The Bucs first game against Guilford went down to the wire and beyond; Belvidere beat the Vikings in overtime. Last Friday’s match against Guilford was a little less nerve-wracking and a lot more rewarding.
Nick Wirth worked to give the Bucs a 15 – 4 lead, draining two three pointers in the first period. Adam Heaton grabbed three steals from the Vikings. That led to a couple of quick lay-ups by Jason Fiske. However, Guilford came roaring back with an 11 – 0 run into the second period. Byron Emerson scored on a pair of lay-ups to tie the game at 15. However, that was as close as they could get. Matt Barr found Brandon Smaha unguarded for a go-ahead score. Belvidere pulled away and led at the half, 31 – 24.
Anthony Goransen scored six of his seven points in the third period as the Bucs defense took control with key steals that turned into Belvidere points. The Bucs increased their lead to 13, but Guilford never gave up. Byron Emerson led the Vikings with 18 points and his two free throws reduced the Bucs lead to 4. However, the Bucs had good free throw shooting of their own, going 9 of 10 at the line. This was good enough for a 60 – 51 win over Guilford.
The Bucs returned home to Belvidere on Saturday to host a non-conference game against Sycamore. The Bucs stayed close with the Spartans, scoring on nine three-point shots and perfect 7 of 7 shots from the free throw line. However, Sycamore’s high octane offense was too much for the Bucs to defend against. Reid Barringer – Sycamore’s leading scorer – scored 21 points from all points of the court, including four three-point shots. Tony Bomar scored 20. In the end, the Spartans free throw shooting made the difference with 16 of 18 shots made at the line and the Bucs lost 67 – 64.
The Bucs may have snapped a five game winning streak, but Harlem’s surprise win against Freeport over the weekend puts the Bucs in third place in the NIC-9. Belvidere’s win against Guilford guarantees them their first outright winning season in over thirty years. Fifteen wins gives Coach McCarthy his best record ever as the Bucs coach. It also gives the Bucs the fourth seed in the regional sub-sectionals; the start of the IHSA playoffs. The Bucs will play fifth seed Auburn on March 2 at Boylan High School. The Knights (11 – 13, 6 – 7 in the NIC-9) happen to be the Bucs next opponent at home this Friday. The two teams met the first time on January 14th. The result was a come from behind Bucs victory. Anthony Simpson leads the Knights in scoring with over 14 points per game. Damarceo Paschel averages 12.1 points per game. The game begins at 7:30 at Belvidere.