DeKALB – For the first time in years, the Sycamore boys basketball team came into the matchup against DeKalb at the Convocation Center on a winning streak against the Barbs.
Undefeated in conference play, the Spartans, for once, were the heavy favorites. But the young Barbs hit eight 3-pointers and never trailed in the 59-51 win.
The Barbs came out firing early.
Luke Davis III led off the game with a three-point play, and DeKalb led 9-2. The Barbs hit five 3-pointers in the first quarter, including two apiece from Jace Kitchen and Pat Aves. The Spartans committed five turnovers, and DeKalb led 24-15 at the end of the opening frame.
Sycamore (14-4, 4-1 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) came out more composed offensively early in the second quarter, and a 3-pointer by Cooper Vinz and a layup by Ben Niemann cut the DeKalb lead to five. Four points Kitchen, including a fast-break dunk off of a steal, kept the Barbs in control with a 32-26 lead at the half.
Niemann dominated the paint early in the third, scoring six of Sycamore’s first eight points to make the score 36-35 with 5:10 remaining in the quarter.
But DeKalb went on another hot streak, with sophomore Ethan Conroy hitting a pair of threes and Kitchen hitting another, and the Barbs led 48-38 at the end of the third.
The Spartans never closed the lead to fewer than six points, and Dekalb closed out the win at the free-throw line.
Kitchen scored a game-high 20 points and Davis added another nine while playing with foul trouble throughout. Niemann scored 13 and senior Devin Mottet added nine for the Spartans.
After dominating the rivalry for the past two seasons, Sycamore was handed its first loss of the conference season.
DeKalb began the conference season with three losses, but the Barbs have come back with two straight wins. In the biggest venue they’ll see all season, the young Barbs were unfazed and came out with their biggest win of the season.