Boys basketball: DeKalb’s season ends in sectional semifinal loss to Warren

Javerion Banks scored 27 for Blue Devils, Sean Reynolds 22 for Barbs

Warren's Javerion Banks dribbles around DeKalb’s Justin O’Neal Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, during their Class 4A sectional semifinal game at Rock Valley College in Rockford.

ROCKFORD – Gurnee Warren can score points.

Giving the Blue Devils extra possessions via turnovers and offensive rebounds just makes them more dangerous.

DeKalb committed 19 turnovers and got outrebounded on both ends, falling Tuesday to Warren 70-57 in a Class 4A Guilford Sectional semifinal at Rock Valley College.

“It’s really big for us,” said Javerion Banks, who scored 27 to lead Warren. “All coaches talk to us about is the second-chance points and how we need to get the rebounds and boxing out.”

Warren (30-4) won its 10th straight game, reached at least 64 points for the fifth straight time and will face either Hononegah or McHenry in the final Friday.

DeKalb (25-8) led after the first quarter and 27-26 with 3:56 left in the second after a 3-pointer by Eric Rosenow, who finished with 11 points. It was the Barbs’ last lead of the game, as the Blue Devils went on a 13-5 run to close the half.

Banks said the team watched a lot of film on DeKalb to try to figure out what they were going to do offensively.

“We were working on their sets and trying to predict them,” Banks said. “We knew what their stuff was, so it was easy to predict and know what to do.”

Banks also had a team-best seven rebounds, as did Alex Daniels. Freshman Jaxson Davis had 21 points, six rebounds and four steals.

The lead peaked at 62-44 early in the fourth after Immanuel Brown scored his 10th point of the game. The Barbs got it down to 63-56 after a 3-pointer by Sean Reynolds with 1:43 left but did not score another field goal.

“I think we made it hard for them to get good looks,” Warren coach Zack Ryan said. “Credit to them. They still made some really tough shots, but I think our defense and our pressure helped lead us to some easier baskets.

“Once we get the ball moving, it’s pretty tough to guard us.”

The Barbs also played most of the game without Davon Grant, a 6-foot-5 post who along with Sean Reynolds handles most of the scoring load. He picked up two fouls in the first quarter, sat most of the second and picked up three offensive fouls in the second half. He finished with eight points and two rebounds, fouling out with 6:05 left in the game.

“It’s going to be hard for us to win games with Devon playing eight minutes. That’s just reality,” DeKalb coach Mike Reynolds said. “That’s the way it kind of was tonight. It’s a frustrating night because it wasn’t our best foot forward, but credit to them, because they’re a really good team, and they’ve been really good all year.

“We just weren’t able to raise our game at the points we needed to.”

The Blue Devils finished with a 30-25 edge on the boards and 12-9 on the offensive glass. Eight of Warren’s offensive boards came in the first half, as did 12 of DeKalb’s turnovers.

“Not only did they hurt us that way, with the speed, but on the glass we just couldn’t - they just got too many extra shots and offensive rebounds to stay in it,” Reynolds said.

Sean Reynolds shot 6 for 13 from 3-point range and scored 22 points. Justin O’Neal, filling in as the main post presence for the Barbs, had eight rebounds, three steals and a block.

The loss ended the season for the Barbs, one which included their second regional crown in three seasons and the Chuck Dayton Holiday Classic title.

“I thought we just showed a lot of grit and toughness,” Mike Reynolds said. “We were 3-3, and we’re 22-5 since then. And out of the five losses, there’s probably three of them where we’re shaking our head thinking, ‘How did we lose those games?’

“I’m proud of them. They did a lot of things to win that regional. ... We just continued to get better and continue to get more mature.”

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