Separating the season by year, Batavia's boys basketball team is in a good place -- as in undefeated.
Senior guard-forward Colin Cheaney scored a game-high 12 points and junior guard Blake Carlson added 10 points to lift the Bulldogs to a convincing 56-35 nonconference victory over Plainfield South (2-9) Saturday night in Batavia.
Building upon momentum that began during a 3-2 tournament finish at York over the holidays and included Friday night's 55-54 win over Larkin, the Bulldogs seized control early with a 19-2 run that turned a 7-5 deficit into a 24-9 lead midway through the second quarter.
Cheaney started the surge with a 3-pointer and 6-foot-6 senior J.T. Dietz (8 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals) capped it with an offensive rebound putback.
"I thought we executed very well," said Cheaney, who earned a well-deserved rest for the final 10-plus minutes.
Utilizing a ball press, Batavia helped force 12 Plainfield South first-half turnovers on its way to a 32-14 halftime advantage.
"Our defense leads to offense -- that's what we always say," said Cheaney. "We played good team ball."
"I really thought defensively, it helped our offense get going a little bit," added Batavia coach Jim Nazos. "I thought we had contributions from a lot of different people. With Eric (Peterson) not playing (sprained ankle), we had multiple guys step in and play well."
Batavia stretched its lead to 23 at 46-23 after 3 quarters, as 7 players contributed in the scoring column, including seniors Grant Lutzwig (3-pointer), Nick Valente (2 free throws) and Connor Oroni (free throw).
The Bulldogs (9-7) are now 2 games above the .500 mark for the first time this season heading into Friday's Upstate Eight Conference River Division clash at St. Charles East (11-4).
"We've had a lot of close games and we finally had some go our way," said Nazos. "We're getting a little smarter and we're getting stronger with the ball. We're doing a lot of things in rhythm. I think we're going in a very good direction right now."
"We're definitely trying to build on this," added Cheaney. "When we play well all four quarters, it's going to be hard to stop us."
Carlson enjoyed a solid floor game, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers to go with 3 rebounds and a pair of steals.
"He's in a lot of the right spots defensively, gets his hands on a lot of balls, and gets second chances with offensive rebounds," said Nazos.
Freshman Jayden Johnson and junior Kyle LeFevre added 5 points apiece for the Bulldogs, who will participate in the Rockford Jefferson MLK Tournament on Jan. 14 and 16.
"I like it," Nazos said of the tourney. "It's at a point of the year where it's something different. You play two games on two days so you get to play a lot of guys."
Anthony Marmolejo led the Cougars with 9 points.