After four days and a 2-2 record at the 47th annual East Aurora Boys Basketball Holiday Tournament, Geneva coach Phil Ralston got just what he wanted.
"Obviously we would have liked to have been 3-1 or 4-0 but we are certainly battle tested and we'll be ready for our conference opponents in January," he said.
Saturday the Vikings defeated Upstate Eight Conference crossover foe East Aurora 57-54 to take fifth place in the eight-team tournament. All-Tournament selection Nate Navigato led Geneva with 22 points and 8 rebounds, while Connor Chapman added 16 points and Mike Trimble knocked in 10.
Geneva (13-3) rallied from a 54-53 deficit after East Aurora's Tyree Willis canned his sixth 3-pointer with 1:13 left to play.
Chapman made a basket and was fouled with 35 seconds left. He missed the free throw but when East Aurora's DeJon Talbert missed on a layup Chapman grabbed the rebound and was fouled again. He sank both free throws with 11 seconds left for the 57-54 final score. East Aurora (3-12) missed two 3-point tries in the last 7 seconds.
Talbert entered Day 4 of the tourney leading all players with a 23.3-point average, but was held without a point on just 6 shots from the floor. Willis led all scorers with 25 points.
"My hat's off to him," Ralston said.
Also to the Geneva defense, which got a pair of Chris Parrilli steals. After allowing the Tomcats to convert 55 percent of their first-half shots for a 30-29 lead, the Vikings tightened up to allow 33 percent in the second half.
"I think that's probably one of the bigger issues behind that game," Ralston said. "And the fact that we shot better than 50 percent in the second half. That was it in a nutshell."
On to 2013.
"This tournament was very good for us as far as gathering data for where we are at," Ralston said. "Obviously we would like to see where we would be if we were at full strength, but for what we have we know we're probably just a notch below where we think Neuqua is and where a team like Peoria Central is. We think that we have the capability of taking that next step."
Belvidere North 48, Aurora Central Catholic 46: In the seventh-place game at East Aurora, 2 free throws by Belvidere North's Todd Berkenpas broke a tie score with 27.5 seconds left for the winning margin.
Aurora Central (6-7) led 22-11 midway through the second quarter on an Anthony Andujar 3 pointer. Belvidere North (4-8) countered with a 10-0 run to close the half and it was neck-and-neck from then on.
The Chargers shot 30 percent from the floor to Belvidere North's 35 percent, and were out-rebounded 40-29.
ACC guard Sean Harreld, however, went 4-for-7 all from 3-point range for a team-high 12 points. All-Tournament selection Phil Schuetz scored 10 points with a team-high 7 rebounds before fouling out with 2:02 left in the game. Andujar scored 9 points with 4 assists.