Nate Navigato sat on the bench for the final 12:26 on Saturday night.
The Geneva junior had done all he needed to do by then.
Navigato scored 23 points in the first half and watched his teammates take care of the final quarter and a half in a 78-45 Upstate Eight crossover boys basketball rout of host South Elgin.
“My teammates gave me open shots and I was able to hit,” said Navigato, who went 9-for-11 in the first half. “It’s just awesome to see the ‘White’ team, who does so much for us, get some playing time and score.”
Big scoring halves are not unusual for Navigato. He scored 33 points in the second half of the Vikings’ 65-61 victory over Bloomington on Dec. 13. On Saturday, Navigato finished with 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting. He hit 4 3-pointers and added 6 rebounds.
“Nate came out on fire, just absolutely on fire,” Geneva coach Phil Ralston said. “This is probably one of the best halves of basketball I’ve seen him play yet.”
South Elgin (12-14) was within 6, 18-12, with a minute to play in the first quarter. Navigato had a layup at the first-quarter buzzer to make it 20-12. That basket started a 24-2 run, which included Navigato scoring 13 points, as the Vikings (21-5) took a 42-14 lead. South Elgin’s Matt Smith hit a 3-pointer with 15 seconds remaining to make it 42-17 at halftime.
The Storm was just 2-for-14 from the floor and had 5 turnovers. in the second quarter
“We were playing from behind right from the beginning of the game. We have to be able to execute every possession when you’re playing from behind,” Storm coach Matt Petersen said.
The Vikings led by as many as 34 points, 59-25, in the third quarter as the substitutes got ample playing time. Twelve different players scored for Geneva, which also outrebounded the Storm, 50-20, including grabbing 19 offensive rebounds.
Justin Durante added 9 points for the Vikings. Chris Parrilli finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds.
Smith hit 4 3-pointers to finish with 12 points. Matt McClure also had 12 points, 10 coming in the fourth quarter, for the Storm.