Geneva coach Phil Ralston said he repeatedly urged his Vikings to "make your own magic happen." Instead St. Charles East pulled a crucial victory out of its hat.
Held to 2 points through regulation play Friday, guard Dom Adduci scored 10 points in two overtime periods in the Saints' 58-53 double-overtime victory.
Dropping host Geneva to 15-5 overall and 6-3 in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division, St. Charles East (13-7, 6-2) pulled within a half-game of idle 7-2 Larkin.
"One thing I love is that no matter what happens we're always in the hunt to win and we believe we can win," said Saints coach Patrick Woods. "There's certain plays that happen where kids (could) hang their head and kind of crawl into a hole, and we just kept going at it no matter what happened."
Take the last minute of the first overtime. Geneva's Kyle Brown kept the ball alive with a pair of offensive rebounds, setting up a Nate Navigato 3 from the left corner for a 46-43 Vikings lead with 54 seconds remaining in overtime.
"I knew there was time," said Navigato, who scored 17 points to lead the Vikings, ahead of 11 by Mike Trimble; Connor Chapman scored 9 before fouling out with 16.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
"I didn't know how much but I knew I had time to get it off. I shot it and it felt like it was in the air forever, and it just went in," Navigato said.
The Saints' newest scoring option, sophomore Jake Asquini, responded 18 seconds later by canning a 3 that delivered double-overtime tied 46-46.
"Cole (Gentry) found me and I hit that shot," said Asquini, whose team-high 19 points with five 3s followed his 11 points in Thursday's win over Streamwood. "It was a just a great pass. It was an awesome feeling once that went in. It was sweet."
As was Adduci's redemption. Pestered into 1-of-6 shooting through four quarters by Geneva guards Chris Parrilli and Pace Temple, Adduci was among three Saints to miss the front end of 1-and-1 free throw chances in the last 1:09 of regulation.
Adduci found his footing with a pair of free throws in the first overtime. In the second he grabbed a long rebound and put it back in then followed with a steal and 2 more free throws for a 50-48 Saints lead. Navigato tied with 2 free throws, but Adduci's 3 from the left side, set up by an Asquini offensive rebound, kicked off a crushing 8-0 run.
"When they tied it up I knew that in overtime I needed to just commit to make free throws, shoot shots," said Adduci, whose 12 points followed Asquini and Gentry, with 13. "I hit some big shots in both overtimes so that really got my confidence going and I knew I really need to pick up my team because I let them down in the fourth."
The game had a unique start. St. Charles East led 14-3 early in the second quarter while Geneva missed its first 11 field goal attempts. Then the Vikings made 5 straight and went on to lead 19-17 at halftime.
"I thought our kids did a lot of things well tonight," Ralston said, "but we've got so much room for improvement."