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BOYS HOOPS INSIDER: Aves becoming Barbs' utility player

Published: Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

(Continued from Page 2)

Pat Aves is one of just a few seniors that play a lot of minutes for the Barbs.

"Outside of Rudy Lopez, Pat probably has the most varsity minutes," DeKalb coach Dave Rohlman said. "He's a very tough kid."

Rohlman mentioned that Aves gave the Barbs great energy in Saturday's win over Rochelle, the first NI Big 12 East win for DeKalb this season.

While Aves has gone back and forth from starter to reserve, Rohlman said he'll start on Friday against Sycamore at the NIU Convocation Center.

"He's a baseball guy so we use that kind of analogy of the utility player," Rohlman said. "He can do a little bit of everything for us. A lot of times we require him to guard the opponent's best man. He's one of those solid-as-a-rock, steady kind of guys you need to be successful."

Indian Creek hitting stride: Indian Creek has been playing some of its best basketball since the Timberwolves went just 2-2 at the Plano Christmas Classic.

"One of the things I've been pleased with, especially since Christmas, is we're really understanding what our roles are on this team," Indian Creek coach Joe Piekarz said. "We have a lot of quality players on this team. We're starting to get there now." 

Garrett Post, who adds another inside threat along with Garrison Govig, is actually the Timberwolves' leading rebounder at more than 10 rebounds per game. Piekarz also lauded the play of Stephen Muetze for his defensive intensity.

Friday's matchup against Newark will likely give Indian Creek its toughest test in the Little Ten and could determine the conference champion with both teams undefeated.

"We know Newark's history and we know they're a very solid team," Piekarz said. "We need to be able to play our basketball game. We know that if we play good solid defense, which we've done this season, and we're disciplined with what we do ... we tend to be in a lot of basketball games." 

VIEWS: DeKalb-Sycamore comes at the right time

For almost a week the entire midwest has been forced to largely stay inside.

The polar vortex made its unwelcomed return, cancelling what would've been an exciting slate of girls and boys basketball games in DeKalb County on Friday, Monday and Tuesday.

Gyms were empty, basketball hoops went unused, wrestling mats sat unrolled, our video camera stayed plugged into the charger.

Winter is never easy in Chicago. And few of them have been harsher than this one (and it's not over).

That's why the DeKalb-Sycamore game at the Convocation Center on Friday couldn't have come at a better time. The area needs an event to look forward to, a four-hour period of excitement and a night that will bring us some much-needed distraction from the cold that has taken away our sports fun from much of the past week.

Truthfully I'm looking forward to seeing the Convo packed for the first time since...well, last year's DeKalb-Sycamore double-header. And I'm expecting a spirited atmosphere that releases all of the pent-up energy that 4,000-plus fans have been harboring.

If there's one absolute truth in our local sports scene, the DeKalb-Sycamore game brings out the biggest crowd and the most school spirit. A recent snow storm won't diminish the charisma around the rivalry, even if Spirit Week was cut short and many early practices were canceled.

The Convo will be rockin' and two great games are on tap. The countdown to Friday is almost over so get out of the house and take a drive over to NIU.

I can't say for certain which teams will win or who will come out on the losing end. But I know for a fact that the video camera is charged and ready.

Ross Jacobson is the sports editor of the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached via email at rjacobson@shawmedia.com and follow him on Twitter @RossJacobson.

SPOTLIGHT ON...

Luke Davis III, DeKalb, sophomore center

Davis had the best game of his short varsity career, posting 29 points and 17 rebounds in the Barbs' win over Rochelle on Saturday.

WHAT TO WATCH

Indian Creek at Newark, 6:45 p.m., Friday

The top two teams in the Little Ten will battle in a defacto conference title game.

Sycamore vs. DeKalb at NIU Convocation Center, 8 p.m. Friday

This one doesn't need much of an explanation

POWER RANKINGS

1. Sycamore (14-3, 4-0 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) – Spartans still top dog in area

2. Indian Creek (11-5, 5-0 Little Ten) – T'wolves receive No. 1 seed in Little Ten tournament

3. Genoa-Kingston (13-7, 3-1 Big Northern Conference East) – Cogs get back into things at North Boone Saturday.

4. Kaneland (9-6, 2-2 NI Big 12) – Knights travel to DeKalb on Saturday

5. DeKalb (8-13, 1-3 NI Big 12) – Barbs got nice win over Rochelle

6. Hinckley-Big Rock (5-12, 2-3 LTC) – Royals looking to make a move as postseason nears.

7. Hiawatha (1-9, 0-4 LTC) – Hawks still winless in Little Ten.

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