DeKALB – Eleven straight times, the DeKalb boys basketball team had beaten Sycamore before the Spartans finally broke through last year, starting a two-game winning streak by sweeping the season series.
Make it three.
Sycamore took over in the second half of a 55-38 win on Saturday night after the Barbs took a tie game into halftime.
“It feels great,” senior Devin Mottet said. “We watched the past five years of them beating us every single game, and now we're trying to make our own run for ourselves.”
Neither team had much luck on the offensive end early, and the Barbs led 8-7 after the first quarter.
Then, the Spartans (5-2, 2-0 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) found success by getting the ball inside, and Devin Mottet scored 10 of the Spartans' 12 points in the second quarter as DeKalb center Luke Davis struggled with foul trouble.
But the Barbs (2-6, 0-2 NI Big 12 East) hung tough in the second, and behind six first-half points from junior Rudy Lopez and five from sophomore Michael Pollack, the game was tied at 19 at the half.
“We haven't played in a whole week,” said Mottet, who scored a game-high 20 points. “We came out a little rusty. It was our first away game, so I think we had some pregame jitters. We were playing DeKalb, another conference game, so I think we had to get used to the environment, the crowd, get settled down and get into our offense.”
The Spartans went on a 16-5 run to start the second half behind six points from Ben Niemann, who scored 12 points, and four from Jake Winters, who also finished with 12. The Spartans closed the game out by making 10 free throws in the fourth.
“We held them to 19 in the first half, but we just knew we needed to get our offense going, and we were able to do that,” Niemann said. “Luke Davis was in foul trouble, so we were able to get the ball inside … Our offense was from the inside out, so when we get post touches, we can kick it out to the guards for three, so we knew if we could do that, our whole offense, we could just kind of get it rolling.”
The Barbs were stung once again by a rough third quarter, but coach Dave Rohlman was positive about his young team's effort.
“I told the kids, first of all I'm very proud of the way we played, especially in the first half,” Rohlman said. “That's as good as we've played this year. Sycamore's a good basketball team. The other thing is that we have to understand is that we didn't take care of the ball in the second half. We had as many turnovers in the third quarter as we had in the first half, and we didn't rebound the ball.”
But a new trend in area basketball continued on Saturday, with the Spartans once again asserting their dominance in the rivalry.
“I thought we played really well defensively,” Sycamore coach Andrew Stacy said. “Offensively, I felt like we were a little sluggish in the first half. … In the second half, we did a little bit of a better job getting the ball inside, and because of that, we were able to score a little bit more easily than we did in the first half.”