Basketball pic
By Bob Kopp
BDR Sports Correspondent
BELVIDERE – When Head Coach Aaron Pearson came to Belvidere almost a decade ago, he declared a goal of making basketball as popular and renowned as football.
After leading Belvidere to its first NIC-10 crown in 2012-2013, Pearson and top assistant Nate Lister continue to build on the increasingly notorious reputation of the Bucs as a team that cannot be out-coached, out-hustled, or out-toughed with a convincing sweep of the Class 3A Regional Playoffs that was punctuated with a 63-55 win over Genoa-Kingston in Friday’s final.
It is Belvidere basketball’s first Regional Championship in 26 years.
Let me repeat that with an exclamation point.
It is Belvidere basketball’s first Regional Championship in over a quarter of a century!
Led by senior Deante Barnes’ 19 points, the game featured a developing team chemistry to match its coaching, hustling, and Buc-tough game that is coming together at just the right time of the year.
While Cogs D1 prospect senior Tommy Lucca played his typically smart and explosive game – a game-leading 36 points including 18-20 from the foul line and four bombs that were closer to half-court than the arc – Pearson and Lister designed a defense that held the rest of the-favorites-on-paper-but-the-game-is-played-on-the-court to Barnes’ points total of 19.
Junior Austin Revolinski added 13 points with scoring completed by junior Nate Horton (10), who made a key steal in the closing seconds to thwart any hope of a comeback by the Cogs, senior Eric Munoz (seven), and juniors Austin Brockmann (eight), Xavier Dent (four), and Will Morris (two).
With seedings and pairings forthcoming, Sectional action tips off on Tuesday with the final scheduled for Friday at host Woodstock North High School.
The Belvidere Daily Republican has been covering action all year and boldly predicted this run at the beginning of the season and after the close loss to Jefferson on Feb. 12: “Scouts for the post-season will be warning anyone that they better put on their big-boy pants if they are unfortunate enough to draw Belvidere in the playoffs.”
Considering the personnel, the prospects for sectional action are positive.
Having watched most of these players for almost twelve years, I have a few words of encouragement.
Senior Deante Barnes: “You were first-team all-conference last year and should be this year. When your motor is running, you are a D1 player who has a higher ceiling than anyone in the NIC-10. Turn heads now!”
Senior Eric Munoz: “Steady, cowboy! Take care of the rock and know no one can out-muscle you!”
Senior Matt Kopp: “Read what is written to the sophomores below.”
Junior Austin Revolinski: “Already a lock for first-team all-conference and NIC-10 MVP consideration, you can secure an all-state spot in sectional action.”
Junior Nate Horton: “Ain’t nobody quicker on the court and you’ve turned your highlights into game-winning production.”
Junior Xavier Dent: “Nobody can stop you in the paint – scoring or rebounding.”
Junior Will Morris: “You are a steady scorer and tenacious defender; most notably shutting down Marengo’s hot-shot-shooting senior Zach Knobloch.”
Junior Austin Brockmann: “You are the most improved player on the team and have become the missing ingredient to an efficient as well as explosive offense.”
Junior Joey Hernandez: “Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Your love for the game and team-first attitude is contagious.”
Junior Jacob Rodriguez: “At the beginning of the season, we talked about needing you to step up at point; and you’re doing it. You are getting better every game.”
Sophomores Brady Hauser, Dominic Dozel, Phil Kolk, Shawn Dean, and Sam Arco: “You were brought up because you played well in sophomore games this year and to get ready to build upon the increasingly renowned Belvidere High School basketball tradition. Take a tip from injured senior Matt Kopp. It’s not only about playing time. It’s about making practice as tough as possible for starters, encouraging, instructing, supporting, and team.”
The future has arrived for Belvidere High School basketball.

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