A big second half catapulted Batavia's boys basketball team to a 59-49 Upstate Eight Conference River Division victory over St. Charles East Friday night in St. Charles.
The Bulldogs (20-7, 7-4) outscored the Saints (16-9, 5-6) 34-20 over the final 16 minutes to gain a much-needed victory after losing 4 of their 5 previous games.
"I thought we stayed with what we do," said Batavia coach Jim Nazos. "St. Charles East defended us for a long time there, especially in the second quarter. We were just standing around.
"In the second half, we moved a little quicker and we moved a little harder. That's a great win against a great team. Everybody knows how the conference is this season."
Trailing 38-37 following a 3-pointer by the Saints' Nate Ortiz (10 points) with 7:13 left in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs went on an 18-2 surge over the next 6 minutes to seize control.
A 3-pointer by senior guard Riley Cooper (9 points) following back-to-back offensive rebounds enabled Batavia to take a 40-38 lead with 5:27 remaining.
Twenty seconds later, senior forward Eric Peterson (9 points, 8 rebounds) added a 3-point play to make it 43-38.
After an inside bucket by the Saints' Justin Hardy (20 points, 8 rebounds) whittled the deficit to 43-40 with 4:04 left, the Bulldogs reeled off 12 unanswered points, capped by a 3-point play and pair of free throws from senior guard Kyle LeFevre.
LeFevre, the Bulldogs' sixth man, poured in a game-high 24 points -- all of them coming in the final 3 quarters.
"He got to the rim and he hit some shots," Nazos said of LeFevre, who connected on 7 of his last 9 shots from the field.
"It's kind of my job coming off the bench," said LeFevre. "I'm supposed to bring some energy and maybe scoring if we need it. That's what we needed tonight."
St. Charles East, which led 29-25 at halftime, struggled in several areas during the second half. In addition to committing 10 second-half turnovers, the Saints made just 8 of 29 field-goal attempts over the final 16 minutes and suffered from late foul issues.
"It went wrong for us at the four-minute mark of the third quarter," said Saints coach Patrick Woods. "We were up 33-25 and we blew at least three layups and turned the ball over another three times.
"We allowed a good team to hang around. We got our sixth point of the (third) quarter in our 16th possession of the (second) half. You can't play a team like Batavia and be 2 for your first 15 possessions and expect to have a chance at the end. It was embarrassing."
Andrew Heinz came off the bench to add 7 points and 4 rebounds for the Bulldogs, who pocketed their 20th win of the season.
"I'm jacked for all those kids in the locker room," said Nazos. "It's a milestone. I'm glad they achieved it."