The second game of the Ken Peddy Tournament did not resemble a typical basketball game.
Virtually bereft of any sustained offensive runs, St. Francis’ lockdown defense was too much for the Batavia boys team to overcome.
Holding the Bulldogs to 10 field goals on Friday night in second-round action of the Windmill City Classic, St. Francis’ 42-33 victory over frigid Batavia was a showcase for team defense.
“We think defense can be one of our team strengths this year,” St. Francis coach Bob Ward said after the Spartans broke free from a 16-16 halftime tie to claim its second consecutive victory on the young season. “I thought we helped and we covered and we got a lot of loose balls. The personality of the game was such that it wasn’t going to be a 75-72 game.”
St. Francis’ Andrew Kimball settled a long-standing score against many of his former Batavia foes.
The Spartans’ senior, who battled several Batavia players in middle school and his freshman year while growing up in Geneva, drained a 3-pointer less than two minutes into the third quarter to give St. Francis (2-0) the lead for good.
“We’re very good at driving, penetrating and kicking (the basketball) out,” Kimball said. “We knew a lot of (the Batavia) plays. It helped us out a lot.”
Micah Coffey, the only Batavia player to score from the field in the fateful third quarter, hit a conventional field goal and one of three 3-pointers in crafting a game-high 11 points for the Bulldogs (1-1).
But St. Francis answered in its half of the third quarter with five different players tallying from the field.
Reserve Jason Sullivan connected on a 3-pointer from the left baseline to give St. Francis a 26-18 lead.
In augmenting previous individual field goals from Kimball, Jason Pisarski, Kevin McShea and Matt Bonner, the Sullivan perimeter find capped the closest thing to a sustained offensive run in any of the four quarters.
With Batavia only finding the range on 10 of its 37 field-goal attempts on the night, St. Francis furthered its cause with the type of play that does not always show up in statistical breakdowns.
St. Francis’ 16 forced turnovers were equally detrimental to the Batavia effort.
“We had some bad turnovers,” said Batavia first-year coach Jim Nazos.
For much of the final eight minutes, St. Francis’ defensive posture once again came to the forefront as Jake Pollack was the only Batavia player to score until Luke Horton had a putback in the last minute of play.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, St. Francis had long seized control as Kilian Brown hit a midrange jumper with 5:21 to play that provided the Spartans with their largest lead of the night at 35-23.
Tim Zettinger scored 10 points to lead St. Francis.
Crystal Lake South 66, Kaneland 55: In the opener, Crystal Lake South (1-1) overcame a monster night from Kaneland senior forward Matt Limbrunner to prevail 66-55.
Nick Geske paced four Gators in double figures with 17 points to offset the game-high 26 Limbrunner tallied.
“We waited way too long to get Limbrunner the ball,” Kaneland coach Brian Johnson said.
St. Francis can clinch the team title with a win over the Knights (0-2) Saturday.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.