Watching his brother Trae play, Devin Mottet the grade-schooler – now a senior a Sycamore – dreamed of taking center stage at the Convocation Center in the DeKalb-Sycamore rivalry basketball game.
As the years went by, his goals evolved, and playing in the game wasn’t the only objective. Ending DeKalb’s winning streak that had built up to 11 games, all after his brother played in the last Sycamore win, became something to look forward to.
After checking that box by sweeping the Barbs last season, the senior class has one last stake to claim in the rivalry – with a win tonight, Sycamore will have swept DeKalb in football and basketball for two straight seasons.
“Watching these games, I always dreamed about playing on the big stage in that atmosphere,” Mottet said. “You always want to break the streak and start your own. ... We still want to assert our dominance. Regionals are just around the corner, and this would be a huge win if we got this one.”
For four school years from 2008 to 2012, the power balance in football and basketball was stable. Sycamore would notch a win at Huskie Stadium and DeKalb would have the upper hand when winter rolled around.
But after last year’s streak-breaking win, the Spartans enter the rivalry matchup in even better form with a chance at extending their basketball winning streak to four games. Coming into Friday, the Spartans are undefeated in four conference games with a 13-4 overall record.
“DeKalb has always put up a great fight in both sports,” senior Nick Feuerbach said. “Every time we play DeKalb, it’s a signature game. It’s always nice to get a win there. It would be awesome to finish out that streak.”
But like DeKalb, a week with two canceled days of school brings unpredictability. Adding to that, the Spartans’ practice at the Convocation Center on Thursday didn’t end until 10 p.m.
“It’s kind of a scheduling nightmare,” Sycamore coach Andrew Stacy said.
Adding to the variables is DeKalb’s young, talented team. Featuring three sophomores prominently, the Barbs have shown growth throughout the season after losing to the Spartans by 17 in December.
If the Spartans aren’t careful, Stacy knows DeKalb has the ability to pull off an upset, which could begin the process of swinging the balance of power in area basketball back west.
“I think they’ve really progressed as the year has gone on. They have three or four guys who can score 15 to 20 points any given night,” Stacy said. “Luke Davis is playing really well and it gives them a great threat. Then you surround him with some nice scorers, and Rudy Lopez is obviously very good with the ball in his hands being able to get into the paint, being able to score.
“We’re going to have to play well. I don’t think what happened the first time we played them is going to be indicative of what happens [tonight].”