DeKALB – DeKalb basketball coach Mike Reynolds said his team has a bad habit of letting one bad play become two bad plays.
After Davon Grant was called for goaltending on an alley-oop dunk that would have given DeKalb a six-point lead in the final 90 seconds Friday, it eventually turned into two good plays – a defensive stop and putback dunk by Grant to secure a 63-53 DuPage Valley Conference win against Naperville North.
“It’s very important to just move on to the next play,” Grant said. “Stuff happens. Things happen. You just have to be able to erase it from your mind and move on to the next play.”
DeKalb (5-3, 1-1 DVC) led much of the game, with the lead peaking at 11 points in the fourth quarter. A layup by Jack Kallstrand cut the lead to 55-51 with 1:40 left, Grant was called for goaltending.
The teams traded points and after DeKalb missed a pair of free throws, Grant slammed back the rebound with 49.4 seconds left to cap his first career 30-point performance.
“It feels great,” Grant said. “It shows my hard work has been paying off and everything the coaches have been letting me do and working with me on really has improved my game.”
Grant, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, had a double-double by halftime and finished with 30 points and 14 rebounds, not to mention four dunks. DeKalb attempted 26 two-point shots in the game and Grant took 19 of them.
Naperville North coach Gene Nolan said the focus was trying to slow down Grant. But with Kalllstrand and Grant Montanari in foul trouble all game and things got more difficult, he said.
“When we got banged up with some foul trouble, it got harder to do that,” Nolan said. “We were paying a lot of attention to him going in, and he’s so good and so physical we can’t duplicate that in practice.”
Bryce Welch led the Huskies (4-4, 0-2) with 18, Luke Williams added 16 and Cole Arl posted 11. Williams had seven rebounds as the Huskies outrebounded Grant 19-13 but were outrebounded by the Barbs 34-19.
“Offensively, I thought we shot the ball well and got good shots against a team that it’s hard to get good shots against,” Nolan said. “But I thought defensively that was the issue for us.”
DeKalb coach Mike Reynolds said Grant is shooting 70% from the floor this year, so he likes to make sure the team knows to feed him the ball.
“Davon was able to get it going early and then by the time he was rolling, it was too late,” said Reynolds, who like Nolan is set to be inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame next year. “They tried to do some doubling on things and he was able to make some quick moves.”
Marquies Bolden added 12 points, while Eric Rosenow had nine. The duo were a combined 5 of 9 from long range while DeKalb was 7 of 18 on 3-pointers for the game.
Reynolds said he likes the way his team handled adversity in a close game. DeKalb’s three losses this year are by a total of four points. And the Barbs’ next three games are against teams that entered Friday undefeated – at East Moline on Saturday then home against Dixon on Tuesday and Waubonsie Valley on Dec. 15.
“We want to make sure our guys face adversity, are not running from it,” Reynolds said. “That’s why we toughened up our schedule. We’re in a stretch where we’re going to face three undefeated teams in a row here starting tomorrow. It’s going to test us but that’s the way we have to be all year.”