St. Francis and Batavia were locked in an offensive struggle during Friday’s game in the 37th Annual Ken Peddy Windmill City Classic in Batavia.
St. Francis ultimately was the team to breakthrough, out scoring the Bulldogs 13-7 in the third quarter and then holding on for 42-37 victory.
St. Francis had a 19-18 lead in the third quarter, but went on a 7-0 scoring run, receiving easy buckets from Kevin McShea and Nick Fabianski on drives before Jason Sullivan made his lone field goal of the night a huge one, burying a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 26-18.
“It was a big play, especially for a sophomore,” St. Francis coach Bob Ward said. “I just felt that we got a little stagnant versus their zone a little bit, but then we started the second half and just kind of moved better against it.”
Batavia (1-1) fell behind by double digits at 33-23 with 5:55 left in the fourth quarter after Matt Bonner (9 points) scored on a layup.
The Spartans were able to drive successfully to the basket in the second half, something they weren’t able to do in the opening two quarters.
“I told our kids sometimes you have got to go out and play basketball and sometimes you have to do that especially in a game when there isn’t a lot of runs,” Ward said. “You knew it wasn’t going to be a 75-72 game, but it was going to be a battle like a heavyweight fight.”
The Bulldogs had a rally left in them, but were unable to cut their deficit to less than six points. They pulled to within 39-33 on a field goal by Luke Horton with 20 seconds left, but the rally didn’t proceed any further.
“They’re a very good defensive team and we had some untimely turnovers,” Batavia coach Jim Nazos said. “They capitalized on the mistakes and did a lot of things well tonight, so give them a lot of credit.”
Tim Zettinger led the winners with 10 points and Jason Pisarski added 8 points.
Micah Coffey paced the Bulldogs with 11 points as he connected on three shots from beyond the arc. Mike Rueffer added 9 points.
“I think good things will happen for us, but it’ll take a little time,” Nazos said. “I like a lot of the things we’re doing. We’re seeking a little consistency right now and it’ll happen.”
In the earlier contest, Kaneland dropped a 66-56 decision to Crystal Lake South.
The Knights were forced to play catch up all evening, falling behind 40-28 at halftime and 50-41 after three quarters.
Sophomore Connor Fedderly led the Knights with 8 points and senior Dan Miller and junior John Pruett each added 7 points apiece.