Eric Peterson's offensive performance on Friday night in Batavia's come-from-behind win at Streamwood was impressive enough. However, his defensive effort took his game to whole other level.
Peterson scored a team high 22 points, but equally important played shutdown defense on the Sabres' top scoring threat in the second half to lead the Bulldogs to a 60-46 victory in Upstate Eight River boys basketball action.
The Bulldogs (5-1, 2-0) trailed 25-20 at halftime and were still down 35-28 in the middle of the third quarter, but outscored the Streamwood 32-11 the rest of the way.
On the offensive end Peterson scored 17 of his points in the pivotal second half, including three 3-pointers. His 3 -pointer with just over a minute left to play in the third quarter put the Bulldogs up for good 40-37.
"I think mentally things started clicking for us in the second half." Peterson said. "We started playing with more energy. I know we all kind of struggled shooting in the first half. Once we hit a few shots in the second half we got a lot more confidence."
The Bulldogs shot just 7 of 28 (25 percent) from the field in the first half. Peterson was just 2 of 6 in the first half. However, the second half was a different story. Peterson made 4 of his 6 shots from the field and 6 of 7 from the free throw line. The rest of the Bulldogs followed his lead and as a team shot 10 of 18 from the field in the second half.
"(Eric) is that type of player," Batavia coach Jim Nazos said. "When the team is struggling he keeps steady and stays with it. He keeps us composed. He's just a smooth scorer who can get it done a lot of ways."
On the defensive end in the second half Peterson switched to guard the Sabres' Nikola Sinik, who had 14 points in the first half including four 3-pointers. After a bucket on the first possession of the second half not only did Peterson hold Sinik scoreless the rest of the way he held him without a shot.
"I asked coach to let me guard him," Peterson said. "He's a really good shooter, so a big part in stopping him was getting right up on him, but another big part was my teammates helping with backside defense. That's a big thing we work on in practice and they really did a great job."
Riley Cooper added 13 points for the Bulldogs. His first of two 3-pointers in the third quarter started the Bulldogs on a 14-2 run that erased a 35-28 deficit and put them in the lead 42-37.
"Obviously with this just our second game having everyone back from football we are still getting used to it," Cooper said. " We got off to a off slow start and weren't hitting our shots, but we just stayed calm. The coaches had a great game plan and we just stuck to it and eventually got it going. For me I know I'm not the first scoring option, so I'm looking first to get the ball to them, but I will supplement them when I need to and tonight I was able to make a couple baskets when we needed them."
Sinik finished with 16 points to lead the Sabres. Junior Keenon Cole had a strong game with 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots.
The Sabres (2-5, 0-2) were hurt by a 32-23 rebounding disparity, including 13-4 on the offensive glass.
"That's something we have struggled with and need to find a remedy," Streamwood coach Paul Kowalyszyn said. "We have enough size down there to control the boards, but we just have to get a body on people. We can't give up that many extra shots to a team like Batavia. But we will get there. Right now we are staying right with some good teams, but I think when we get more polished we will be beating some of these teams."