By Bob Kopp

Special Correspondent

ROCKFORD – Improving its season record to 11-6, the Bucs began play in the 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. Shootout hosted by Jefferson High School with wins over talented South Elgin 64-59 and deliberate McHenry 51-36.

With senior Tyler Lass returning to the line-up for limited play as he continues to recover from an injury earlier in the season for the meat of the conference schedule and postseason while bringing his Division 1 talent, leadership, intensity, and contagious energy to the team, the Bucs continue to show increasing chemistry and tough Buc tenaciousness.

South Elgin boasts several underclassmen who will catch the eye of recruits at the next level; especially junior Matty Smith who was unstoppable in the morning match-up to the tune of 25 points and 6’11” junior Tyler Hankins who is raw yet formidable in the paint as a premier shot-blocker.

Trailing 45-42 going into the fourth quarter, the Bucs’ deep rotation wore down South Elgin’s dependence on five starters occasionally rested by two role players in outscoring them 22-14 to nail down the W.

Junior Deante Barnes followed up his fourth quarter heroics against Hononegah by scoring 6 of his 11 points in the decisive fourth quarter.  Seniors Kurtis Dimond scored all of his team-leading 12 points in the first half.  Senior Colton Bahling remained consistent with 11 points.  Senior Alex Hernandez, continuing to find more minutes as a tenacious defender and deadly sharpshooter, knocked down 7.  Senior Ron Paris was typically strong in the paint for his 9 and senior Ryan McKnight added 3 points from the line while directing traffic on the court and during critical inbounds plays.  In limited action while rounding back into game shape, senior Tyler Lass added 7 points.  Sophomore Austin Revolinski, whose all-court game and fire in the belly are attracting attention throughout the conference, added 4 points.

McHenry was no match for the Bucs in a game more lopsided than the final score.  On cruise control throughout the game, the balanced scoring from its deep rotation and superior athleticism provided a breather before the tournament resumes on Monday with games against Deerfield (11:00 a.m.) and Johnsburg (6:30 p.m.).  Junior Deante Barnes led the Bucs with 10 points followed by Junior Eric Munoz who hit on two 3s on the way to 9.  The balanced scoring going deep into the rotation included senior Kurtis Dimond (7) , senior Ron Paris (7), sophomore Austin Revolinski (7), senior Colton Bahling (5), senior Alex Hernandez (2), senior Tyler Lass (2), and senior Dominicke Gayles (2).

After the Bucs complete their run for the title of this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. tournament on Monday, they return to conference action on Jan. 23 as they travel to Guilford (7 p.m.).

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.