When you get open as often as Geneva's cutters were Friday night against St. Charles East, it's nice to have a teammate like Sidney Santos holding the ball.
Santos displayed her high basketball IQ all night, repeatedly finding open teammates under the basket. The senior finished with 10 assists to go with 14 points and 4 blocked shots, and Geneva got one high percentage shot after another in a convincing 60-38 victory over St. Charles East.
"Sidney is such a great passer the kids know she's going to get them the ball," Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. "She does such a nice job from the high post."
Geneva (6-2, 1-1) bounced back from a loss at Batavia last Friday in its Upstate Eight Conference River opener.
St. Charles East (4-5, 1-1) fell in an early 10-2 and never fully recovered, though the Saints did pull within 25-23 late in the second quarter. Geneva answered with a 10-0 run to close the first half ahead 35-23 and a 10-2 surge to start the second half, opening a 45-25 lead and taking away any suspense for the fourth quarter.
"We really looked for the diagonal cuts from the high to low," Geneva junior Janie McCloughan said. "When we unite as a team and get our passes down that's when we are at our best. I think we excelled at that tonight. We were for the most part getting the best shots we could."
McCloughan opened the scoring for Geneva, and after finding Abby Novak for a basket, Santos got on the board with a layup off Novak's steal and assist as the Vikings took command early. They led 14-8 after one quarter and were ahead 23-15 in the second before the best stretch of the game for the Saints that included a 3-pointer from Kyra Washington and Amanda Hilton's 3-point play.
McCloughan and Santos both scored 4 points in Geneva's 10-0 burst to end the first half. The Saints were their own worst enemy, making just 7 of 16 free throws in the first half and 12 of 25 for the game.
"You just kind of shake your head," Saints coach Lori Drumtra said. "Girls came in yesterday at 6:30 in the morning. It's not like we don't practice these things. It's very frustrating."
McCloughan got stronger as the game went on, scoring 11 of her game-high 19 points in the second half. She took advantage of her height when guarded by the Saints' Katelyn Claussner.
"We saw that mismatch all night," Meadows said. "Jaine read that and she's going to attack the basket."
Novak added 7 points and 9 rebounds, Madeline Dunn scored 6 off the bench and Meadows praised Michaela Loebel's rebounding and her defense against Hilton.
"Especially coming off a loss against Batavia we needed to come into this game meaning business and I think we got that done," McCloughan said. "It is definitely a confidence boost."
The Vikings held the Saints to single digits in three of the four quarters. St. Charles East made just 12 of its 42 field goal attempts (28.5 percent) and was outrebounded 39-23.
Hilton led the Saints with 16 points and Hannah Nowling scored 9.
"There's not really one facet of this game we did better than they did," Drumtra said.