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Sports

Boys Basketball: Brother Rice cools off Batavia in Jack Tosh Classic semifinals

Off shooting night drops Bulldogs into third-place game against Wheaton North

ELMHURST – Perhaps Batavia's newly-found shooting woes on Friday night against Brother Rice could be attributed to the dropping temperature outside.

Whatever the case, the heat from a usually-consistent motion offense was missing.

The Bulldogs' offense struggled from the field most of the evening, and the positive vibes from Batavia's win over Naperville North Thursday night were quickly dashed in a 61-40 Brother Rice victory in the Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament semifinal.

Batavia, making its best showing at the tournament, shot just 24 percent from the field. The Bulldogs wrap up against Wheaton North for third place at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Brother Rice (10-5) and Conant will vie for the tournament title at 6 p.m. Saturday. Brother Rice last won the Jack Tosh in 2003.

Brother Rice's Josh Boulanger, fresh off his tournament-leading 17 rebound and 20 point performance against St. Laurence, poured in 16 points and 7 rebounds. Coupled with Marquise Kennedy's 20 points, Batavia had little answers for an offense that flowed smoothly.

"They're very athletic and good with the ball," Batavia forward Jayden Johnson said. "We just gave up a lot at the rim, and that didn't help us at all," .

Boulanger commanded the attention, but he was quick to deflect praise on his teammates who found him open in different looks.

"Everybody can get going in our starting five, including our bench," Boulanger said. "We have our everyday players that are consistent, but we have a lot of good shooters."

Batavia (10-3) was paced by Eric Peterson's 14 points and four rebounds, while Johnson followed with 11 points and seven boards. Blake Carlson had eight points.

After a slow first quarter and trailing 11-4, the Bulldogs put themselves in position to challenge the hot start.

Peterson nailed a three to open the second quarter, and Johnson followed suit with a three to put Batavia within one. Yet, Brother Rice's offensive flow couldn't be denied long enough to keep Batavia within striking distance. The Bulldogs trailed as little as three at 16-13 after a Johnson three, but that's as close as it'd get along the way with Rice dabbling between 20 and greater leads.

"We were never in a good rhythm offensively," Batavia coach Jim Nazos. "They jumped in the zone and slowed us down a lot. Good shooting has helped us this year, but they did a great job keeping us out of rhythm."

Senior point guard Riley Cooper acknowledged his team's defensive intensity was poor from everyone – including himself.

"It's not on one person. It's a team collectively, but I do put a lot of it on myself knowing that [I] make the team run [as the point guard] and just didn't do it today."

Though, Batavia will need a short-term memory for tomorrow.

"We're definitely going to need to pick it up on the defensive end. We can't have lapses like that...We're going to have make a lot of adjustments going into the game tomorrow."

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