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Bativia's Zach Strittmatter grabs a rebound during the first quarter against Elgin on Friday. | Michael R. Schmidt ~ For Sun-Times Media
Batavia used a dominant defensive effort in the second quarter to build a double-digit lead and then held on from there for a 62-50 Upstate Eight River win aty Elgin on Friday.
The Maroons had a 15-12 lead after one quarter, as Arie Williams connected on three three-pointers and Ryan Sitter hit a pair of treys.
However, the Bulldogs (10-12, 4-6) held Elgin scoreless in the second quarter until Eric Sedlack hit a pair of free throws with 27.4 seconds remaining. The Maroons were outscored 16-2 in the quarter as Batavia built a 27-17 halftime lead.
“That was a big goal for us defensively, holding them to single-digit quarters, and I think our defense really led to our offense, shutting them down and getting easy shots,” said Batavia senior Mike Carlson.
The Maroons (11-12, 2-8) committed just two turnovers in the quarter but could not get anything to fall as they shot 0-for-10 from the floor, including 0-for-6 from beyond the arc.
“There weren’t a lot of turnovers in the quarter, but our shot selection wasn’t very good and we settled for the first shot instead of the best shot,” said Elgin coach Mike Sitter. “We’re a team of runs, and when things go well everybody plays well, and when things went bad today it started snowballing.”
Batavia built the lead to 33-19 to open the third quarter before the Maroons finally showed some life offensively, putting together a 7-0 run to pull within seven.
That was as close as they’d get, though, as the Bulldogs took a 36-26 lead into the fourth quarter and put the game away with terrific free-throw shooting in what was a high-scoring final quarter.
The Bulldogs converted 16-of-19 from the charity stripe and outscored the Maroons 26-24 in the fourth, with Mike Rueffer leading the way for Batavia in hitting 8-of-9 from the line and scoring 10 points.
The Maroons got a solid game from leading scorer Arie Williams, as he tallied a game-high 27 points and added a team-high six rebounds. Isaiah Butler added eight points, with all of them coming in the fourth quarter.
On the other side, the Bulldogs made the most of their size advantage over the Maroons, attacking the basket and pounding the ball inside.
“They pressure the ball pretty well, but I thought we did a really good job attacking the basket and creating situations for the next guy, too,” said Batavia coach Jim Nazos.
Zach Strittmatter led the Bulldogs with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and he added four steals and a block on the defensive end.
Carlson added 14 points off the bench and center Luke Horton chipped in nine points and five rebounds.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for Batavia that dated to its Jan. 15 victory against Elgin in the first meeting between the teams.