2016-'17 Season Coverage
updated: 3/7/2014 11:24 PM

Geneva stuns Bolingbrook with late rally

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By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

The postseason drought is over for Geneva.

The Vikings' boys basketball team scored more points in the final quarter -- 34 -- than it could muster in the opening three quarters combined against third-seeded Bolingbrook at the Class 4A Plainfield East regional.

Geneva, the No. 6 seed, could only watch nervously as Prentiss Nixon uncorked a 30-footer at the buzzer Friday night in Plainfield.

The ball hit the backboard, then the rim and bounced innocuously to the floor to preserve the Vikings' 66-63 victory.

Geneva (24-5) captured its first regional championship since 1986 in overcoming a 15-point third-quarter deficit.

Bolingbrook bowed out at 21-6.

"We were here (in a regional final last year against West Aurora at Wheaton Warrenville South) and lost it," said Geneva guard Pace Temple, who matched Nixon for game-scoring honors with 24 points. "We just never stopped believing."

Temple scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, and his lay-in off a feed from Mike Landi capped an 11-0 run that gave the Vikings their first lead since late in the first quarter, 54-53.

Nate Navigato was also tremendous for the Vikings in money time.

The junior forward scored 10 of his 16 points in the final quarter.

More important, he set the tone with a steal that galvanized the team as Bolingbrook was flustered by the Vikings' three-quarters-court press employed in the waning minutes.

"(Bolingbrook) put the ball right in front of me, and I just tried to make a play -- and I did," Navigato said. "It was a hard matchup for us. Their whole team is great players. We just came back, shot our free throws and made them."

Navigato made 6 free throws, including the final two with 2.4 seconds to play, over the last 74 seconds.

"I thought we put a little pressure on them with our press," Geneva coach Phil Ralston said. "They kind of panicked. When (Bolingbrook) went into panic mode, our kids kind of capitalized on it. It was almost like a tidal wave. You could see that the flow was moving back to us."

There were still several tense moments for Geneva to dodge.

None was greater than Gage Davis' slashing score with 41 seconds to play.

Fouled on the play, Davis was unable to forge a tie.

Navigato was fouled chasing the subsequent miss, and he not only made both free throws but also scored twice after going backdoor with Bolingbrook in an all-out-turnover-seeing mode.

"It's a tough pill to swallow right now," Bolingbrook coach Rob Brust said. "I don't know if we got rattled by (the Vikings' pressure defense). We just didn't convert on it."

Chris Parrilli added 14 points for Geneva.

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