Yorkville isn’t a team that sulks.
After Kaneland rallied from a 17-point deficit for the win over the Foxes on Dec. 27, Yorkville could’ve moped. Instead, they regrouped and defeated John Hope the next day.
The Foxes faced a much bigger challenge on Thursday in Plano’s 54th annual Christmas Classic, and once again rose to the occasion, beating Streator, 46-35, in a game they led from start to finish.
“Streator is a good basketball team and has some really nice players,” Yorkville coach Mike Dunn said. “Our kids played their butts off though, which really makes me proud as a coach. We practice really hard and try to be consistent with it and I think we’re really improving.”
Yorkville (6-5) jumped to a 7-0 lead and never allowed Streator to get closer than three points.
“We’ve really lost some tough games this year, but the kids keep fighting,” Dunn said. “We’re 3-1 (in the tournament thus far) and have a chance to get a fourth (win here) against a good Sandwich squad, so we’re excited for the opportunity.”
The Foxes have struggled to score all season long, but they haven’t allowed that to affect them defensively as they’ve used feisty play on the other side of the ball to stay competitive.
“Defense is our backbone,” Dunn said. “Our mentality is to make stops and we are always working on terrific drills in practice. But I also think we’re getting better offensively, especially in shooting the ball better.”
It helps when you shoot a solid 47 percent (17-of-36) from the field while holding your opponent to just 34 percent (13-of-38) like the Foxes did against the Bulldogs.
Logan Habada paced the Foxes, draining a pair of three-pointers and scoring 13 points. Jonathan Suarez added 11 points.
Suarez’s drive with 3:18 left in the first half gave the Foxes a 21-11 lead.
Adam Brown responded with a 3-pointer for the Bulldogs, but Habada’s three-pointer just before the buzzer gave the Foxes a 24-14 lead at the half.
“I think we’re moving the ball as well as we have all season and I think our defense is the reason why,” Habada said. “We’re feeding off the defense and now are starters are playing like they’re supposed to and everyone had bought in and accepted their roles.”
Streator never mounted much of a rally and when they did stop the clock, it often resulted with Suarez being sent to the free throw line where he made 7-of-8 attempts.
“Shooting free throws in this tournament has been really good for me,” he said. “As a senior I’m just trying to step up and be a leader and making free throws comes along with it.”
Alexx Nauman added eight points for the Foxes, Austin Avery had five and Suarez led the team with six rebounds.
Despite playing for the fourth time in as many days, the Foxes didn’t appear tired.
“Coach has us prepared,” Habada said. “He pushes us hard, but he gives us rest days. Now we’re seeing the result on the court.”