ELGIN – Although Batavia boys basketball coach Jim Nazos did not like that the Bulldogs had to compete in the consolation bracket of the Elgin Boys Holiday Basketball Tournament, he thought his team’s win over Walther Christian was indicative of his players’ mental toughness.
Batavia defeated Walther Christian, 56-37, on Friday in what Nazos saw as a gut-check win for his team.
“We kind of wanted to be in the semifinals, but I think that a mature team knows that you’re playing, no matter when you play, who you play, where you play, you want to play well,” Nazos said. “Overall, I think it was a good team effort.”
Walther Christian (2-8) jumped out to an early 9-2 lead at the beginning of the game. The Broncos employed a strong full-court press that limited Batavia’s ability to get anything going offensively. Walther Christian guard Lee Hardrick scored five early points for the Broncos.
The Bulldogs (4-8) were able to figure out the press about halfway through the quarter, which allowed them to settle into their half-court offense and get the ball to the basket.
Batavia senior guard Micah Coffey cut through the Broncos defense and finished at the hoop on two separate possessions to bring the Bulldogs within three at the end of the quarter, down 13-10.
Batavia sophomore guard Canaan Coffey drilled a 3-pointer at the beginning of the second quarter to launch the Bulldogs into a 14-3 run that put them up for good. Micah Coffey also heated up from the perimeter during the surge.
“Obviously they have to be good shots, but if I’m open then I have the green light to pull,” Coffey said.
Batavia went on to outscore the Broncos, 18-9, in the second quarter and refused to let up from there. Forward Chasen Peez established his presence in the paint within Batavia’s offense, scoring nine points in the second half.
Walther Christian was hard-pressed to find an uncontested shot in the second half. The Broncos only managed 15 points in the final two periods.
“We don’t have to have steals to play good defense,” Nazos said. “I think we were a little bit more disciplined defensively.”
Micah Coffey lead all scorers with 19 points. Peez (11), Canaan Coffey (8) and Tucker Knox (8) rounded out the leading scorers for the Bulldogs.
Nazos established that his team should be able to build some momentum after the solid performance. The Bulldogs move on to play Rockford East at 5 p.m. today.
“I thought that there were a lot of things that we can take out of that game,” Nazos said. “Move on tomorrow, try to go 3-1 (in the tournament).”
Micah Coffey said it was a big mental lift for the Bulldogs coming off a loss Thursday night to Phillips.
“It feels good to come together as a team,” he said. “Sometimes in the second half we didn’t get the shots we wanted. Gotta work on a couple things, rebounding-wise and stuff like that, but it’s good to come out and get a win.”