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Boys basketball: Mike Rueffer hits game-winner for Batavia

Elgin's Desmond Sanders regains control ball while under pressure from Batavia's Mike Rueffer Tuesday Batavia.  |  Mary Beth

Elgin's Desmond Sanders regains control of the ball while under pressure from Batavia's Mike Rueffer on Tuesday in Batavia. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 17, 2013 6:19AM

Senior guard Mike Rueffer hit the game-winning layup with 3.2 seconds to play as Batavia came from behind to top visiting Elgin 55-54 on Tuesday night in Upstate Eight River play.

Elgin held its biggest lead of the game late in the third quarter when it went up 43-33, but Batavia put together an 8-0 run and the teams traded baskets the rest of the way to set up an exciting finish.

With the Maroons clinging to a 54-51 lead with under a minute to play, Rueffer pulled up for what would have been the game-tying three-pointer but missed. Zach Strittmatter (16 points) was there to pull down the offensive rebound, and he scored to make it 54-53.

“We set up a play to get the three, and we were just crashing the boards and staying alert and I was in the right place at the right time on that one,” Strittmatter said.

The Bulldogs fouled on the subsequent Maroons possession, sending Eric Sedlack to the line for two. He missed them both and the Bulldogs called a timeout to set up their final play.

The play was supposed to go to Micah Coffey (12 points), but with Arie Williams denying him the ball it wound up in Rueffer’s hands and he redeemed his earlier miss with the game-winner.

“We were going to run another play but they were really crowding Micah, so we just cleared out a side for Mike and he would gladly accept that challenge each and every time,” Batavia coach Jim Nazos said.

Added Rueffer, “That was a rough shot on the three-point attempt and I knew as soon as I shot it, but luckily Zach was there to get the rebound and then we got a chance to win it at the end.”

Batavia was coming off a pair of 20-plus point victories in the past 10 days, but for Elgin it was its first game since losing to rival Larkin in the championship game of the Elgin Holiday Tournament back on December 29.

“The loss had nothing to do with the layoff,” Elgin coach Mike Sitter said. “We were fresh, we had a chance to fine-tune things and we looked sharp offensively all night. It’s just a matter of free throws and defensive stops down the stretch.”

Elgin did look sharp on the offensive end, shooting 18-for-42 from the field, including 9-for-17 from beyond the arc.

Once again it was Williams who carried the offensive load for Elgin, as he scored a game-high 32 points and hit on 7-of-9 attempts from beyond the arc.

Williams picked up his fourth foul with 45 seconds to go in the third quarter, but remained in the game the rest of the way and managed to keep from fouling out. However, he went without a field goal in the fourth, hitting 5-of-6 from the line.

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