2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 12/28/2016 10:37 PM

Geneva downs Hersey to set up semi clash with Montini

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It isn't true that Geneva's girls basketball team is playing against the Huskies every night at the Montini Christmas Tournament.

It only seems that way.

Nearly 24 hours after an 81-46 victory over the Huskies from Oak Park-River Forest, the Vikings knocked off Hersey's Huskies 51-43 during Wednesday night's quarterfinal clash in Lombard.

Senior center Grace Loberg scored 18 points and grabbed 18 rebounds as the Vikings improved to 10-0 and earned their first trip to the Montini tournament semifinals in 4 years. The Vikes, ranked No. 2 in the Daily Herald Top 20, will take on No. 1 Montini at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

"It's so nice," said Loberg, who had 15 points and 7 rebounds in the first half when the Vikings seized a 26-21 advantage. "Every time I've played here, we've lost in the first game. It's really nice to win the first two games for once."

"We've been the 'best of the worst' before (as consolation champions) but I don't think we've ever won the first two games here," said Vikings coach Sarah Meadows.

Hersey (12-2), led by Denver-bound Claire Gritt (16 points, 9 rebounds) and Kelly Weyhrich (14 points), enjoyed a 10-2 run late in the third quarter to turn a 33-27 deficit into a 37-35 lead.

Junior guard Margaret Whitley's jumper tied it at 37-all after 3 quarters, and the Vikings grabbed the lead for good when junior guard Stephanie Hart (10 points) split a pair of free throws in the first 30 seconds of the fourth quarter.

While the Huskies struggled to find the range down the stretch, going 1 of 14 field-goal attempts at one point, the Vikings put the game away at the free-throw line.

Madison Mallory (7 points, 8 rebounds), Lindsay Blackmore, Whitley (8 points) and Hart combined for 10 fourth-quarter free throws for the Vikings.

"They had a little run and we answered," said Meadows. "The only thing I didn't like with us defensively was rebounding. We gave them two, three chances but thank goodness they didn't make them."

Geneva's half-court defense was stingy throughout the game against Hersey's multi-guard attack.

"Our kids talked about what they were going to do and they owned it," said Meadows.

Hersey went more than 6 minutes without a basket while being outscored 14-6 in the fourth quarter.

"I think we played one good quarter," said Huskies coach Mary Fendley. "You can't beat a team as good as Geneva when you play one good quarter."

Montini (13-0) eliminated the Vikings 64-47 in last year's Class 4A sectional finals.

"We're excited for tomorrow," said Meadows.

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