bball1By Bob Kopp

BDR Sports Correspondent

BELVIDERE – No one will out-coach, out-hustle, or out-tough the Bucs as conference play commences at North.

Those are the consistently formidable assets that this year’s edition of Belvidere High School basketball will bring to the court in the NIC-10.

The challenge will be reducing turnovers as Head Coach Aaron Pearson and top assistant Nate Lister search for someone to replace consistent point guard Ryan McKnight and his proficiency in protecting and distributing the rock.  McKnight has matriculated to Monmouth University to play basketball and baseball.

As displayed in the 205 Tip-Off Thanksgiving Classic hosted by Auburn, East, and Guilford High Schools, those assets mean the Bucs can beat anyone and that challenge portends headaches for Pearson and Lister until a young Buc rises to the occasion and takes the wheel.

Playing against stiff multi-state opposition featuring a plethora of D1 prospects and conference, regional, sectional, and state powerhouses, the Bucs finished 2-2 and look poised to take on Auburn, Boylan, and Hononegah for supremacy in the NIC-10 if its challenge can be met to complement its assets.

The Bucs had one of the toughest schedules in the tournament; knocking off South Elgin on Tuesday, Nov. 24 (62-47) before a turnovers-plagued loss to Madison La Follette (70-34) on Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Returning to action on Friday morning, the Bucs overcame a 13-11 deficit in the first quarter and never again trailed in beating Chicago Dunbar (66-58).  Led by juniors Joey Hernandez and Austin Revolinski with 17 points each, the supporting cast included seniors Eric Munoz (13) and Deante Barnes (four) along with juniors Xavier Dent (seven), Will Morris (four), Nate Horton (two), and Jacob Rodriguez two).

Despite losing to undefeated Hyde Park (62-42) as turnovers caught up with the Bucs in the second half, the game was tied at intermission (23-23) with junior Joey Hernandez leading the way with 10 of his 12 points.  Returning first-team all-conference senior Deante Barnes led the Bucs with 15 points and played his best all-around game of the young season.

Rounding out the scoring for the Bucs were senior Eric Munoz (four) and juniors Nate Horton (four), Will Morris (four), and Austin Revolinski (three).

NIC-10 action opened for the Bucs on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at North with tip-off at 7 p.m.

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