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Batavia held Geneva to 8 points in the second quarter, 8 points in the third and 8 points in the fourth Friday night, and as a result after a slow start in the first season for coach Jim Nazos the Bulldogs have their record all the way back to 8-8.
From 2-7 to .500 it's been quite a climb for Batavia, and the Bulldogs couldn't have asked for a much better way to get there than a 22-point beatdown of their archrival.
Geneva led 13-9 after the first quarter before the wheels came off for the Vikings who couldn't get the ball to leading scorers Nate Navigato and Connor Chapman as the Bulldogs' half of a nearly packed Batavia gym were the ones celebrating a 59-37 victory.
"As a team we held them to three single-digit quarters and that's what we want to do every game," Batavia senior guard Jake Pollack said. "It's the juice as Coach Nazos would say. We're picking it up on defense, we're clicking on offense and that's what we've got to do to win games."
Eight might have been the magic number for Batavia (8-8, 2-4) Friday, but it didn't take Pollack long to soar past that. He hit from outside and on drives in scoring 13 of his game-high 23 points in the first half, matching the total he scored in Batavia's third-place win over Las Vegas Centennial at the Elgin Holiday Tournament.
"They had a conscious effort of not letting Micah (Coffey) get the ball and get looks but we're a team," Nazos said. "Jake Pollack, Luke Horton, a lot of people might look at the Christmas tournament and say Coffey is their scorer but a team that wants to be great other people do the job too."
Add Zach Strittmatter to that list of doing his job. He had the primary job guarding Geneva's leading scorer Navigato and held the sophomore to 4 points, over 12 below his average.
Pleased with his team's sustained defensive effort for four quarters, Nazos also was excited about Mike Carlson's stickback and a charge drawn by Jeremy Schoessling as those two led Batavia's bench play.
"We did a real nice job being in the right spot defensively," Nazos said. "It's a great win against a great team. As the game went on we stayed the course, stayed focused and really defended well as the game got later."
Geneva (13-4, 4-2) started well, building a 17-9 lead on a jumper from Pat McCaffrey early in the second quarter. Pollack started an 18-4 Batavia run to end the first half with the first of his four 3-point baskets.
By the time Pollack capped his 11-point second quarter with a tip-in at the buzzer, Batavia led 27-21.
Geneva never got closer than 5 points in the second half, and Batavia capitalized on a couple technical fouls to help break the game open.
Leading 37-29 going to the fourth quarter thanks in part to consecutive Strittmatter drives that he completed with soft banks, Batavia scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter to open a 19-point cushion.
Horton made all 6 of his free throws in the fourth quarter -- Batavia was 16 for 21 as a team -- as he wound up scoring 12 second-half points after picking up 2 fouls and missing most of the first half. Strittmatter added 11 points and led all players with 6 rebounds as Batavia also won that battle 22-18.
"They are very coachable, they are a team that you can get on and they are going to react the right way," Nazos said. "We have a group that is very unselfish."
Nobody on Geneva reached double figures. Chapman scored 9 and Mike Trimble 8 for the Vikings who made 12 of their 28 shots from the field, just 10 of 19 at the line and committed 8 of their 16 turnovers in the fourth quarter when they were outscored 18-8.
"Plenty of blame to go around," Geneva coach Phil Ralston said. "Start with me. Obviously we didn't get prepared. We were emotional without playing with emotion. We talked about not getting wrapped up in the hype, just doing our stuff and playing to our strengths and we did for about 14 minutes and then it felt we were carrying about a one-ton boulder on a steep hill. It didn't seem we could do anything right."