Playing South Elgin for a second time this month gave Geneva's girls basketball team a chance to see how its season is progressing.
After going to overtime to win the first meeting, Geneva built a commanding 20-point lead in the fourth quarter of a 58-45 victory Friday at the Montini Christmas Tournament.
Geneva (10-3) advances to the consolation championship at 1:15 p.m. Saturday against Zion-Benton, the school who beat the Vikings thee years ago in the Class 4A Barrington supersectional. South Elgin (8-6) plays Proviso West at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
"Just watching film from us playing them last time, I just thought we've gotten so much better in the half-court offense. We were throwing the ball all over the place (last time)," said Geneva coach Sarah Meadows, who also shifted from a man to 1-2-2 defense.
The Vikings' roster also has a couple notable changes from the earlier game. Point guard Michaela Loebel is sidelined with a knee injury now while freshman Grace Loberg has been called up from the JV team.
Loberg stared once again Friday. The 6-foot-2 freshman has now led Geneva in scoring each of her five games on varsity. She played well on both ends with 19 points, 8 rebounds, 8 blocked shots and 3 steals on 9-of-13 shooting from the field.
"She's so much stronger than I originally gave her credit for," Meadows said. "There's three kids on her and she's still ripping the ball out and being able to finish. She's a stud. That's what I said to her today. She's playing huge minutes and performing night in and night out. She hasn't had a bad game yet. And she's a freshman."
Loberg scored 12 of Geneva's first 14 points making all six of her shots. The Vikings erased South Elgin's early 9-6 lead with a 12-0 run.
Sidney Santos and Kate Rogers capped the first quarter with 3-pointers for a 21-15 lead.
For the second straight year, Santos has shifted from the post to point guard with Loebel out of the lineup.
"Of course we miss Michaela, she's such a huge aspect of our team," Santos said. "We are more prepared because it happened last year. We just jumped right to it."
Santos is quickly finding chemistry with Loberg, feeding her inside time and again Friday.
"It's so much fun," Santos said. "I trust Grace so much. I know if I get it up to her she'll make the catch and put it in. She has such great body control and patience."
The Storm made 6 of 12 from beyond the arc in the first half yet still trailed 34-25 at halftime. Abby Novak hustled to take a rebound away and then fed Janie McCloughan for a basket as Geneva outrebounded the Storm 35-25.
"We were not able to execute inside with their height," Storm coach Tim Prendergast said. "It was a problem. We never got in a flow or rhythm. A lot of time you hear, what's better, height or quickness? This afternoon height was definitely the deciding factor."
The Vikings led 47-33 after three quarters and pushed their lead to as much as 54-34 in the fourth on another assist from Novak to McCloughan.
Santos and Novak both scored 10 points. McCloughan had 9 points and 6 rebounds.
Savanah Uveges and Anna Tracy scored 13 points to lead South Elgin. Uveges also had 7 steals.
"They had more height and their height stretches us out a little more," Prendergast said of the difference in the two games with Geneva. "With their height they are probably smart not to play man because our quickness could benefit from that. I felt we were quicker than they were but we weren't able to exploit that."