Batavia explodes early in win over Lake Zurich

It was the beginning of the end.

In the final game of the second annual MLK Showdown, Batavia scored 18 straight points to open its 69-42 victory over Lake Zurich during Monday’s event that featured 10 additional varsity games earlier in the day.

“One thing compared to years past is we’ve gotten off to some great starts in games and been able to ride that throughout,” Bulldogs coach Kevin Jensen said. “They were starting to chip away in the first half and we probably should’ve started subbing a little quicker because I told the girls we’re not going to slow down.”

Most of the points that Batavia scored during its opening run were developed by forcing turnovers. The Bulldogs (17-5) were already up 11-0 barely 90 seconds into the game thanks to their relentless pressure.

A couple of free throws, followed by her first of five three-pointers, and then a layup were Brooke Carlson’s offensive contributions to open the game. She’d finish with 29 points and move to second all-time in scoring at the school. She now sits between Hannah Frazier and Liza Fruendt.

Kyle Gehrts finished a pair of layups off of turnovers before Addie Prewitt had a steal and lay-in to make it 18-0 with 4:33 still to go in the first quarter.

“That was one of our main concepts that we were talking about today,” Prewitt said, “We just really wanted to pressure, pressure, pressure,. That’s what we do best at.”

Lake Zurich (12-10) isn’t unfamiliar with defensive pressure, so it wasn’t that the Bulldogs bared some major weakness on the Bears to attack.

“We get pressed all the time, and some days we’re good and some days we’re not good,” Bears coach Chris Bennett said. “Sorry you had to sit through one of the bad days. They came out and blitzed us and we just got in our own heads and that was the end of that.”

It was the fourth straight season the teams played but the first time Batavia won.

“I told the kids before the game that we’ve had great games when we’ve played Batavia,” Bennett said. “It’s been a lot of fun. Too bad we couldn’t give them a better game. We just weren’t in the gym. That’s all there’s to it.”

Batavia led 43-23 at halftime.

“I think when we have a great start like that we just have to keep up the energy and make sure there is no coming back for them and just keep going,” Prewitt said. “We’re working a lot on defense and running. I hate to agree with the running but I know it helps a lot. And we’re working on our mentality.”

In addition to Carlson’s big night, junior Natalie Warner (9 points) and sophomore Samantha Jansey (8 points) led the Bulldogs and both came off the bench. Gehrts, Prewitt, Hallie Crane and Sarah Hecht combined for the remaining 22 points.

“The girls played real hard and they’re at that time of the year where legs are getting a little weary,” Jensen said. “So it’s balancing out, keeping top groups in there, but also cycling through everyone and keeping us fresh and playing hard. I thought everybody did a nice job tonight.”

Avery Cooper led the Bears with 10 points, Leah Gilbertson had nine points and Anna Gilbertson added eight points.

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