Geneva's boys basketball players enjoying a postgame pizza after knocking off Elgin 67-65 in overtime Saturday night didn't want center Connor Chapman to have any.
Maybe they were afraid he'd dominate the pizza eating in the same manner he ate up the Maroons.
Chapman poured in a career-high 31 points, including 8 in overtime, to help host Geneva (8-1, 1-1) bounce back with an Upstate Eight River Division victory after suffering its first loss of the season the night before at St. Charles East.
It didn't matter whether Chapman backed his way into the basket, spun toward from it the top of the key, or slashed to it wide open on backdoor screens, Elgin had no way to stop him.
Chapman made 12 of his 16 shot attempts and single-handedly countered Elgin's prolific outside shooting.
Elgin (4-3, 1-1) bagged 12 3-pointers, with 5 coming from guard Arie Williams (team-high 26 points), one night after he wiped out Streamwood with a 20-point second quarter in which he canned 6 treys and had 7 for the game.
"Their team wasn't too big so I was just trying to cut through the lane and they were switching a lot, so I had a lot of mismatches and was able to get some easy layups," Chapman said.
"We wanted to pound it inside because they had only one real big guy (Eric Sedlack), so the emphasis was definitely getting the ball into the paint."
The game was in doubt until the final buzzer when Williams tried to tie the score by driving the lane, but he lost control of the ball, which found its way out to Malik Parham-Dunner, who launched a 3-pointer that fell short as time expired.
Elgin played the overtime session without center Sedlack, who fouled out with 58 seconds left in regulation. The loss of Sedlack gave Chapman free reign inside, and he took advantage with 4 baskets right at the rim to give his team a 66-61 cushion with just over a minute left.
Williams pulled Elgin back within a point after sinking 4 straight free throws, but Geneva's Pat McCaffrey made 1 of 2 free throws with 14.9 seconds left for the 2-point lead that would hold.
"I made a mistake in overtime in putting Ryan (Sitter) on Chapman because he's our best defender, but I should have put someone else on him and let Ryan play center field and help-side defense," Elgin coach Mike Sitter said. "We kind of lost that when I put him on Chapman.
"He's a load and we knew that coming in," Sitter said of Chapman. "We wanted to stop him from going over his left shoulder, and we didn't do that, and we wanted to stop him from getting second shots, and we didn't do that."
Geneva led most of the contest and was on the verge of running Elgin out of the gym when McCaffrey scored a layup for a 32-19 lead late in the second quarter. But Elgin scored the next 9 points as Williams sank 3 free throws after being fouled while hoisting a 3-pointer, Sitter knocked down a trey and Williams hit a step-back 3. McCaffrey (9 points) flipped in a floating shot in the lane to give Geneva a 34-28 halftime lead.
Elgin hit 4 3-pointers in the third quarter, two of them from Isaiah Butler (14 points), who also nailed a pullup jumper at the buzzer to tie the score at 43-43 entering the final quarter.
Elgin took its first lead of the night at 49-47 on a Butler trey, but Chapman scored 7 points in a two-minute stretch to give the Vikings a 54-52 edge. He also tied the score at 56-56 with two free throws with 58 seconds left.
Geneva dodged a bullet at the end of regulation when Elgin's William Gibson drove in the lane but missed his game-winning layup attempt, and Butler flew in for a tip-in attempt that also rolled out before Nate Navigato snared the rebound at the buzzer.
"I give a tremendous amount of credit to Elgin, they just hit some really tough shots," Geneva coach Phil Ralston said. "We were sitting on a comfortable lead for a while and we need to get better at defending that, but I give our kids a lot of credit, too, coming off the tough and emotional loss last night."
Ralston said the mental edge of his players kicked in when the game got tight. "They really made some good plays tonight," Ralston said. "It was nice to see our guys have the resolve and to stay mentally tough. That was a really good sign for our team tonight."
Geneva had a slight edge on the boards at 20-17, while Chapman's high percentage shots helped the Vikings hit 26 of 49 shots for 53 percent. Elgin made 18 of 43 for 41 percent from the floor.
A night after careless ballhandling in St. Charles, Geneva made only 12 turnovers in the game, and only one each in the fourth quarter and overtime.