Geneva's girls basketball team made a furious charge at undefeated Rufus King from Milwaukee Saturday night at Fremd's Chicagoland Invitational Showcase but came up a point short in a 51-50 loss.
The Vikings trailed 48-39 with five minutes to go and were still down 49-43 with just a minute left.
Margaret Whitley drained a long 3-pointer to make it a one-possession game, and Brie Borkowicz followed with a steal and a quick pass to Stephanie Hart who fed Whitley for a layup to bring Geneva within 49-48.
Kaye Clark sank two free throws for the Lady Generals, then Geneva senior Grace Loberg made two free throws to cut it to 51-50 with :30.4 left.
A second clutch steal by Borkowicz gave Geneva a chance to go ahead. After a timeout, Whitley's 3-point attempt was deflected out of bounds, giving the Vikings one last chance with six seconds left.
Geneva got the ball inside to Loberg who was quickly double teamed and bumped as she went up. No foul was called, her shot was off the mark, and the Vikings lost for just the second time against 13 wins.
"At some point these close games are going to pay off for us and we'll get a big W when we need it the most," Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. "They don't like to lose but they also know we were down eight with a minute thirty left and we had a chance to win the game."
Rufus King (12-0), the third-ranked team in Wisconsin whose roster includes sophomores Clark and Sydnee Roby who were offered scholarships to Michigan State in seventh grade, provided quite a challenge for the Vikings with their quickness.
Madison Mallory got Geneva off to a good start with two 3-pointers in the first quarter.
The Vikings actually led after the first three quarters, 13-11 after one, 28-25 at halftime and 38-37 after three. But the Lady Generals went to the fourth quarter with momentum having cut into Geneva's biggest lead of the game at 35-28.
Rufus King used a 20-4 run from the middle of the third quarter to the middle of the fourth to turn that 7-point deficit into a 9-point lead.
"I just thought we had a couple silly turnovers," Meadows said. "I probably should have called a timeout a little earlier than I did to stop that run. But they are a good team, they are going to have a run."
Tishara Morehouse hit a 3 early in the fourth to put Rufus King ahead to stay, 42-39. She made five 3s in the game to lead her team with 15 points.
"I think our pressure defense started to wear out their guards," Rufus King coach Craig Machut said. "That gave us a couple fastbreak looks we were able to capitalize on. We try to play a fast pace game defensively that hopefully wears teams out, and I think we were able to wear them out one point enough."
Geneva couldn't get many of its shots to drop, shooting 32.6 percent (17 of 52).
"I don't know if we've shot that poorly yet this year," Meadows said. "We just couldn't get it going from the outside tonight for whatever reason. Probably their pressure. They were really up on all of us."
Loberg led both teams with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Mallory added 10 points and Whitley 8.
"We're a young team and we have to win close games like that," Machut said. "I'm actually amazed we were able to get that one in the last couple seconds against a very good, very experienced team. Very impressed with the Geneva team top to bottom."