SYCAMORE - One monster game from Xavier Gagnepain stopped two streaks at the same time as the Sycamore boys basketball team spoiled DeKalb’s undefeated season on Saturday, 57-49, in the season finale for both teams.
The Barbs (18-1) had not only won 18 straight coming into the game and were the undefeated DuPage Valley Conference champs, but had won 10 straight in the rivalry series.
And Sycamore (9-7) had to come back from 30-13 down in the second quarter to do it.
“To come in here and ruin their season - they’re coming in here looking to kill us, and we just didn’t have that plan,” said Gagnepain, who finished with 26 points and nine rebounds. “We looked to play hard, work hard, work together as a team. It was our last game, and we were looking to have fun. Hitting shots, making shots is fun. It’s what we came out here and did.
“It was a big upset, and it felt really good. It feels so surreal right now. It’s crazy.”
Tyler Westberg hit a 3-pointer for the Barbs with 3:33 left in the second quarter, capping a 17-2 run and pushing the lead to 30-13. But Sycamore went on a 16-2 run, including a 3-pointer by Tyler York from three-quarters court at the buzzer.
By the end of the third, the game was tied at 38 after a Gagnepain layup.
Gagnepain hit two more layups to start the fourth and put Sycamore up 42-38. DeKalb didn’t score until 4:48 was left in the game, and the Spartans never trailed again
“I’m so happy for these kids,” Sycamore coach Andrew Stacy said. “They’ve worked so hard, and the resiliency they’ve shown all season long, I’m just really proud of them.
“DeKalb has had such a good season this year, you had to believe you can upset them, and they kept believing, even when we were down 17.”
Sycamore led 47-44 when Martez Jackson couldn’t connect on a pair of free throws. Sycamore answered down at the other end with a 3-pointer by Ben Herrmann to take control of the game with 1:34 left. The Barbs never got within one possession again.
“We weren’t very good,” DeKalb coach Mike Reynolds said. “We don’t make excuses. That’s not who we are. We were up 30-13, and for the rest of the game we were outscored by 25. We have a 17-point lead in the second quarter, usually that’s money for us.
“It wasn’t today.”
Reynolds said the loss didn’t put a damper on the season. He said going undefeated was never really goal into the last week, and 18-1 is still an excellent mark in a season that, for a long time, didn’t look like it was going to happen.
“There’s nothing to complain about,” Reynolds said. “Two months ago no one thought we were going to play basketball. It’s great we played, and if people said we’d be 18-1 at the end of the year, we’d be happy with it.”
For Sycamore, Stacy said the win was an exclamation point on a strong finish to the year. And Gagnepain said it was a pride point to hand the Barbs their first loss of the year.
“They’re coming off an undefeated season, well now 18-1,” Gagnepain said. “They’re playing with really good schools, really big schools, and for us, Sycamore, a really small school, it felt really good to beat them and knock them off that streak.”
By the numbers: Trenton Kyler scored 20 for the Barbs but didn’t have a field goal in the second half. Jackson added 12. Lane McVicar added nine rebounds and three steals. Brody Armstrong scored eight for Sycamore.
Beyond the stats: Six different Spartans made a 3-pointer in the win - Hunter Alexander, Herrmann, Bailey Wiegmann, Gagnepain, Sam Etienne and York.
They said it: “It’s not a seven-game series. We just have to beat them one time,” Stacy said. “It is March, so a little bit of March Madness may have taken place tonight. We’ll take it.”