Batavia rallies from 13 down, beats Stagg in OT

Updated 12/27/2021 7:51 PM

Trent Tousana kept the faith.

Batavia's senior guard had ample opportunities to doubt that it was his team's day Monday at the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York.


The Bulldogs spotted Stagg the game's first 13 points, trailed by 11 in the fourth quarter and by five with under a minute left, and never led in regulation.

But Tousana's steal and score in the final seconds tied it for the first time to force overtime, where Tousana scored the go-ahead basket off the tip-off. Batavia never looked back, fighting off a spirited effort from Stagg for a 74-66 first-round win.

Ethan Ivan scored 34 points, eight coming in overtime, and had nine rebounds and Tousana scored 26 points, 22 coming in the second half and overtime, with nine rebounds and three assists for Batavia (9-2).

"We were down early but we don't give up; we knew we could eventually come back and win," Tousana said. "I didn't think for one second that we would lose that game. I know what our team is capable of."

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Batavia advanced to play Leo, a 50-37 winner over Naperville North, at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The Bulldogs overcame Stagg's 12-for-26 shooting from 3-point range. Danny Ellsworth, who scored a team-high 16 points, hit four of them.

Stagg (3-6) hit 5-of-7 in the first quarter, jumping out to a 13-0 lead that was 23-13 by the quarter turn. Batavia clawed back behind Ivan's 16 first-half points, but still trailed 35-26 at halftime.

"Stagg played really well from the start," Batavia coach Jim Nazos said. "They were ready to go, they went after us right away and we were on our heels from the get go. I think we showed a lot in coming back and getting it into overtime. We just stuck with it and found a way to win."

Batavia still trailed 62-57 with under a minute left after turnovers on three consecutive Bulldogs' possessions. Austin Ambrose split two free throws with 53.4 seconds left and J.P. Chaney stole the ball in Stagg's backcourt, scoring to cut the margin to two.


In a mad scramble on Stagg's next possession, Tousana came up with a loose ball and turned the runout into the tying layup.

"Their guy threw it and it went through their legs," Tousana said. "I just hustled, got the layup and tied it up."

Tousana and Ivan scored all 12 of Batavia's points in overtime. In the final minute Tousana followed a Batavia miss and delivered a slick pass to Ivan for a follow shot and 68-64 lead.

Ivan shot 11-for-17 with four 3-pointers, three coming in the first quarter, and was a perfect 8-for-8 on free throws.

"He does a lot of things well, quietly at times," Nazos said. "Him and Trent work really well together. He can disappear on the baseline at times and Trent can find him. He's a big reason we're here."

Tousana had a relatively quiet four-point first half, with zero shot attempts in the second quarter. But he got cooking out of the break.

He hit four 3-pointers and scored 14 points in the third quarter, his fourth trifecta from well beyond the arc cutting the Stagg lead to 48-43.

"I just told myself that if we're going to come back in this game, I needed to be an impact player and make a bigger impact with the game on offense with my shot," said Tousana, who shot 11-for-15 with the four 3-pointers. "If my shot gets going it's easier to dump off passes to other people. I told myself I needed to shoot more."

Tousana, though, missed three free throws in the third quarter after getting fouled on a three, and Batavia trailed 56-45 early in the fourth. But Ivan scored seven straight Batavia points, and Charlie Saul's three -- his only make of the game -- with 2:47 left cut the margin to 58-55.

"We just want to come here and prove ourself," Tousana said. "Show what Batavia basketball is all about."

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