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Minooka fails to keep pace at Oswego Classic

OSWEGO — With about three minutes left to go in the first half of Monday night's girls basketball game between Batavia and Minooka at the Oswego Holiday Classic, the Bulldogs held a slim 22-20 lead.

Nearly 10 minutes of game time later, Batavia had just completed a 21-0 run to take a 43-20 lead. The Bulldogs would hold on the rest of the way for the 70-38 victory.

Both teams came out strong at the outset, with the Bulldogs and Indians exchanging baskets. After Batavia opened it up to a 13-6 lead, Minooka battled back and only trailed by two at the end of the quarter.

"We were able to hang with them in the first quarter, but we knew we couldn't hang with them speed-wise and make it a track meet," Minooka coach Ray Liberatore said.

The game remained close throughout the second quarter, as neither team was able to gain any sort of advantage. That all changed, though, with two minutes left. After a Minooka bucket from Rebecca Andreano made it a 22-20 Bulldogs lead, Batavia head coach Kevin Jensen called a timeout.

"I told my players to play harder and talk more on the court, and if I needed to play only four of them I would," Jensen said.

Batavia responded to its coach's speech, closing on a 7-0 to take a 29-20 lead in the break. Then, out of the break, the Bulldogs scored 14 more points in a row, turning the game into a 43-20 blowout.

"Once we started having more energy and getting up and down the floor more then we were at our best," Jensen said. "Once we improved the pace from the first quarter, we knew we were in good shape."

"They're a type of team where they can hurt you in transition, but also both inside and outside," Liberatore added. "They went into a zone on us defensively and I think we rushed some things."

Batavia continued to build on their lead throughout the night, eventually taking a 70-38 decision over the Indians. For Minooka on the night, senior Larissa McClemen scored 16 points, but it wasn't enough for the Indians to pull out a win.

"We just have to keep our heads up after this loss," McClemen said. "We can really only just think positive thoughts and keep morale up."

As for the Bulldogs, despite only having eight players on their roster, they all were able to contribute towards the 70 points they scored. Junior guard Liza Fruendt led all scorers on the night with 17 points, while fellow junior Erin Bayram added 16 in the victory.

Overall, four of the eight players scored in double digits, helping Batavia hit the 70-point mark for the fourth time this season.

"Our starting group features our two big players, but at any time we can have four girls that can hit threes for us on the court," Jensen said. "We that spurt at the end of the first half where we made a stop then hit two three-pointers. Those add up quickly."

Both teams continue tournament play Wednesday, with Batavia taking on Neuqua Valley and Minooka battling Glenbard East.

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