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Batavia boys basketball team’s struggles continue

STREAMWOOD – The Batavia boys basketball team’s offense has stalled at an unfortunate time on the calendar.

Just when the Bulldogs hoped to be finding their groove in the regular season’s late stages, Batavia continued to struggle, falling to Streamwood, 47-37, on Wednesday in its second straight anemic offensive showing.

The Bulldogs, who managed only 28 points their last time out in an ugly loss at St. Charles East, were similarly stymied in this one.

The Bulldogs entered the fourth quarter trailing, 27-19, having made only 1 of 17 attempts from 3-point land. Senior point guard Mike Rueffer hit a 3 early in the fourth to make it 27-22, but that was as close as the Bulldogs came.

Now Batavia (10-14, 4-8 UEC River) will have to turn to next Thursday’s regular-season-ending UEC crossover against a to-be-determined opponent in hopes of stemming its slide.

“You definitely want momentum going into the playoffs,” Rueffer said. “No one wants to be on a losing streak going in. Especially with the regional being at our place, we want to get some momentum and carry it into our place, and hopefully we can get a regional title.”

Batavia likely would need to raise its game several notches to make that a possibility.

The Bulldogs had trouble finding high-percentage shots against Streamwood’s zone defense, anchored by 6-foot-10 center Zack Harris. So they kept hoisting 3s despite a chilly night for their main perimeter weapons. They ended the night 4 of 24 from beyond the arc.

“We did have trouble getting the ball in with the big guy in the middle there,” Batavia coach Jim Nazos said. “Obviously we had trouble getting to the free throw line, we had trouble getting out in transition, and when we got in transition, we turned it over a little bit.

“ … Maybe we were settling, but [Micah Coffey] is a 42 percent shooter [from 3], Jake [Pollack] shoots the ball real well, Mike Rueffer shoots the ball real well. I believe in those guys. They’re going to have better days. You can’t tell a shooter if he’s wide open not to shoot. He’s going to start thinking about it.”

Senior forward Zach Strittmatter was the lone Bulldog in double figures scoring with 12 points. Pollack snared 11 rebounds to help compensate for his rocky shooting night, while Coffey added eight points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

Reserve guard Jacob Siewert scored 14 points to lead the Sabres.

The teams were tied, 13-all, after a sleepy first half in which neither team could sustain any offensive rhythm.

With the loss, the Bulldogs have dropped six of their past seven games after a midseason resurgence.

It was senior night at Streamwood, which also honored outgoing coach Tim Jones before the game. Jones wrapped up his sixth and final season in Streamwood with a 3-9 conference mark.

“I’m not going to tell you it’s not a challenge,” Jones said of coaching at Streamwood. “It’s teaching good athletes how to play the game of basketball. It’s not where you have that pure basketball player.

“So that’s a difficult thing to do … but it can be rewarding, too.”

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