BATAVIA – The Batavia boys basketball team’s fourth quarter rally fell short Saturday in a 69-58 loss to South Elgin.
The Bulldogs trailed by 16 points at the start of the fourth quarter of the Upstate Eight Conference crossover game, 54-38.
A Micah Coffey lay-up 40 seconds into the last quarter ignited a 15-6 Batavia run that put the team within seven points of the Storm, 60-53, with 3 minutes to play. But that was as close as the Bulldogs would come.
Batavia was only able to connect on two more baskets the rest of the way and was forced to foul the Storm to regain possession.
As a result, South Elgin went to the charity stripe eight times in the last 2:30 and sank nine free throws to salt away the game.
“It the same thing that we struggle with at points all year,” said South Elgin coach Matt Petersen about Batavia’s rally. “We are not at a point yet where we can put teams away.”
After keeping even within the Storm (9-6) in the first eight minutes of play, 14-14, Batavia suffered through a disastrous second quarter.
The Bulldogs (5-9) managed only 10 points in the quarter. South Elgin, controlling the glass and capitalizing on Batavia turnovers, scorched the net for 25 points and held a 39-24 lead at halftime.
“We gave up far too many possessions on [turnovers] or offensive rebounds,” said Batavia coach Jim Nazos. “It’s hard to be successfully when you give up so many extra possessions as we did, and they capitalized on them.”
“They came out with a ton energy to start,” Petersen said. “It was really good we got that separation to start the game. I thought our athleticism was good enough to disrupt what they were trying to do.”
The Bulldogs kept pace with the Storm in the third quarter and managed to pull within 10 points, 45-35, late in the period on a Tucker Knox basket. However, on South Elgin’s next possession, the senior forward was called for his fourth foul as Darius Wells (13 points) scored. Wells sank the free throw to return his team’s lead to 13.
“It was a frustrating game,” Knox said. “We would get so close and then make some mental mistakes that would push us farther and farther away.”
Knox scored 12 points and pulled down eight rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
South Elgin’s Matthew Smith led all scorers with 15 points.
Both Danny Pieczynski and Micah Coffey scored 13 points for Batavia. South Elgin’s Matt McClure also notched 13.