At this point in the season, with four straight Fox Valley Conference titles and a No. 2 seed in its own sectional, is there anything else to prove before the postseason begins for the Jacobs boys basketball team?
For guys like senior reserve Josh Volenec, who brings energy and hustle off the bench, there's plenty.
Volenec got a rare start on Senior Night during a 56-29 FVC win over Prairie Ridge Friday in Algonquin and didn't squander his opportunity in the limelight.
The senior was instant offense in first quarter, scoring 4 of his 6 points to help Jacobs (22-3, 14-0) extend its overall win streak to 8 and conference win streak to 22. But Volenec's 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists were certainly more indicative of the role he normally plays off the bench that might have a bigger impact with Ryan Phillips sidelined.
"We're a man down and someone steps up," said Nik Balkcom, who led Jacobs with a game-high 14 points and 6 rebounds. "I think Josh really showed what he's capable of on both sides of the floor. It means a lot. He got a lot of assists and he can finish well. He's another threat on the floor."
When PR (8-17, 4-10) cut it to 1 with 4 minutes left in the first quarter, Volenec showed what kind of depth Jacobs has and helped end the quarter on a 7-0 run with a putback and a subsequent steal, which led to his own coast-to-coast acrobatic layup. It was all Jacobs from that point, which led by 8 after one quarter, 14 at halftime and 21 after three.
"It was definitely exciting for Senior Night, obviously starting," said Volenec. "It means a lot obviously because we're going into the playoffs and I'm hoping to get more time and help everybody out. With Ryan being hurt it's next man up."
The Golden Eagles scored a total of 21 points off the bench and shot a 44 percent clip. Jacobs also owned the boards 30-17 and scored 10 points off 14 PR turnovers. They also saw a dunk contest commence in the third thanks to Kameron Mack, who put Jacobs up 22 with 2 consecutive flushes to total 14 points and 4 steals. Matt McCoy's 12 points came off his four 3- pointers and the Golden Eagles continued to play good defense, holding PR to 7 points or less in 3 quarters.
"I think we just have to keep going and keep rolling, stay consistent," added Balkcom, who saw the home nets come down to signify their FVC accomplishment after clinching it outright in Cary-Grove Tuesday. "A lot of people can't say they've been on a program that's won four conference championships in a row or been on three. It's really special to be on a team that good that we can do that, it means a lot."
Connor Kazin led PR with 7 points.
"We turned the ball over, defensively we were OK but offensively we turned the ball over and took quick shots," PR coach Corky Card said. "It's not a good recipe for success."