BATAVIA – It came down to a matter of who would make the final play between the Kaneland and Batavia boys basketball teams Wednesday in the first round of the Ken Peddy Windmill City Basketball Classic.
After a one-sided affair later turned into a seesaw battle, Batavia held off the Knights just enough to earn a 47-45 victory.
Senior Dan Miller’s driving layup off the right side gave Kaneland the lead with 32 seconds left, but Batavia came up with the go-ahead basket when junior Mike Rueffer drove straight down the lane and converted a three-point play.
Kaneland had one last chance to tie or take the lead on its ensuing possession, but a costly turnover led to a pair of Rueffer free throws, sealing the first victory for the Bulldogs under new coach Jim Nazos.
Batavia raced out to a 7-0 lead on baskets from Jake Pollack, Rueffer and Zach Strittmatter in the first four minutes of the game, but Kaneland found its groove and the free throw line (10 of 12) in the second quarter. The Knights fought back to take a 19-16 advantage at the 2:21 mark of the period when junior Tyler Carlson converted a three-point play.
Batavia (1-0) was able to reclaim the lead with a Strittmatter basket and two free throws from Pollack, but Kaneland went into the half with a 21-all tie when Dylan Vaca connected on a pair of free throws just before the break.
Rueffer led Batavia with 12 points, while Pollack added 12.
Carlson finished with a game-high 15 points to lead Kaneland (0-1).
In the night’s first game, St. Francis beat Crystal Lake South, 51-45.
Senior guard Andrew Kimball knocked down a pair of three-pointers and finished with a team-high 13 points as St. Francis prevailed. Senior Tim Zettinger added 12 points as the only other Spartan in double-figure scoring.