After watching his team squander a 15-point lead during a third-quarter stretch against East Aurora Tuesday night, Geneva basketball coach Phil Ralston was far from pleased but he wasn't about to panic, either.
"I really haven't been too worried about our group this season," said Ralston, whose team fell behind 40-39 after the Tomcats went on a 14-0 run midway through the third quarter. "We've played in some high-pressure games this season. It's not the first time that someone has taken a lead on us, and we've been able to keep our composure.
"It served as kind of a wake-up call for our guys to go back to what we were doing well."
The Vikings (6-4) collected themselves, as Drew White (8 points, 7 rebounds) converted layups on back-to-back possessions and junior Pat McCaffrey canned a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
The 7-0 surge helped put Geneva on top to stay during its 59-53 victory over the Tomcats (1-10) in the opening round of the 46th annual East Aurora Holiday Tournament.
Brendan Leahy had a team-high 13 points for the Vikings, who won their third consecutive game. Mark Becker and John Swiderski added 10 and 9 points, respectively.
At times, the Vikings ran their offense effectively, evidenced by their 53 percent field-goal accuracy (20-of-38).
But there were other times when the Tomcats' full-court pressure bothered the Vikings, who committed 18 turnovers.
"Too many turnovers," said Ralston. "The high-percentage shots are great but in this game we were just too sloppy. That was part of their run. We warned our guys that if we turn the ball over, it's going to equal points for them. That's pretty much what happened in the third quarter."
Geneva enjoyed a 14-0 run of its own late in the first quarter and stretching into the second period, fueled by a pair of 3-pointers from Ben Rogers.
The Vikings led 18-9 after one quarter and stretched the lead to as many as 17 at 30-13 midway through the second quarter. Senior point guard Ryan Willing helped set up 3 consecutive easy baskets -- the last 2 on Becker layups.
But Willing got into foul trouble in the second half, as he was whistled for his third and fourth fouls midway through the third quarter.
That meant extended minutes for reserves McCaffrey and Phil Lorenz, who was playing in his first game of the season after suffering a broken finger on his right hand last month.
"That was a lot more than I wanted for Phil tonight," said Ralston. "We just wanted to get his feet wet. It was unfair for us to have to lean on him as much as we did tonight. Pat (McCaffrey) did a nice job, too. It was very tough for both of them in that situation."
Lorenz, who had 4 points and a pair of steals, was happy to contribute.
"I expected to play some and I was ready to play," said Lorenz. "I knew there was going to be a lot of pressure. It was awesome to get out there."
Larry Reynolds had 29 points for East Aurora.
"Larry is a talented basketball player," said Tomcats coach Wendell Jeffries. "Other guys need to fill their roles around him."
Geneva will face Peoria Central at 6 p.m. today.