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Even after 4-of-17 nights, shooters shoot.
If Streamwood senior Jessica Cerda didn't know that after her rough game Tuesday against St. Charles East, her teammates certainly reminded her.
Cerda hit a pair of 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter Wednesday, highlighting a 13-2 Streamwood run that paved the way to its first win at Geneva, 53-45.
That left the Sabres (9-2, 5-1) in quite a different mood than the previous night when they had a 6-game winning streak snapped by Upstate Eight Conference River leader St. Charles East.
"The confidence my team had in me, even after the game (going 4 for 17 Tuesday) I was pretty down but they kept telling me I'm a shooter, I'm going to have off-nights but to keep shooting," said Cerda who made 8 of 14 from the field and 5 of 6 at the line Wednesday. "They had faith in me so I had faith in myself."
Cerda's big night got off to an inauspicious start when she picked up two fouls in the first quarter and sat the final 3:13.
The Sabres still led 10-7 after one quarter as reserve Kimberly Jimenez made the first of two nifty plays to close a quarter, this time finding a hole in the Geneva defense to penetrate and score after Streamwood ran the final minute off the clock.
By halftime Cereda had 8 points but the Sabres trailed 24-23. Geneva (7-5, 3-2) used a 7-0 spurt midway through the second quarter to grab the lead, capped by a Sidney Santos assist to Madeline Dunn and then a couple Santos free throws.
A Santos 3-pointer put the Vikings up 24-21 before Cereda gave the Sabres a boost heading to the locker room with a steal and pass to Deja Moore for a layup just before the buzzer.
"We got a lot of tips which is a good thing," Streamwood coach George Rosner said of his defense. "We tried to throw as many different looks as we could. We didn't stay with one thing, I don't think you can do that against them, they are just too big. We wanted to pressure and not just let them set up in their offense."
The teams traded the lead four times in the third quarter and ended in a 34-34 tie. Cereda hit a pair of jumpers and two free throws for the Sabres while Geneva's Janie McCloughan sparked the Vikings with 4 points.
"We had zero energy tonight and Janie for sure bought the energy we didn't have," Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said of the sophomore who was called up to the varsity Nov. 27. "You can't have one kid playing with it."
For the third straight quarter the Sabres scored just before the buzzer. This time it was again Jimenez making the big play off the bench, driving and drawing a defender, then dishing to Hannah McGlone for a short baseline jumper.
After Ellen Dwyer swished a 3-pointer to put Geneva up 37-34 to start the fourth, Cerda answered with a 3 for the Sabres. Morgan Seberger and Moore traded baskets, then Cereda again connected from 3 to put the Sabres up to stay, 42-39.
Cerda found Moore on an inbounds play out of a timeout for an easy basket and a 5-point lead. Moore followed with a three-point play and a 47-39 lead.
"We were all so hyped," Cerda said. "We were running the floor, we were trying to get everything going and flowing because we knew once we got going we couldn't be stopped."
Geneva closed within four twice, the last time at 49-45 on a strong post move by McCloughan with 2:24 left. But after a McCloughan steal, Santos couldn't get her jumper to fall that would have made it a 2-point game, and the Vikings didn't score again to finish off an 18-of-52 (34 percent) shooting night, 10 for 30 in the second half.
The Sabres countered by making 7 of 10 shots in the final quarter, 19 of 39 (49 percent) in the game to offset Geneva's 37-25 rebounding edge. Cerda led the way with 23 points, McGlone scored 13 and Moore 12.
"Last night we didn't (play well in the fourth), tonight we were much, much better," Rosner said. "We made some nice cuts, backdoors, Jessica got a little hot for us, and we played a real tough fourth quarter. Defensively I thought we were as good as we've been."
Cerda also led Streamwood defensively with 6 steals as they forced 19 Geneva turnovers. McGlone battled the taller Vikings for 9 rebounds.
"It's different because I'm used to being one of the bigger people on the court and today I was just average," McGlone said. "But it's fun going against bigger girls and seeing how you perform against them. We knew they were going to be an inside force so we doubled down when we could."
The Sabres pulled within a game of St. Charles East (6-5, 4-0) in the River while moving ahead of defending champ Geneva.
"It's a great race," Rosner said. "There are a bunch of teams that can beat each other. If you have a bad night you are going to lose. There are strong teams, and it is fun. Makes it good competition to say the least. Anybody can win this thing."
Santos scored all 11 of her points in the first half to lead Geneva. She also grabbed 7 rebounds and had 4 assists.
Sami Pawlak (10 points, 9 rebounds, 6 steals) and McCloughan (10 points, 8 rebounds) also reached double figures for Geneva, which played without starter Kelly Gordon (walking pneumonia). Gordon will be sidelined for at least the next three nights when Geneva plays Naperville Central's JV, DeKalb and Naperville North at the Benet/Naperville North Holiday Tournament.
"We had mismatches all night long and we didn't take advantage of it," Meadows said. "I told them at halftime there was one kid who was equal height to us. We play a game against Montini we look fantastic in (a 58-55 loss Saturday) and we come here and it's just a huge drop. We're inconsistent.
"I feel there's a lot of individuals on our team. When we play together as a team we play a thousand times better. We've got to get back to that."