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Batavia boys basketball adds to festive night

BATAVIA – The Batavia boys basketball team had no chance to match the football program's accomplishment Saturday, but the basketball squad stacked up favorably in the drama department.

Playing its third consecutive overtime game to start the season, Batavia beat Engelwood, 76-74, in double overtime on Saturday in the Windmill City Classic.

The double overtime finish added to the already electric atmosphere inside Batavia High School. The football team was honored at half-court during halftime after winning the 6A state title earlier in the day, and coach Dennis Piron thanked Batavia fans, students and the community for their support throughout the team’s state championship run.

The Bulldogs basketball team (2-1) added to the winning vibes Saturday despite continuing to play without likely starters Micah Coffey and Tucker Knox, key cogs on the football team.

Trailing by three with 22 seconds to go in regulation, sophomore guard Canaan Coffey drilled a 3-pointer and was fouled on the play. Coffey could not convert on the free throw, and the game headed in to overtime tied at 63.

Engelwood (1-2) and Batavia were only able to notch four points apiece in the first overtime period. Junior center Chasen Peez scored all four points for the Bulldogs. Peez converted on two strong post moves to the basket to extend the game to another period.

Peez scored five points and junior guard Danny Pieczynski added three clutch free throws to seal the win for the Bulldogs in the second overtime. 

Peez lead the Bulldogs with 25 points. Pieczynski finished with 14 points, Jeremy Schoessling had 18 and Ryan Olson had 12 for Batavia.

Batavia coach Jim Nazos was happy with how his team handled yet another overtime finish.

“I think we’ll use those as learning experiences to our next games,” Nazos said. “I do think we’re a team that’s going to get better as the season goes on.”

Earlier in the night, Kaneland beat St. Francis, 66-48, en route to winning the Windmill City Classic.

Kaneland (2-1) jumped to a quick start with seven first quarter points from senior guard Ty Carlson. 

Despite being in the bonus at the tail end of the first quarter, St. Francis (1-2) was unable to generate scoring against a pesky Kaneland defense. The Spartans were without standout forward Kilian Brown, who played the first minute of the game before leaving with an injury.

Kaneland sophomore guard Dylan Vaca paced all scorers in the second quarter, notching seven points. Vaca scored 21 points on the night to lead all scorers. 

“I had to step up and make some shots and they just kept falling,” Vaca said. “I think we’re starting off good. Last year we didn’t real start off well here and we’re doing better this year so I think we’re going to have a really good year.”

The Knights forced two turnovers, including a steal from senior guard Drew David, at the end of the second quarter to go up, 35-27, at half. 

In the second half, Vaca exploded with three 3-pointers that helped the Knights distance themselves from St. Francis. The Spartans were outscored, 19-9, in the third frame, and were unable to overcome the deficit in the fourth quarter.

Kaneland coach Brian Johnson thought that his team started to put together what they had learned from their previous two games against St. Francis (1-2).

“You know that’s one of those games that you know that they’re going fight really hard because Bob (Ward) is such an excellent coach,” Johnson said. “We were able to get out and run and cause some turnovers.” 

St. Francis junior guard Jason Sullivan lead the Spartans with 11 points. Adam Hart finished with nine and Zach Prociuk added eight for St. Francis.

Although Kaneland and Batavia both went 2-1 at the Windmill City Classic, Kaneland was considered the winner since it beat Batavia head-to-head.

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