AURORA – The Batavia girls basketball team has clicked early this season despite a press that hasn’t quite been up to Bulldogs coach Kevin Jensen’s standards.
Waubonsie Valley became the unlucky opponent Thursday to find out just how quick Batavia can put a team away when that press operates the way Jensen envisions. The Bulldogs steamrolled the host Warriors in the Upstate Eight Conference crossover, 63-39.
“We’ve been talking a lot about how when we do press, good or average presses get one trap, one rotation through, and that’s fine,” Jensen said. “The best teams, and we referenced Geneva, Wheaton Warrenville South, [teams] like that, they are racing back, there’s back tips, there’s steals when somebody thinks they can pass it to a wing and be open.
“We get those steals where our big girls step up and stop the ball, and then there’s three guards racing in to tip everything away. Tonight was kind of the first night we got that aspect of it, and that’s what I was pretty pumped about.”
Batavia (7-1) overwhelmed Waubonsie from the get-go, scoring six unanswered points to prompt a Warriors timeout 91 seconds into the game.
The Bulldogs’ lead ballooned to 38-6 after five straight points from senior guard Liza Fruendt in the second quarter, and Batavia settled for a 40-13 halftime lead. All but four of the Bulldogs’ first-half points came from Fruendt, Erin Bayram and Hannah Frazier.
Fruendt said the Bulldogs have taken their defense to another level this season, and considers that the key to delivering swift knockout blows to overmatched opponents.
“I think that’s the first thing that takes away confidence from people, the press and the defense,” Fruendt said. “Once that comes, our offense comes easily.”
Fruendt finished with 25 points despite sitting out the last 10-plus minutes of the game. Frazier and Bayram added 11 points apiece for the Bulldogs.
Early in the third quarter, Fruendt drilled three consecutive 3-pointers, her final three shots of the night.
“Erin, I think she was all my screens on those, every single one,” said Fruendt, who went 10 for 14 from the floor. “She just had a good screen for me, and then honestly I was looking to get it to her inside but when they collapsed down low, it was just open and it was like a normal jumpshot that you’re practicing in practice.”
Waubonsie committed 15 of its 21 turnovers in the first half. Warriors coach David Owles lamented his team’s inability to stand up to Batavia 1-2-2 press.
Owles said the Bulldogs “weren’t doing anything special … but they’re really good at it.”
“We’ve practiced against that type of press – we just caved under the pressure,” Owles said.
Waubonsie fell to 0-8 on the season, though Owles hopes injured post players Abby Phillips and Taylor Ameri – the Warriors’ two tallest players – will be able to see their first action of the season later this month.