Sanders, Ivan spark Batavia
A.J. Sanders and Ethan Ivan know how to put the ball in the basket for Batavia and recognize the importance of their respective roles of stopping opponents from doing the same.
Both reached double digits in the scoring column and each took a charge as the Bulldogs defeated visiting Glenbard North, 70-61, during Wednesday's DuKane Conference game in Batavia.
"I like the defensive stuff," Sanders said. "That just brings more energy and picks the whole defense up. We brought the energy together and got more stops on defense."
When Sanders was not pursuing potential floor burns, the Bulldogs were clicking offensively, getting 3-pointers from five players with Ivan leading the way with a pair from beyond the arc along with several cuts and drives to the hoop. The Panthers struggled mightily in matching up with the 6-foot-6 junior.
"They had one guy my size, but the rest of them were pretty small," Ivan said. "I've been getting to the basket a lot this season and tonight was another game to get to the basket, get some shots up, get some 3s and do everything pretty much."
Batavia (2-3, 2-1) took a 35-19 lead midway through the second quarter when Luke Fehrenbacher joined Sanders, Ivan, Eric Newberry (8 points) and Trent Tousana (11 points) in connecting from long-range.
"I think our biggest thing right now is communicating with each other on the floor," Sanders said. "We're being more smart with the ball and making better decisions. We've played with each other for so long that we know what each other can do. We just have to find each other on the floor like that."
Glenbard North (1-3, 0-3) trailed 39-22 at halftime, but came out of the break with renewed energy, using an 11-2 run cut its deficit to 43-35 after a couple Jacob Bonnema free throws with 3:04 remaining in the third quarter.
"We played like we need to play in the second half," Panthers coach Joe Larson said. "We have to put more pressure on the ball. I thought in the first half, (Batavia) dictated what they wanted to do offensively and we have to be more the aggressors defensively, making teams uncomfortable, and I think we did more of that in the second half."
Bonnema led the Panthers with 14 points, scoring all but one of his baskets in the second half. He added a game-high 9 rebounds.
"(Bonnema) was getting after loose balls, getting after offensive rebounds, and he can shoot it from the perimeter," Larson said. "But we need that energy all the time from the tip and in the second half he really gave us a lift."
Matt Murray added 12 points, Greg Strong came off the bench and knocked down three 3-pointers and totaled 10 points and Payton Bowser added 9 points for the Panthers.
"We've got some inexperience, so some guys are coals into the fire a little bit," Larson said. "They're getting there, and the second half was a positive for sure."