Batavia pulls away from Elgin
Batavia's 56-38, wire-to-wire Upstate Eight River boys basketball victory at Elgin's Chesbrough Field House on Tuesday was a convincing step forward for the Bulldogs and a confounding step backward for the Maroons.
Batavia (4-2, 2-0) won its fourth straight game by patiently running its motion offense until a good shot developed, by winning the rebounding battle 31-18 and by filling the driving lanes on defense.
The Bulldogs made 50 percent of their shots from the field in the first half (11 of 22) while sinking half their shots from 3-point range (6 of 12) to take a 32-22 halftime lead, paced by 11 of Canaan Coffey's team-high 17 points.
Senior forward John Fitch (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) then opened the second half with consecutive buckets in the paint to give Batavia a 14-point lead. Elgin never drew closer than 9 the rest of the game. Fitch finished with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.
"We may get a look after the first pass, but that's not the look we want so we keep grinding it out," Coffey said of his team's offensive execution. "It was layup after layup for (Fitch) and the rest of the guys on our team."
Batavia jumped to an 8-0 lead as Elgin (4-3, 0-2) had trouble matching the intensity it played with on the same floor last Friday, when the Maroons made life difficult for highly regarded rival Larkin before succumbing 84-80.
"Zero effort out there," Elgin coach Mike Sitter said. "Not a guy on that court wearing a Maroons jersey was representative of what we want to do here offensively, defensively. So, back to the drawing board. All battles are won before they're fought. We walked out on that court with zero energy and we got run up and down the court. That's what we get. The score should have been worse."
Elgin wing Desmond Douglas followed up his 32-point, career-high performance against Larkin with 20 points and 2 steals, but the next highest Elgin scorer was 6-foot-7 senior post Courtese Cooper with 8 points. Batavia limited the Maroons to 15-of-41 shooting from the field (38 percent), 1 of 8 from 3-point range.
"Our help defense is amazing," Fitch said. "Us in the gaps? No one can go to the hoop on us. If they do, we're taking a charge. I think our defense is solid, one of the best in the conference, and I think we're getting better every single game."
Batavia coach Jim Nazos pointed to unsung heroes like senior guards Michael Fee (3 points, 9 rebounds) and Carter Eberhardt (7 points, 2 assists).
"Everybody has things that they do well," Nazos said. "When you put it all together, hopefully, it has the makings of a nice run."