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posted: 1/23/2010 12:01 AM

Batavia goes inside to put away Rochelle

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There's more to basketball than shooting 3-pointers.

While Rochelle tried to attack with more of a perimeter approach, Batavia elected to pound the ball down low Friday night.

Making the most of their height advantage, the Bulldogs (13-4, 6-2) received double-figure scoring nights from frontline players Ricky Clopton, Levi Maxey and Elliot Vaughn on the way to a 64-49 Western Sun Conference triumph over Rochelle (7-12, 2-7) in Batavia.

Clopton, a 6-foot-5 senior forward, poured in a game-high 28 points to go with 12 rebounds and 5 assists to help lead the Bulldogs to their eighth consecutive victory.

After misfiring on 6 of his first 8 field-goal attempts, Clopton regained his shooting eye, converting 8 of his next 9 shots from the floor. Clopton and 6-6 senior Maxey (12 points, 7 rebounds) each had 6 points during a 12-2 run that helped the Bulldogs turn an early 9-4 deficit into a 16-11 lead.

"We've got eight wins in a row and as long as we keep doing that I'll keep scoring and whatever else it takes for my team," said Clopton, who had 16 second-half points.

"I thought Ricky held us together down the stretch and Levi and Elliot did a great job playing off him," said Batavia coach Jim Roberts. "All three of them did a great job on the glass."

Vaughn, who was forced to leave the game for a brief time after taking a hard foul and landing on his back in the game's opening minute, converted a pair of 3-point plays - the latter extending the Bulldogs' lead to 58-46 with 2:37 remaining.

"It hurt for a while," admitted the 6-6 junior forward/center who finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds. "I landed on the high point of the pelvis. It's a pretty good stinger."

Rochelle, which handed Geneva a 67-66 loss Jan. 15, was stung by its own poor shooting. The Hubs connected on 19-of-70 field-goal attempts (27 percent), including a paltry 8-for-37 (22 percent) night from beyond the 3-point arc.

"That's our worst shooting night in I can remember," said Hubs coach Russ Zick. "Maybe they had a lot to do with it but I thought a couple of those shots were open looks. We were just exasperated over there (on the bench). We're a good shooting team but we just couldn't make anything and it got into our kids' heads."

"They have been traditionally a 3-point shooting squad," Roberts said of Rochelle. "Early, we didn't do a very good job getting out on them but as the game progressed I thought we did a better job."

Despite their lack of marksmanship, the Hubs trimmed a 38-22 deficit midway through the third quarter to 47-40 on a 15-foot jumper by Joe Torres (12 points) with 6 minutes remaining.

But the Bulldogs, who were a bit sloppy at times with 19 turnovers, answered with a 13-6 surge, extending their lead to 60-46 on Adam LeTourneau's putback with 1:56 left.

Batavia will look for its ninth win in a row Tuesday night when it visits Western Sun leader DeKalb.

"I think we have been more consistent," Roberts said of his team's winning streak. "And I think we've done a better job of certain things such as getting loose basketballs and limiting teams to one shot."

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