Batavia grinds out win over Streamwood
Batavia's boys basketball team learned first hand Friday why Streamwood was able to upset Geneva at the buzzer last week, and why the Sabres can't be taken lightly this season in Upstate Eight River action.
The Bulldogs, though, made sure they didn't become another Sabres upset victim, prevailing 57-46 at Streamwood.
Coach Jim Nazos' team needed a clutch, 10-point fourth quarter from Canaan Coffey and 4 starters to register in double figures to escape for a fifth-straight win, as two second half leads of 15 points nearly didn't cut it.
"I thought Streamwood kept their composure and didn't let it run away," Nazos said of the Sabres, who shaved the lead to 8 on two occasions, the last coming at the 4-minute mark in the fourth. "That team beat Geneva a week ago and they're only getting better. Streamwood did a very good job of taking it to the basket and we didn't have enough guys there and kept keeping it within 8 to 10 the whole time. They stayed within reach."
Nazos was most proud of the way the Bulldogs (5-2, 3-0) stayed resilient, which was tested until Kamontez Thomas, who scored 10 points, came up with 1 of his 4 steals with 2:18 left in the fourth to give the Bulldogs a 12-point lead. Just 2 minutes prior, Streamwood (1-7, 1-2) had other hopes after Brendon Marton's baseline drive and one-handed slam rocked the rim, had the crowd buzzing, and cut the deficit back to 8.
"We're not going to fold for anybody," said Sabres' coach Paul Kowalyszyn. "If we're going down, we're going down swinging. I truly believe we're this close to getting over the hump. But we have to do every little detail right and we're blowing the little details that good teams like Batavia do correctly night in and night out and that's why they pull out these games."
Case in point was Coffey, who was just 2-for-7 for 7 points through 3 quarters. The senior guard flourished for 17 by game's end, going perfect in the fourth. Coffey drained back-to-back 3s for a 15-point lead with 6:25 left. A layup and 2 foul shots kept the lead at 10 and this was after John Fitch and Carter Eberhardt were the other factors Streamwood couldn't contain the first 3 quarters.
Fitch was efficient on the blocks, scoring 12 points and securing 3 rebounds en route to a 26-point night in the paint for Batavia. Eberhardt was 4-for-6 from the field for 11 points, as the guard sank a big left wing 3 in the third on a kick out from a Coffey offensive rebound with 2:40 to go for a 15-point lead. Batavia shot an electric 53.6 percent clip from the field on 22 of 41 shooting.
"We kept grinding," said Eberhardt, who had 9 first-half points. "Even if they came back and made a run, we just kept pushing."
"Other than Canaan's threes we mostly got all layups," Fitch added. "A lot of good screens, a lot of back cuts, a lot of stuff like that. We grinded out a good win, we didn't play amazing, but we grinded out a win."
Streamwood posted a 47.5 percent clip from the field on 19 made field goals, as Jaleel Jenkins' team-high 17 points kept the Sabres in it while Marton added 11. The Sabres won the rebound battle 17-16 and pulled even with Batavia 28-28 in the second half after being outscored 29-18 in the first 24 minutes.
"The defensive effort was there, they caused a couple of turnovers, and that's where the offense comes from, the defense," Kowalyszyn said. "Everything is driven by stopping the other team. I thought they got a couple more stops in the third and caused some chaos and then they finished around the basket a little bit better."