By Bob Kopp

Special correspondent

BELVIDERE – Following the baby Bucs sophomore sweep of their counterparts in a game more lopsided than the final 63-47 on Feb. 5, the Bucs nipped their cross-town rivals 48-47 in an electric evening that had no one reaching for Office Depot’s red button: “That was easy!”

Senior basketball and football Buc-killers Ty Berkenpas and Kevin Tevebaugh took it to the Bucs early and often as two of the NIC-10’s most steady and deadly sharpshooters.  Berkenpas hit three 3s in the first quarter on his way to 11 points with Tevebaugh knocking down one of his 3s in the quarter on the way to a game-high 17 points.  Startling though not unexpected because of their notorious prowess beyond the arc, North had nine 3s to none for the Bucs.  Do the math!  That statistic was the tale of the tape as North led through most of the evening with its sharpshooters connecting from the outside and the Bucs taking care of business on the inside behind tough senior Bucs Ron Paris who led the Bucs with 15 points, Kurtis Dimond (10), Tyler Lass (6), and emerging all-court presence junior Deante Barnes (9).

While the Bucs came into the game striving to rise above the best of the rest behind Auburn in the conference with experienced consistency and command from coaches and team-oriented role players, stalwart perimeter players like seniors Colton Bahling, Ryan McKnight, and Alex Hernandez complemented by the multi-dimensional and gritty sophomore Austin Revolinski, the game came down to the inside game of the Bucs versus the outside game of North.  With one point deciding the outcome, it was that close as both teams dominated the other with their strengths.

With a packed house punctuated by jousting student sections and purple and gold clashing with blue and red, the final four minutes of the game went back and forth before Barnes dropped a bucket with 1:27 left on the clock to close out the scoring at 48-47.  The rest of the game was fast to frenetic with the big men of the Bucs sealing the paint and perimeter defenders checking those notorious Buc-killers.

The Bucs return to action on Saturday as they travel to state and national powerhouse Auburn at 7  p.m.

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