STREATOR — In rivalry games, like Wednesday night's nonconference contest between Ottawa and Streator here at Pops Dale Gymnasium, it's a sure bet that no matter the team's records, the game will provide many momentum changes and scoring surges by both teams.
The latest chapter of the Pirates and Bulldogs tussle on the hardwood was true to form.
Streator jumped out to an early first-quarter lead, only to see Ottawa storm back to hold a two-point advantage at the intermission. The Pirates extended their cushion to seven heading to the fourth, but a huge 11-0 run by the Bulldogs helped them snap a seven-game losing streak to their neighbors to the north with a 45-40 victory in front the fantastic crowd on hand.
"While we hope everything with Ottawa High School is OK with regards to the flooding, it was nice to get a home game and we felt we needed to take advantage of that," said Streator coach Beau Doty in reference to Wednesday night's game being reschedule to Streator. "In recent history with playing Ottawa (Streator having lost 22 of the last 25 meetings since 2006), we haven't been able to get over the hump against them. We have played them tougher over at Kingman and they have kind of had their way with us here at Pops. Tonight is a testament to our seniors ... We were down nine midway in the third, but they just found a way to earn the win tonight.
"This is a great rivalry game and it's nice to get a win and make it more of that."
Ottawa (14-11) held a 39-32 lead after junior Wyatt Hill's third triple of the game splashed through the net with 4 minutes, 42 seconds left to play. However, Bulldogs' senior Mitch Vickers fueled the aforementioned game-changing spurt by netting eight of his game-high 22 points to turn the five-point deficit to a 43-39 lead with just over a minute to play. The Pirates came up empty on a trio of possessions in the final 60 seconds, while Vickers capped his solid night with two free throws with 28 seconds remaining.
"We did a lot of things in that fourth quarter that cause you to lose basketball games," said Ottawa coach Mark Cooper. "We put their best free-throw shooter at the line too much, didn't clean up defensive rebounds on missed free throws and offensively we turned the ball over. We needed to be a little bit better if we were going to come out here on the road tonight and get a win."
Streator, which hit 7-of-15 from the floor compared to Ottawa meshing just 1-of-10, scored the game's initial seven points and rolled to a 17-4 first-quarter lead. The Pirates began the second frame on a 15-1 run, sparked by Myles Tucker netting 10 of his team-high 13 markers for the game. A three-point play by Streator's Noah Mascal stopped the streak, but a triple by Kendall Brent and free throw by Joey Owens in the final minute had the visitors up 23-21 at the break.
"Ottawa's ball pressure in the middle two quarters really gave us problems," Doty said. "We thought they would come out and establish that in the first quarter and I know Coop was urging them to do that. We were able to really run our offense in those opening eight minutes, but they took a lot of that away to start the second."
The third stanza saw the teams trade baskets with Hill posting eight points, including a pair of treys, to offset five points from Vickers.
With Ottawa up 36-29 to start the final quarter, a drive from Joey Byers (six points, nine rebounds) and free throw from Wes Jolly (seven points, 11 rebounds) cut things to four (36-32), before the Pirate's final field goal of the game — Hill's 3 from well beyond the arc — started the Bulldogs on their surge.
"Even though we are in different leagues right now this is still a rivalry game that both communities take pride in," Cooper said. "We didn't guard very hard in the first quarter, but in the second and third quarters we did a better job of that. The second quarter we started being a little more disruptive, caused some turnovers and were able to score in transition which helped us get a lead, but we just weren't able to hold on to it late."
Streator 45, Ottawa 40
(Key: FG-FGA FT-FTA TP)
OTTAWA (40) — Tucker 6-16 0-2 13, Hill 4-13 0-0 11, K. Brent 1-9 2-2 5, Evola 1-4 0-1 2, Carson 2-3 3-5 8, Gould 0-3 0-0 0, Owens 0-0 1-2 1, R. Brent 0-0 0-0 0, Stevenson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-48 6-13 40.
STREATOR (45) — Vickers 6-14 8-8 22, Byers 3-6 0-2 6, Benckendorf 0-6 0-0 0, N. Mascal 2-5 2-3 6, Jolly 2-8 3-7 7, M. Benning 1-2 1-2 4, Telford 0-0 0-0 0, G. Mascal 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-42 14-22 45.
Ottawa (14-11) 4 19 13 4 — 40
Streator (18-8) 17 4 8 16 — 45
3-point goals — Ottawa 6-22 (Tucker 1-7, Hill 3-8, K. Brent 1-3, Evola 0-2, Carson 1-1, Gould 0-1); Streator 3-14 (Vickers 2-6, Byers 0-1, Benckendorf 0-4, M. Benning 1-2, G. Mascal 0-1). Rebounds — Ottawa 34 (Carson 7, Hill 6); Streator 36 (Jolly 11, Byers 9). Assists — Ottawa 9 (K. Brent 3); Streator 4 (Benckendorf 2). Steals — Ottawa 8 (Tucker 3, K. Brent 3); Streator 5 (Vickers 3). Blocks — Ottawa 2 (Carson 2); Streator 4 (Byers 2, N. Mascal 2). Turnovers — Ottawa 14; Streator 14. Total fouls (none fouled out) — Ottawa 18, Streator 13.