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Early energy leads to big DeKalb win on senior night

DeKALB – The DeKalb boys basketball team wanted to get out to a fast start Friday night against Rochelle.

But on the Barbs’ senior night, nobody could’ve expected this fast of a start.

DeKalb could not miss early and never trailed in a 68-54 win over Rochelle. The Barbs scored 21 points in the first quarter on 11-of-16 shooting while only allowing four points.

“Our energy at the beginning was tremendous,” DeKalb coach Dave Rohlman said. “We struggled a little when we played at their place. I knew we were going to have pretty good energy for senior night, but it was beyond my expectation.”

Barbs seniors Micah Fagerstrom and Patrick Aves made the biggest difference in that first quarter. Aves scored two straight 3-pointers to open the DeKalb (12-15, 4-5 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) scoring, and Fagerstrom was unstoppable on the block. The two seniors combined for 16 of DeKalb’s 21 first-quarter points.

“As seniors, it is our last game here and it is nice to go out with a victory,” Aves said. “Also with the playoffs coming up, we have to build on it.”

Things continued to go the Barbs’ way for the rest of the first half. A short Rochelle team was dominated on the boards, with DeKalb outrebounding the Hubs 29-13 in the first half and 54-21 overall.

“I really thought the way we played defense was the difference – we really got after it and I thought they struggled,” Rohlman said. “As smooth as everything went off at the offensive end, everything started at the defensive end with our energy.”

In the second half, the DeKalb bench began to empty. Eleven Barbs scored, with many of the starters playing limited second-half minutes.

“We got off to a fast start with that 21-4 lead, then, at the end, our reserves came in a played strong,” Fagerstrom said. “We are really strong in our bench. Every day in practice, they go hard and just make our team better.”

Fagerstrom finished his last home game with 12 points and eight rebounds. Aves scored eight points and pulled down five rebounds. Rudy Lopez Jr. scored 12 points and Luke Davis III scored eight and grabbed 11 rebounds.

DeKalb plays at 7 p.m. today at Ottawa.

“We played well as a team, especially when we are unselfish and share the ball,” Aves said. “I think that we can beat anybody that we play. We just need to share the ball and play as a whole.”

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