Twenty-four hours made all the difference for Batavia on the last night of its Thanksgiving boys basketball tournament.
One day after an offensively stagnant loss to St. Francis, the Bulldogs literally rebounded with a 57-46 victory over Crystal Lake South Saturday night in Batavia at the Windmill City Classic.
In a game-defining stretch bridging the first and second quarters, Batavia used 8 offensive rebounds as the catalyst for a 22-7 run that completely reversed the Gators' 9-2 spurt to open the game.
Zach Strittmatter had a 3-point play to not only break the only tie of the game but also close out the first-quarter scoring that ended with the Bulldogs scoring 11 of the last 12 points.
"We stressed (rebounding) in our walk-through this morning," said Strittmatter, who scored 13 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. "Tonight it was a big factor. We want to win the rebounding (battle) in every game."
The Bulldogs' rebounding tenacity was matched by a renewed defensive presence as Crystal Lake South scored a mere 9 points over the last 13-plus minutes to trail by double figures, 28-18, entering the intermission.
"There was about a four-minute stretch (in the first quarter) where they got every rebound," Crystal Lake South coach Matt LaPage said. "(Batavia) must have had about a plus-10 edge during that stretch. That was the difference in the game."
After another sluggish start, though, Batavia was an entirely different team than the one which managed only 33 points against tournament champion St. Francis on Friday night.
Dramatically increasing its points in the paint as well as buckets in transition, Batavia (2-1) gradually extended its comfort-zone lead over the final 10-plus minutes after Crystal Lake South (1-2) reduced its deficit to seven on two separate occasions in the third quarter.
"(The St. Francis game) definitely motivated us to get back into it," said Batavia guard Mike Rueffer, who also scored 13 points in becoming the lone team member to make all-tournament status. "(The Gators) couldn't lock down on one player. (At the beginning) we weren't playing our type of defense."
The opening possession of the fourth quarter typified the essence of the game.
Jake Pollack snared an errant CL South pass and seemed destined for an uncontested score.
The Gators responded to Pollack, only to have Rueffer tip in his miss; the Gators would never get within single digits the remainder of the game.
CL South did have its moments for encouragement as well.
Senior post Max Meitzler displayed a deft touch in the paint as well as range on the jumper in scoring a game-high 23 points.
But all-tournament pick Austin Rogers' 9 points were the Gators' second-most points as Batavia negated the Meitzler output with three players in double figures.
Micah Coffey, who drained a backbreaking 3-pointer to give Batavia a 48-34 lead in the fourth quarter, finished with 11 points.
"After the first minute and a half, I thought we played with a real high level of energy," Batavia coach Jim Nazos said. "We didn't have to sit there and grind out offense. I thought it was a great team win."
St. Francis 63, Kaneland 50: St. Francis' third quarter offensive production was essentially the difference in its 63-50 victory over Kaneland.
The Spartans doubled up the Knights' 24-12 in the quarter to take a commanding 57-38 lead into the final quarter.
Jason Pisarski, a senior guard for the Spartans, victimized Kaneland with a team-high 16 points, frequently exploiting his 6-foot-4 frame to maximum effect.
"If I have a smaller guy on me, I try to post him up and utilize my size the best I can," the all-tournament selectee said.
In its decisive third-quarter run, St. Francis (3-0), which defended its tournament team title, had six different players score.
"We don't care who scores as long as we are scoring baskets," Pisarski said.
St. Francis' Tim Zettinger was selected MVP of the four-team tournament after scoring 13 points against Kaneland (0-3).
Nine different players scored for the Spartans.
"The hallmark of this team has been ... unselfishness," St. Francis coach Bob Ward said.
Kaneland senior forward Matt Limbrunner kept the Knights competitive early, but the all-tournament pick was more effectively managed by the Spartans' unyielding defense.
The senior, also all-tournament, was limited to 11 points.
Jon Pruett scored a game-high 20 points for the Knights, who did receive a major consolation prize when sophomore southpaw Connor Fedderly was named Most Inspirational Player of the tournament.
At Rock Island: Jontrel Walker has served notice during the opening weekend of the boys baketball season.
The West Aurora three-year starting guard established a new career high for the second time in as many games in leading the Blackhawks (3-1) past Peoria Richwoods, 59-57, in final-day action of the Rock Island Thanksgiving Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
Walker, the only West Aurora player in double digits, scored 30 points as the Blackhawks reversed a one-possession loss to Rock Island on Fiday with the 2-point win over an equally tradition-rich Richwoods program in the Quad Cities.
"They were pretty much up the whole game," West Aurora coach Godie Kerkman said via phone after the Blackhawks improved to 3-1 on the infant season. "We didn't play exceptionally well, but we played better in the fourth quarter."
Batavia goes 2-2 at Morton: Batavia's girls basketball team bounced back with two wins Saturday to finish the Morton tournament with a .500 record.
The Bulldogs (3-2) started Friday with a 60-46 loss to Peoria Richwoods in a game Batavia fell behind by 15 points at halftime and then won the second half 29-28. Liza Fruendt led with 17 points, and Miranda Grizaffi and Hannah Frazier scored 10 points apiece.
Morton edged Batavia 65-63 despite 21 points from Fruendt and 10 by Sami Villarreal. The Bulldogs trailed 23-10 after one, then climbed all the way back to take a 2-point lead after three quarters as Fruendt dropped 14 points in the third quarter. The Bulldogs still led with under 30 seconds remaining but Morton hit a 3-point field goal with 7 seconds remaining to take the lead.
Batavia crushed Normal Community 76-42 with six players in double figures: Grizaffi with 14, Bethany Orman with 13, Erin Bayram with 12, Fruendt and Villarreal with 11 apiece, and Jenny Welday with 10.
Batavia outscored Normal 40-16 in the second half sparked by solid play off the bench by Grace Andrews, Welday, and Abbey McCabe.
Batavia finished the tournament beating Moline 71-45. Fruendt scored 23, Frazier 12, and Bayram and Grizaffi 11 each. Fruendt scored 19 in the first half to help her team to a 39-20 lead.