Geneva senior sharpshooter Morgan Seberger shook hands after the Vikings' 63-56 win at St. Charles East Saturday with a rather heavily wrapped right hand.
Luckily for the Vikings that right hand -- Seberger's shooting hand -- felt fine during the game despite a cut she suffered in the first half.
Seberger poured in a game-high 20 points. She scored 10 points in each half, and she came out of the locker room after halftime to take some extra shots and make sure she could shoot with the tape.
"Once you hit one shot you just have that mentality that when you are on you are on and you just want to keep shooting and hitting shots," Seberger said.
St. Charles East (10-13, 3-6) gave Geneva (15-5, 6-2) a much better game than their first Upstate Eight Conference River Division matchup last month. For three quarters the Saints matched Geneva pretty much shot for shot, and even at the four-minute mark of the fourth pulled within 53-50 on Kyra Washington's jumper in the lane.
Janie McCloughan pushed Geneva's lead to 55-50, then on a key sequence the Vikings grabbed 4 offensive rebounds on a possession that ended with an Abby Novak basket.
Grace Loberg kicked out to Seberger on Geneva's next trip, and Seberger buried her fourth 3-pointer for a 60-50 lead with 2:46 left. The Saints didn't get closer than 6 points again.
"Morgan played a great game," Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. "Her stroke looked nice.
"They (St. Charles East) played hard. They just work hard, they are a scrappy team. I told the kids this is a team that can outwork you if you let them. We're struggling on the defensive side. We have some work to do."
Four Saints reached double figures: Washington with 16 points including four 3-pointers, Claussner with 15 points, and Chloe John and Hannah Nowling both with 10 points.
"It was a nice game," said Saints coach Lori Drumtra, who pointed to Geneva's rebounding and a couple execution breakdowns as the two keys. "I was proud of how they came out. I was really pleased because we have had some tough games lately, and Geneva can take it to you."
Drumtra said she spent her entire practice Friday preparing for Geneva's press. After turning the ball over on the opening possession, the Saints quickly got a couple easy baskets, and soon after Geneva took its press off.
The teams traded the lead 10 times with 6 ties. St. Charles East used a 9-0 run in the first quarter to take its biggest lead at 14-6. Claussner penetrated for consecutive baskets, then Washington drained a 3.
Geneva struck right back with a 13-2 surge of its own to go back in front, 19-16. Neither team led by more than 3 points the rest of the half, which ended with the Vikings ahead 29-28.
It was more of the same in a tightly contested third quarter. Sidney Santos scored 5 points in a 12-2 run that put Geneva ahead 43-35.
Claussner made 2 free throws, had a breakaway layup off a steal, Nowling made 2 free throws, Washington hit a 3 and finally John swished a jumper to bring the Saints within 48-46 heading to the fourth quarter.
"We played a good team down to the wire," Drumtra said. "I told the girls, 'If that's what you give me every game, I'll sleep well.' It took us awhile to play without Amanda (4-year starting point guard Amanda Hilton, out with a knee injury) but especially Katie has started to take over that spot, and Kyra is playing better. I can't take those two off the court. And we're getting contributions from other people."
Loberg joined Seberger in double figures for Geneva with 13 points to go with 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Santos and McCloughan both added 9 points.