DeKALB – Coach Dave Rohlman and the DeKalb basketball team know they need to change something about their halftime routine because momentum seems to go to the Barbs’ locker room to die.
As the whistle sounded to end the first half of Saturday’s game against Sycamore, the Barbs came off the court enthusiastically jumping and yelling, a few players chest-bumping members of the student section after tying the game at 19. Rohlman thought his team played as well as it had all season during those first 16 minutes.
But as usual for DeKalb, the strong play didn’t carry over to the third quarter, when they fell behind by double digits in the 55-38 loss.
“We changed the way we talked at halftime, we changed the routine,” Rohlman said. “Kids are still talking about that after the game, about changing things. They’re smart enough to realize that it’s our play in the third quarter, and it’s just something that we’ll keep working on.”
The young Barbs, who prominently feature two sophomores and start only one senior, succumbed to a 16-5 Sycamore run right out of the gate in the third. Just like their loss to Yorkville last week and another to Auburn in their season-opening tournament, the Barbs couldn’t make up for a poor start to the second half.
“It’s happened a few games, and there’s really no explanation for it,” senior Pat Aves said. “We just come out into the third quarter lackadaisical, and next thing you know, we’re down 15 points. I don’t really know what to say.”
The Barbs certainly are going through growing pains, with only two prominent players back from last year’s team, Aves and junior Rudy Lopez. The speed of the game on the varsity level is certainly an adjustment for the numerous juniors and the talented sophomores, which include starters Luke Davis III, a 6-foot-6 center, and guard Michael Pollack.
“Our sophomores that we’ve pulled up, they definitely have varsity quality,” Aves said. “I think the thing for them sometimes is that it’s a little faster on varsity, so they get caught up in the moment, but if you give them time, they’re going to get used to it and adapt, so we’ve got a long season ahead of us.”
The Barbs will have plenty of games to figure out their third-quarter woes when they play five games at the Chuck Dayton Christmas tournament, then five more in three days in late January when they play Morris then head to the Hononegah tournament. The Barbs hope that by then, they’ll have their halftime routine worked out.
“We’re just looking for consistency on our own part,” Rohlman said. “We’re looking for four quarters, and we’re getting three quarters. The third quarter is killing us.”