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Article updated: 12/27/2013 8:43 PM
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After easy win, Geneva turns focus to Neuqua
 

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After easy win, Geneva turns focus to Neuqua

Coaches prefer looking ahead to the next game rather than reflecting upon what has already happened.

A few minutes after watching his team's 63-35 victory over Hubbard in Friday's second round of the 48th annual East Aurora Holiday Basketball Tournament, Geneva coach Phil Ralston talked about Saturday's upcoming showdown with defending tourney champion Neuqua Valley (10-2).

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"It's a big game for a number of reasons and not just the tournament and a chance to play in the championship which doesn't happen very often," said Ralston, whose team raised its record to 10-3. "It would be our first chance to play for a championship in the East Aurora tournament.

"Then you look at the sectional complex and that it's an in-conference rival," added the coach. "You want to play well in those games."

Against Hubbard (2-8), the Vikings scored the game's first 11 points and grabbed a 16-2 lead late in the opening quarter.

Geneva extended its lead to as many as 20 in the second quarter thanks in part to the play of senior guard Justin Durante.

Durante, who finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds, filled out the first-half stat sheet with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 assists.

"He did a lot of really nice things in this game not just offensively but defensively as well," said Ralston. "He was on the glass at both ends -- maybe a little better than some our posts. He had three or four great drives to the basket right out of our offense."

The pace became a little too helter-skelter for Ralston's liking in the third quarter when the Vikings were outscored 9-7 and committed 7 turnovers.

"We didn't show discipline at times," said Ralston. "We had a chance to really kind of blow the doors open in the game. Instead, we didn't take very good shots. It's hard to say that when you shoot 55 percent from the field (26 of 47) but there were shots that went in that just weren't good shots.

"When you jump out to a big lead like that sometimes it's kind of hard to sustain that level of effort," added the coach, "but I think those little things are the ones that separate good teams with good records from teams that can be great."

Nate Navigato and Loudon Vollbrecht added 14 and 10 points, respectively, for the Vikings while reserve guards Jake Rocks and Jack Dreyer capped off the night with fourth-quarter 3-pointers.

"The guys at the end of our bench they work their tails off," said Ralston. "They're as big a part of any success we have as the ones in the (starting) lineup. Actually I thought their shots were probably some of the better shots we had in the entire game."

Ben Stahl and Sean Kloubec also added late baskets for the Vikings, who are looking for their first tournament title since 2008 (at DeKalb).

"We're really looking forward to it," Durante said of facing a Neuqua Valley team that has won 8 consecutive games. "We've been prepping for this game for a week now. This is a big game for us."

Deonte McReynolds led Hubbard with 17 points.

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