BATAVIA – Patience paid off for Batavia on Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs connected on only one of eight shots in the opening quarter of their home DuKane Conference game against Glenbard North and trailed 8-4 at the end of the first eight minutes.
Nate Nazs’ 3-pointer from the left wing with 43 seconds left in the frame was team’s only bucket in the quarter.
Batavia’s persistence began to pay off in the second quarter as its shots started falling. The Bulldogs retook the lead at the 6:48 mark of the period and led the rest of the way for a 47-30 win.
“This group has been very good about hanging in when things aren’t going our way and eventually things turn around,” said Batavia coach Jim Nazos. “We eventually got there.”
Gavin Engelhart’s pullup jumper 30 seconds into the second quarter started a 20-2 Batavia run. Jack Ambrose’s first basket of the night tied the game at 8. The 6-foot-6 senior’s next bucket, a trey from the left wing, put the Bulldogs in front. Ambrose led all scorers with 18 points including four 3-pointers.
“(In the first quarter) we were hesitant on passing and we were late on passes. I thought we were defending well,” Nazos said. “We were sitting there at 8-1. We eventually got looks and some of them were falling.
The Panthers scored only two points in the quarter on Edward Redento’s free throws. Batavia led 26-10 at halftime.
“We had a tough loss last week on Friday (to Lake Park), so bouncing back was big, we had to get this win tonight,” Ambrose said. “We finally started hitting open guys and getting open threes.”
The Batavia coach thought his defense was also key in the turnaround.
“The middle of the first through the second was the difference in the game,” Nazos said. “We had a lot of people in the right spots and very good rebounding.”
The Bulldogs (12-13, 4-6) outrebounded the Panthers 28-21.
Glenbard North coach Kevin Tonn agreed second quarter play was critical to the game’s result.
“We started off the game strong but that second quarter really killed us. Their pressure hurt us,” said the Panthers coach. “We’ve been stressing consistency and unfortunately, it’s always one quarter that seems to be getting us off track.”
Glenbard North (13-12, 3-7) scored 10 points in the third quarter but only reduced Batavia’s lead by one.
Ambrose scored his last basket of the night early in the fourth quarter after corralling his 10th rebound. The senior got off a shot from the left wing that hit the rim and bounced back to him. Ambrose squared up again and sank the shot.
JJ Hernandez led Glenbard North scorers with eight points.