In both teams' final tune up before the postseason, patience was the name of the game for the visiting Geneva Vikings and the host Bartlett Hawks in the boys basketball fourth-place Upstate Eight Conference crossover action on Friday night.
There were few turnovers, 12 combined, but it was the play of Geneva sophomore Nate Navigato, who led the Vikings to a 36-34 win over the Hawks.
Navigato had a game-high 23 points and grabbed 6 rebounds, and he was one of the keys for the Geneva (19-8) zone defense which held Bartlett senior Lance Whitaker to just 7 points.
"Two-thirds of our points, I think that's pretty impressive," Vikings' coach Phil Ralston said of Navigato's performance.
Navigato, who hit a game-high four 3-pointers, had 7 points in the first quarter as Geneva took the largest lead of the game right away at 9-1.
The Hawks (19-9) rallied to pull to 9-6 by the end of the first quarter and took an 18-17 lead by halftime behind an 8-point half from Marcus Aluquin, who finished with a team-high 11 points including three 3s.
Neither team led by more than 2 points in the second half, and Navigato tallied all 10 of Geneva's third quarter points as the Vikings pulled even at 27-27 heading into the fourth.
"I felt like I was taking the same amount of shots as usual, but I guess I just felt it tonight," Navigato said.
Jon Moss (8 points) hit a trey and Whitaker split a pair of free throws for Bartlett's final lead of the game, 31-29, with 5:14 left to play. An Aluquin steal led to a Moss layup at 2:48 on the clock for a 34-34 tie but Chris Parrilli put the final points of the game on the board from the line 14 seconds later.
Geneva was unable to seal the win from the line going 0-for-5 in the final minutes, but the Vikings kept the Hawks from getting any good looks.
"Geneva played really well, and we left (Navigato) open and he made plays," said Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith. "We had some jump shots that just didn't fall tonight."
Whitaker had a game-high 9 rebounds as Bartlett edged Geneva 28-26 on the boards. Connor Chapman had 9 points and a team-high 7 rebounds for the Vikings, and Mike Trimble added 6 rebounds.
Geneva is the 12-seed in the Class 4A Wheaton Warrenville South regional and will face the host, which is a 21-seed, on Monday. Bartlett is the 7-seed in the York Regional and will face either No. 10 Leyden or No. 23 West Chicago on Wednesday.
"We wanted to use this as a springboard into next week," Ralston said. "Anytime you keep a team going for its 20th win to 34 points, that's pretty good."