Carlson's 29 leads gritty Batavia past Lake Park


That's the word that the Batavia girls basketball team has honed in on this season, and it shows.

Case in point was Tuesday's 57-46 DuKane Conference win over host Lake Park.

Sure, junior guard Brooke Carlson dropped 29 points to help the Bulldogs improve to 12-7 overall and 4-2 in league. But it was more than that. Much more.

Batavia hit on eight 3-pointers this night, including a trifecta from sophomore guard Alexa Schorr and a pair from Carlson and sophomore guard Natalie Warner,

Good thing, too, as the Lancers are known for hitting the boards hard and playing physical down low. On Tuesday, they had a whopping 38 rebounds, led by senior forward Michela Barbanente with 13.

"What we play with is grit, that's what we always say," Carlson said, who came within 3 points of a career high. "We get into people. That's what we key down on, not getting pushed around, getting rebounds and boxing out, that's what we've been focusing on recently."

Doing that, and being able to shoot? The IHSA playoffs are on the horizon, and Batavia might be the team nobody wants to play.

"I mean, if we get an open three, it's because Brooke or Addie (Prewitt) are making an amazing drive," Schorr said. "You've got to be ready to shoot on this team. (They) might throw it to you and you have to be ready."

Batavia weathered an early advantage by Lake Park, which led 15-8 after the first quarter. The Bulldogs erupted with a 14-2 run in the second to pull into a 25-23 halftime lead, and added another 12-1 spurt at the end of the third quarter to seal the victory, though for good measure they added an 11-2 run in the fourth quarter.

Lake Park (10-8, 3-4) got yeoman's work from senior forward Grace Cord and freshman guard Allison Gogola in that first quarter stretch, with Gogola hitting on a pair of 3-pointers. Cord finished with 16 points and 10 boards, while Gogola scored 10 and added 7 rebounds.

Barbanente, who scored 11, said that Lake Park, too, is going to be the kind of team that will be a real pain to handle in the playoffs, because of its physicality.

"Our team saying is every 50-50 ball (has) to be ours," she said. "The second the shot is up, we want it. We value possessions as a team, and altogether, the more possessions you have, the more you can score. Nobody wants to deal with us on the boards."

Added Lancers coach Brian Rupp: "We knew that our strength as a group was our two bigs who can battle down there," referring to Barbanente and Cord.

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