ADDISON – When one is fighting for its postseason life, 7:34 is a long time to make your first impression on the scoreboard.
Unfortunately for the Batavia girls basketball team, that’s exactly how long it took in its Class 4A regional semifinal matchup with eighth-seeded South Elgin on Tuesday night at Addison Trail.
Despite the long scoring drought putting the Bulldogs in a bind, and falling behind by as many as 11 points in the second half, the ninth-seeded Bulldogs managed to fight their way back into the game against a solid South Elgin squad.
Batavia forward Hannah Frazier got her own rebound on a missed free throw an and-one opportunity and stuck it home to tie the score at 31 with less than a minute to play in regulation, eventually sending it to overtime where South Elgin would ultimately prevail, 39-36.
“It was very impressive,” Batavia coach Kevin Jensen said of his team’s ability to battle through such a long scoring drought to start. “We never got rattled and part of that is because how hard we play on defense.
“Sometimes I think that even takes away from our offense because we have to play so hard on defense. Sometimes we’re drained on offense and that’s because of what we put into the defensive end of the floor.”
Not only did Batavia (15-15) start without scoring for nearly an entire quarter, they didn’t manage its first field goal until Frazier converted on a three-point play with 5:17 remaining in the second quarter.
At the time, the Bulldogs trailed the Storm, 11-5.
Late in the half, a 3-pointer by Shea Bayram made it 18-10 and that’s the score the two teams would take into halftime.
Part of that first-half frustration was because of 12 turnovers by Batavia in the first half and 22 total on the night.
“When I say we missed layups, I mean we didn’t even get to take them,” Jensen said. “We had some tough turnovers. We were throwing some missiles when we could have thrown a nice bounce pass.”
In the second half, Batavia got a boost offensively thanks in large part to Frazier and junior Jessica Koch.
Frazier managed 15 of her game-high 22 points in the second half, while Koch scored all nine of her points in the second half and overtime.
Koch and Frazier combined to score all 14 of Batavia’s points in the fourth quarter as the Bulldogs pushed the game to overtime.
There, the game remained tight until a runner by South Elgin’s Delaney Kelleher made it 36-34. After that, the Storm managed to hit three of their final four free throws to put the game away.
“We’ve got every single person coming back and we’ve got a sophomore team coming in that was 22-5,” Jensen said while assessing the state of his program in the wake of the loss. “It’s gonna be a heck of a battle for however many jerseys I’ve got next year.”