Glenbard North can't hang with Batavia
Crouched on defense like five linebackers, the Batavia boys basketball team plays a lot like its gridiron counterpart: Big, fast, physical.
No wonder. The Bulldogs have 11 carry-overs from a football team that advanced to the Class 7A semifinals.
"I think it's something we take pride in," said Batavia coach Jim Nazos, who saw his team run past Glenbard North 63-45 Friday to improve to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the DuKane Conference.
"We've got a really good culture at our school right now, with competing and doing things," he said.
The Bulldogs don't waste any time, either. On Friday they came out of the locker room blazing, using four layups and a 3-pointer by junior Jayden Johnson to take an 11-2 lead over the Panthers not quite two minutes into the game.
The Bulldogs did even better to start the second half. Four players scored in a 12-2 spurt to increase the advantage to 42-25 with 4:15 left in the period.
The rest, as they say, was academic.
"I'm happy with how they came out," Nazos said. "I think it's a sign of maturity with these guys. We have a group that is senior-heavy, or experienced, so I'm happy with how that started. The second half, we just pounded the rim."
Johnson paced the Bulldogs in scoring with 17, just about evenly split between the two halves. But the player who is becoming a potent part of a 1-2 scoring punch is senior Zack Weber, a three-year varsity player. He finished with 16 points, 12 in the second half.
"I think Coach really put a lot of emphasis on scoring, especially since we lost a lot of guys last year, and I think I've got to take a few more shots," Weber said. "I think I have to take the ball to the rim more."
Don't get the impression it was a long night for the Panthers, though. Despite Batavia's big run to start the game, Glenbard North used a 3-pointer by junior Jaheim Edmond and a layup by another junior, Jordan McQuarter, to pull to within 16-12 with 2:15 left in the first quarter.
A 7-2 run midway through the second pulled the Panthers to within 28-23. But that was the story of the evening ... playing in the deficit. Nineteen turnovers and an 8-for-18 showing from the free-throw line didn't help, either.
"They started the game off really well, and I thought we were just not ready to go, for whatever reason," Glenbard North coach Joe Larson said. "It's got to change. It's got to get fixed. After that we steadied the ship and made a game of it by halftime.
"Mentally, we've got to be more ready to go at the beginning, and we've got to make free throws when we get to the line."
McQuarter and junior Sean Laherty paced the Panthers (1-5, 0-2) with 8 points apiece. McQuarter chipped in 9 rebounds.
Johnson led the Bulldogs in rebounding with 6, split between offensive and defensive.