SYCAMORE – Even with a starting lineup featuring three seniors and two juniors, the Sycamore boys basketball team still had a case of first-game jitters in the Spartans’ season opener Monday against Chicago Power House.
Lucky for Sycamore, the nerves went away shortly after halftime.
Trailing by seven points at the start of the third quarter, Sycamore (1-0) used a 16-0 burst to take a 40-31 lead and never trailed again on its way to a 67-55 victory in pool play of the Leland G. Strombom Tournament.
“First half we had some nerves, obviously first game,” senior center Scott Nelson said. “Going into halftime we had to settle down, go to our roots, get defensive rebounds. We needed to step up our ‘D’.”
Junior Nick Feuerbach gave Sycamore the initial spark in the second half, hitting two 3-pointers to put Sycamore up, 36-31. Nelson found Kyle Buzzard for an easy layup and a Nelson hook shot gave Sycamore a nine-point lead midway through the third.
Sycamore forced 26 turnovers and often converted the extra possessions into easy points throughout the second half.
“I think we got a lot of deflections. We were working really hard, but sometimes we were just out of position,” Sycamore coach Andrew Stacy said. “Intensity, I was very pleased, it’s just our rotations were a little slow.”
Sycamore’s improved outside shooting in the second half opened up the inside for Nelson, who scored 14 of his 20 points after halftime. The senior shot an efficient 9-for-13 from the field.
Junior forward Devin Mottet led the Spartans with 21 points while Feuerbach finished with 11 points, nine coming in the second half.
“There’s no such thing as a bad win,” Stacy said. “We still stayed true to how we want to play even though things weren’t going well that first half. We still were able to press and get some results out of our press."