Boys basketball: Waubonsie Valley ends DeKalb’s giant-killer streak

Treshawn Blissett scores 8 in the 4th, Warriors hold Barbs to 5 in final 8 minutes

DeKalb’s Sean Reynolds steals the ball and heads up court between two Waubonsie Valley players during their game Friday, Dec. 15, 2023, at DeKalb High School.

DeKALB – The DeKalb boys basketball team had been giant slayers of late, knocking off an undefeated United Township team Saturday and Dixon on Tuesday.

With a nine-point lead late in the third quarter against Waubonsie Valley on Friday, the Barbs were poised to run the streak to three games in a row, but Treshawn Blissett and the Warriors had other ideas.

Waubonsive Valley held DeKalb to five points in the fourth quarter, and Blissett scored eight points on the offensive end in the final eight minutes of a 49-45 DuPage Valley Conference win, securing the Warriors’ ninth straight win to start the season.

“Our defense really won us the game in the fourth quarter,” Blissett said. “We were locked in and just started playing as a team. The defense just came together and decided to play harder than the other team.”

The Barbs (7-4, 1-2 DVC) led 36-27 after a steal and layup by Sean Reynolds with 1:44 left in the third quarter.

But less than six minutes later the Warriors (9-0, 3-0) took the lead for the first time since early in the second quarter on a bucket by Blissett. Down 43-42 with 2:09 left the Barbs had the ball, but Blissett stole the ball and slammed it home on the other end, pushing the lead to three.

The Warriors never led by less than that the rest of the way.

“Just get him the ball and let him do something,” Waubonsie Valley coach Andrew Schweitzer said of Blissett. “I think he had a couple of rough patches early on but in that second half ... he took care of business for us on both ends.”

The Barbs had a couple of chances to tie when it was still a 45-42 game. Reynolds missed a long 3 but the defense followed with a stop. The Barbs committed an offensive foul and turned it back over, then the Warriors ran off about 40 seconds before DeKalb started fouling with 39.8 seconds left.

The Barbs trailed 48-45 with the ball in the final 15 seconds, but Jackson Kees’ long 3-pointer was blocked by Moses Wilson and the Warriors escaped with the win.

“We had a decent look on the last play and they kind of got a deflection,” DeKalb coach Mike Reynolds said. “Credit to them, they’re really good and played well. But you have an eight, nine-point lead you’ve got to play better. You got to figure out a way to make some timely baskets and get some easy. We weren’t able to get any easy baskets.”

The Warriors led by as much as four in the first quarter, but DeKalb’s Davon Grant hit a layup with 5:50 left in the second quarter to give the Barbs their first lead of the game at 16-15.

The lead grew to five, but the Warriors got back to waiting 28-27 in the third when Sean Reynolds drained a couple of 3-pointers. The first was fed to him by Grant, who kicked it out of a triple-team. Reynolds knocked down that wide-open shot, then made his second after Kees came up with a steal and outlet pass.

The quarter ended with him going behind the back to Rosenow for a 3 in the closing seconds and a 39-33 DeKalb lead.

Reynolds missed all three of his 3-pointers in the fourth after making his first four.

“They’re long and athletic and give you a lot of fits,” Mike Reynolds said. “But I thought we had two or three open looks that normally go in that didn’t go in. I’ll take responsibility for the offense. We have to continue to work and get better at it. It’s a disappointing end because I thought we competed and played extremely hard.”

Sean Reynolds had a game-high 16, while Blissett and Tyreek Coleman had 15 each for the Warriors. Grant chipped in 11 for the Barbs, with Kees and Eric Rosenow grabbing a team-best five boards each. Coleman had a game-best seven rebounds.

Schweitzer said his team hasn’t really been pushed in the fourth quarter this year and was glad to see them respond Friday.

“In games like this we just need to come together, and that’s what happened,” Blissett said. “We haven’t been down in the fourth quarter I think all season, so it just shows everyone that we can play all four quarters.”

The Barbs, on the other hand, have been in close games in each of their four losses, leading in the fourth quarter of three of them. Mike Reynolds said his team, which started a sophomore, three juniors and a senior, will learn from the close games.

“We’re capable of being really, really good,” Reynolds said. “We lost four games right at the end in all four games. We have to continue to get better and realize it’s Game 11. It’s not Game 31 or 32 or 33, which would be really disappointing then. We just have to use this opportunity as a teaching moment.”