PLAINFIELD – For the first few minutes of Tuesday’s IHSA Class 4A regional semifinal at Plainfield East, the Batavia boys basketball team played like it was a No. 19 seed facing a No. 3 seed.
The Bulldogs (8-18) appeared tentative in the early going as Bolingbrook scored the first 11 points of the game. Chasen Peez (17 points) finally got Batavia on the board with a 3-pointer, but the Raiders (21-5) scored the next eight points to open up a 19-3 lead. From there on out, the Bulldogs battled the talented Bolingbrook club evenly, but the damage had been done. The Raiders went on to record a 73-56 victory.
“There were things we could have helped ourselves with early on,” Batavia coach Jim Nazos said. “I think they had a couple second chances there. … I thought we had some looks early that didn’t go.”
Nine of Bolingbrook’s 20 first-half rebounds came on the offensive end. The Raiders held a 32-20 edge on the boards in the game.
Batavia trailed, 21-7, after one quarter, but started to find the range in the second quarter, getting 3-pointers from five different players. Canaan Coffey’s trey with 1:35 left in the first half pulled the Bulldogs within 32-24.
Bolingbrook again answered with a run, scoring the final seven points of the half to open up a 15-point cushion.
“We’ve been a team of runs all season,” Bolingbrook coach Rob Brost said. “At H-F, I think we had a 22-0 run, and we’ve had runs like that all season. We’re capable of doing stuff like that. It’s just when is it going to come.”
Senior Micah Coffey (seven points) scored from beyond the arc to open the third quarter, cutting the Batavia deficit to 12, but that was as close as the Bulldogs would come the rest of the way.
“They’ve got size and they’ve got quickness,” Micah Coffey said of the Raiders. “We kind of got away from the things we do defensively. They took on the identity of the game. We couldn’t really get control of the game, and from then on we were chasing.”
Micah Coffey was one of six Batavia seniors playing in their final game, one night after Batavia upset Downers Grove South.
“It’s been a pleasure to wear the sleeves,” he said. “It’s been an honor to be part of a program like this. I’m proud of all the guys we have. These seniors – it’s been a blast to get to know them.”
One of those seniors was 6-6 forward Tucker Knox, who did his best to try to get the Bulldogs back in the game, scoring 17 points and grabbing six rebounds. Knox took the ball to the basket every opportunity he got, drawing fouls that sent him to the free throw line 12 times. He hit on nine of those.
“We kind of just figured out what they were doing and got adjusted to the game,” Knox said of Batavia’s effort after the early troubles. “We just could never get enough consecutive stops to get back into it.”
Jeremy Schoessling, Alex Bala, Ryan Olson, and David Alonzo also made their final appearances for the Bulldogs.
“Those six just kept going after it this year,” Nazos said of his seniors. “Great things are ahead of them.”
Gage Davis, a 6-3 senior, scored 23 points for Bolingbrook, which will meet the winner of today's Geneva-Plainfield East game in Friday’s regional championship game.