Glenbard West can't cool off Ivan, Batavia
Ethan Ivan crashed into a water bucket in the first half and spent the rest of the game wearing a drenched uniform.
Guess he had to cool off before heating up.
The Batavia sophomore hit three 3-pointers and scored 13 of his game-high 16 points in the third quarter as the Bulldogs pulled away in Wednesday's 59-46 victory over Glenbard West in the Class 4A Willowbrook regional semifinals in Villa Park.
Seventh-seeded Batavia (17-14) advances to the 7 p.m. title game on Friday to face No. 2 Glenbard East (21-9), which beat Willowbrook on Tuesday.
"I went to save the ball and just landed on the ice bucket and it poured all over me," said Ivan, one of four Batavia players in double-figure scoring. "My jersey was soaked and it was kind of heavy, but I got used to it.
"It feels great winning in the first round," he said. "This is my first playoff game ever so it really feels good."
Ivan scored 11 straight points for the Bulldogs during a 22-6 run that lasted until early in the fourth quarter and grew a 25-22 lead to 47-28.
Tenth-seeded Glenbard West (16-14), however, suddenly came alive with 12 straight points. That brought the Hilltoppers within 47-40 with three minutes left, but they couldn't convert on three chances to slice further into the deficit.
Caden Pierce had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Hilltoppers while Diallo Phillips scored 13 points and Danny Mulcare had 10 points off the bench.
"We never gave up, and that's been the story of our season," said Glenbard West coach Jason Opoka. "When things don't go our way we're not putting our heads down. We're going to play every possession like it's our last. The kids will learn from this and we'll continue to grow as a program."
Batavia settled down in the final two minutes and knocked down its free throws. Jayden Johnson, who had 10 rebounds along with Devin Cheaney, made 6 of 8. Kyle Neibch, Luke Fehrenbacher and Trent Tousana each added a pair from the line.
"We withstood it and we were composed offensively," said Bulldogs coach Jim Nazos. "A lot of things we did in the second and third quarter that got us that cushion really paid off."