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Is there a Painter in the house?
Why, yes, there was.
Purdue men's basketball coach Matt Painter was at Geneva on Friday, scouting St. Charles East sophomore Kendall Stephens, who scored the winning points in a 52-48 Upstate Eight Conference River Division battle in Geneva.
Stephens would seem a Purdue shoe-in considering his father, Saints assistant Everette Stephens, was a Boilermakers star. But Kendall must weigh offers from Northwestern and Wisconsin -- plus, Duke and Stanford just called St. Charles East coach Brian Clodi about him, Clodi said.
Constant craned necks toward Painter's perch in a top corner of the visitors' stands and a number of fans wearing Purdue garb were no distraction for Kendall.
"It was just a constant reminder to make sure that I'm always playing hard," he said. "It just makes the game fun when you have people of that caliber a coach to come watch you."
Stephens scored only 3 first-half points on the only shot he took.
"I just let the game come to me and the second half I ended up getting more shots," said Stephens, who finished with 13 points.
Following a 3-pointer from Geneva's Dan Hince, who led the Vikings with 15 points, Stephens snapped a 48-48 tie on 2 free throws with 37.1 seconds to play.
Geneva coach Phil Ralston called timeout. Coming out of it St. Charles East guard Spencer Motley stole the ball, was fouled and made a free throw for a 51-48 lead with 18.8 seconds left.
Geneva (7-11, 2-2) missed a drive in the lane, Stephens grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He added a free throw and a Vikings turnover ended it.
As Clodi said, this was a team win for St. Charles East (5-9, 3-1). Point guard Charlie Fisher scored a team-high 15 points, Motley had 3 fourth-quarter steals and 10 points and Dan Ditusa's 2 key 3-pointers helped get the Saints within 37-36 entering the fourth.
"That sparked us to just keep going and come on back," Motley said of Ditusa's baskets.
The Saints' 19-of-26 free throw shooting and 7-of-14 from 3-point land trumped Geneva's 29-13 edge in rebounding, 14-to-1 on the offensive end.
Geneva was hamstrung, however, when early in the fourth quarter leading scorer Dan Trimble collided with teammate Phil Lorenz's knee in a scramble. Trimble, who scored 12 points, was diagnosed with a possible concussion. He sat the rest of the game, and will probably miss Saturday at Quincy.
Geneva committed 8 fourth-quarter turnovers, and Ralston attributed that partially to being tentative without Trimble.
It didn't mean he felt better about the loss.
"The thing that makes me sick is they fought hard enough and the effort was there for them to take the win," Ralston said. "But we didn't execute. That's the part that makes me sick -- it does, it makes me sick that our kids can't triumph over outstanding effort."