If the outcome of a boys basketball game were determined by which team controls tempo most often, Batavia beats St. Charles East on Saturday night.
But that's not how it works, and St. Charles East had just enough track-meet moments to escape with a 59-52 road win in Upstate Eight Conference River Division play.
"They would rather be physical with us, beat us up a little bit, control the tempo offensively and they're very disciplined," said Saints coach Patrick Woods. "They do a lot of good things. I'd rather get up and down and run and gun. I wish we had a shot clock sometimes."
St. Charles East was on a clock of sorts, the goal of winning the first few minutes of the third quarter after Batavia had cut an 11-point deficit to 28-26 at halftime.
"We split every quarter into two sections, four minutes. So our goal is to win six out of the eight (sections)," said Saints junior guard Cole Gentry, who scored 13 points with 6 rebounds and 3 steals.
"The biggest two are the first four minutes of the third and fourth (quarters)," Gentry said. "It's really every game, it's a big plan coming out of halftime to win those first four minutes to set the tone for the rest of the half."
A 10-0 Saints run out of halftime included a Dom Adduci drive, a Gentry steal leading to a jumper by long, lanky A.J. Washington, a Gentry 3 and a conventional three-point play by Adduci, who led all scorers with 24 points.
"They spurted a little bit," said Batavia coach Jim Nazos. "A good team like they are, they're going to spurt and sometimes they spurt like 10 times in games and drill teams. They did have the one spurt in the third where we got down 10. We could have ran and hid."
Batavia (6-16, 1-10) did not. In fact, it won the first few minutes of the fourth quarter. Trailing 44-34, Batavia countered with a pair of inside baskets by senior forward Tucker Knox -- out with a bum ankle when St. Charles East (13-11, 7-4) beat the Bulldogs 72-49 in December -- and Ryan Olson's out-of-nowhere 3.
Seeing his lead down to 44-41, Woods called time. Out of that, the Saints reassumed control on Mick Vyzral's high-low pass to Washington for the basket, foul, free throw.
"That was a designed play to get A.J. a curl cut for a layup, dunk, something along those lines, and he got an ‘and-1,' pretty much what we were hoping for," Woods said.
"This is kind of how it's been the last three games here -- everything's been going our way, going our way and then it just slips away and we just lose it right at the end," said Knox, who scored 17 points to earn team honors. Micah Coffey scored 15 for the Bulldogs.
Micah's little brother, Canaan, had Batavia within 51-49 on a 3 with 45 seconds left to play. But Batavia allowed Gentry to rebound his own missed free throw and soon began the familiar sight of Adduci closing out a win from the foul line, 6 of 8 to salt away this game of differing styles.
"It's definitely a completely 180-different style than we play," said the senior guard. "I mean, it's different and it definitely takes a physical toll, how they're banging you every possession, they get really physical.
"We responded really well to that. It's good for our team and it shows that we can play any different style."