each from Julie Bailey, Brien and Stovall. But a 20-point second period, led by Julie Bailey’s eight markers, produced a 33-19 halftime lead.

Harlem closed the game with a 26-point fourth quarter, 16 of them from Julie Bailey that included 10 free throws (she was 15-of-17 for the night) and a pair of 3s.

For the game, eight players made up  the offense sparked by Julie Bailey’s personal best 32 points. Davidson followed with 13 points with Keyara Bailey adding seven, all of them free throws; Brien and Vyborny, five apiece; Lafferty with three; Udell and Stovall, two each.

With NIC-10 play concluding today, Hononegah at 15-0 has wrapped up the championship. Next in line are Boylan Catholic at 13-3; Guilford at 12-5; Belvidere North at 10-5; and Auburn at 10-6.

Harlem’s boys basketball team had a tough week, losing NIC-10 games to Belvidere North, 50-17, and to Hononegah, 76-47.

The Huskies have three games left in the regular season, at home Friday against Freeport; at home Saturday against Boylan Catholic and on the road next Wednesday at Rockford East.

This year’s IHSA state boys basketball tournament will start later in February.

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