BATAVIA – Eric Peterson is less than three weeks removed from a record-breaking performance in the football state championship game.
Now Peterson, a Batavia senior, is enjoying transitioning from the football field to the basketball court.
Peterson and other football teammates including Riley Cooper, Collin Richter, John Golden, Andrew Heinz and a handful of juniors spent the past six months competing for the eventual state title, and didn't hit the court until after the season was all completed – at least following summer tournaments and conditioning.
They are now working on getting back into basketball shape.
"The biggest thing is the conditioning. These past two weeks, we've had a lot of football players gassed at practice," Peterson said. "Besides that, our football players bring a lot of athleticism to the table with our speed and jumping."
To date, the Bulldogs are 4-1 and 1-0 in conference with the lone loss coming at the hands of Wheaton Warrenville South at the Windmill City Classic following Thanksgiving. Batavia returns to action against Streamwood on Dec. 8.
"It's kinda fun to do something different, and get back into the groove of basketball," said Peterson, a 6-foot-4 guard. "As a team, I think we're pretty fast as a whole, and we have a lot of great shooters."
Peterson also added the team chemistry is stronger than last year's team, and they're playing well together while maintaining their roles.
Batavia coach Jim Nazos notes the re-insertion of the football players in the team has been "as smooth as it could go" with the tight-knit group.
"I think the X's and O's a lot of that has been done already [and] it can come," Nazos said. "Our biggest thing is getting their basketball legs [under] them and their ball skills up."
"It's one of those things you can't explain, but you know it when you see it," Nazos said on being satisfied with where the team's chemistry is. "You kinda feel it within practices [and on] bus rides...it's something that probably started back in the summer."
Peterson scored 18 points, 12 in the first half, in Batavia's 64-38 win over Elgin on Dec. 1. Jayden Johnson, the scout team quarterback for the football team, added 12 points. Nazos noted that the Bulldogs didn't shoot the ball particularly well from the 3-point arc, but did find the open man and attacked the basket.
"We do have the capability of shooting it well, and I imagine that's going keep getting better and better as we go," Nazos said.