SYCAMORE – The Sycamore boys basketball team had a great opportunity Friday night.
The Spartans came into their home contest against Rochelle one game behind first-place Kaneland in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East. With a victory, Sycamore would remain in the race, at the very least.
However, Rochelle’s fast start and and hot, top-notch shooting ended up being too much for the Spartans in a 71-64 loss.
Sycamore (16-10, 5-4 NI Big 12 East) remains one game back of the Knights after Kaneland’s 50-46 loss to Morris. The Redskins are also 5-4 in conference.
The loss to the Hubs (11-17, 4-5 NI Big 12 East) might have been a blown opportunity, but the Spartans still have life in the race for the league title.
“It hurts,” Sycamore coach Andrew Stacy said. “That’s what we talk about, controlling what we control and taking care of our own business. We didn’t do that tonight. Have to credit Rochelle, they did a great job.”
Sycamore still can claim a share of the conference title with a win over DeKalb on Friday and a Kaneland loss at Rochelle, which certainly didn’t look like a team six games under .500 after hitting six first-quarter 3-pointers on its way to a 23-point first period.
Morris also can claim a share under the same scenario with a win over Yorkville on Friday night.
The Spartans found out about Kaneland’s road defeat in the locker room after the high-scoring contest.
“We kind of missed an opportunity tonight, obviously with [Kaneland] losing,” Spartans senior guard David Compher said.
Compher led the Spartans with 22 points off the bench, hitting two big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Ben Niemann added 12 points for Sycamore and Scott Nelson finished with 10.
The Hubs came out shooting three after three, with point guard Grant Prusator making two from beyond the arc in the first period and creating for his other shooters. Prusator finished with 26 points and went 10 of 10 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
Sycamore held the Hubs’ three-point game in check the rest of the contest as Rochelle only made one in the second through fourth quarters combined. But Rochelle’s hot shooting helped the Hubs to a 23-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“We know that they’re a good shooting team,” Compher said. “What makes it hard is they can hit at any range, and they can all shoot. That’s what’s difficult, you don’t know which one’s going to shoot.”