HMS is preparing to compete at the IESA State Championship on Saturday, Jan. 25. JV and Varsity are both preparing for the NIC-10 Conference Cheer Championship on Thursday, Jan. 23 at Hononegah High School.

By Bob Balgemann


Harlem competitive cheer entered three teams in the recent Belvidere Winter Classic and they came home with championship hardware in each of their divisions. It was a highly competitive event with close to 50 teams in all, testing each other’s routines and abilities.

The Lady Huskies won middle school, junior varsity, and varsity competitions.

Harlem Middle is coached by Sue Schaefer, assisted by Katie LaRue; the JVs are coached by Sydney LaRue; and the varsity is coached by Rebecca Doxtater, assisted by Madeline Burke.

The middle school team totaled 81.68 points to win its preliminary round with Lake-in-the-Hills Marlow middle in second, scoring 69.60 points and Belvidere Central Middle in third, at 65.08 points.

Harlem won the JV competition for small schools, ringing up 68.90 points to 60.40 for the runner-up, Joliet West High School. Boylan Catholic finished third; Rochelle Township was fourth.

In varsity action for large schools, Harlem amassed 89.15 points to edge Lincoln-Way West, which wound up with 86.43 points. Rockford Jefferson was third, scoring 78.94, while suburban Streamwood (71.44) came in fourth and Rockford Auburn (56.71), fifth.

Also at Belvidere cross-town Belvidere North won the medium JV division with 82.11 points. Vernon Hills (72.14) was second; Normal Community, third; Matea Valley, fourth; the host Lady Bucs, fifth; and Rock Island, sixth.

Vernon HIlls won the medium-school varsity event with 89.87 points. Scoring was very close for the next five places as host Belvidere scored 76.71 points for second; Joliet Catholic, 75.77 points for third; Lombard Montini Catholic, 75.75 for fourth; and Sandwich, 75.53 for fifth; and St. Ignatius College Prep, 74.30.


Harlem’s boys bowling team will open defense of its 2018-19 state bowling championship Saturday, when it participates in the 12-team Guilford Regional Tournament at Don Carter Lanes. Qualifiers will be move on to the Sycamore sectional on Jan. 25.

Seniors Ethan Pash, Josh Roth and Devon Schwanke, along with juniors Alex Cleaveland and P.J. Mellies, return from last year’s title team.

Team-wise, the Huskies amassed 12,851 pins over 12 games to win state, with Minooka the runner-up, trailing by 137 pins.

Individually, Pash finished fourth among 72 bowlers with an average of 228 per game. Roth was 10th, averaging 220 per game. Cleaveland finished out of the Top 72, with a 207 average over 11 games.

Harlem remains in first place in the NIC-10 with a 7-0 record. Hononegah and Auburn are tied for second place at 6-1 each. On the girls side, Harlem is a perfect 5-0, ahead of Freeport, Hononegah and Belvidere, all with 4-1 marks.

Boys basketball

Harlem started off the new year with a huge 67-63 overtime victory over NIC-10 leading Rockford East. After that stunner the E-Rabs were 5-2 in the conference and tied for first place along with Auburn and Jefferson, while Boylan was close behind at 4-2. The Huskies were 2-4 in conference, 6-8 overall.

Sophomore Lathan Lewis had a memorable night at East, scoring a career-high 17 points, to go with four rebounds. Trey DiGiovanni chipped in 15 with Austin Casteel overcoming illness to score 12 while hauling down 15 rebounds. Dominic Dawsey added seven points while dishing out six assists.

Senior Jared Jacobsen delivered what was described as “a big spark” on both ends of the floor when coming off the bench in the second half.

Overall, head coach Mike Winters said his team “showed a ton of heart and toughness” in winning the game.

Girls basketball

Harlem and Boylan Catholic opened the first week after holiday break in their continuing battle for fifth place in the NIC-10. At that point the Lady Huskies were 4-3 in the conference while the Lady Titans were 3-3.

It was a close game through the first two quarters with visiting Boylan holding a 26-20 lead at halftime, on a late 3-pointer. But the Lady Titans broke it open in a decisive third period when they outscored Harlem, 19-3, on their way to a 56-32 win.

Ali MacGregor pulled the Lady Huskies into a 6-6 tie with a basket early in the opening quarter. But Boylan followed with six unanswered points to go up, 12-6. A baseline drive by Myah Udell cut it to 12-8, then another mini-Boylan run, this one of 4-0, increased the deficit to 16-8.

Harlem stayed close and trailed by just 17-13, after Brielle Shaw drove the length of the floor to score with just two seconds left in the first period.

Boylan went up by eight again, in the second quarter, only to see Harlem rally once more. Julie Bailey closed the gap to 23-18 with a 3. Then, after two missed free throws by the Lady Titans, MacGregor stole a pass and banked in two, making it 23-20. Boylan hit a 3 late in the half to lead, 26-20, at intermission.

Shaw led Harlem’s offense with 10 points.

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