Wheaton Warrenville South couldn't afford too many dry spells if it wanted to keep up with No. 1 seed Geneva on Monday at the Class 4A Glenbard West sectional semifinal.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, they went through an absolute drought over the middle two quarters, not scoring a point for 11 minutes and 51 seconds.
Geneva broke the game open, going on a 24-0 run to turn a 12-7 game into a 36-7 rout on its way to a 54-33 victory.
The Vikings (25-4) will play No. 3 seed Rolling Meadows (23-7), a 43-40 overtime winner over No. 2 Wheaton North, for the sectional championship at 7 p.m. Thursday. Geneva defeated Meadows 54-48 on Dec. 30.
No. 5 WW South (21-9) tried to slow the pace, and it worked early with a 2-0 lead over the first four minutes before Geneva found its footing.
"It was a different tempo," Geneva point guard Stephanie Hart said. "They had us working a lot more on defense. We stayed in a 2-3 (zone) because we realized we could get better pressure against them."
Hart nailed a corner 3-pointer on an assist from Margaret Whitley to put Geneva ahead to stay, 5-2. The Vikings' lead stood at 12-5 early in the second quarter when Tigers junior Jayla Johnson scored inside with 6:15 left before halftime.
The Tigers wouldn't tally another point until Sarah Struebing made a free throw with 3:24 left in the third quarter. Geneva's guards pressured the Tigers on the perimeter, and 6-2 center Grace Loberg and company made life difficult when WW South got the ball in the paint.
"Our shots weren't falling in the beginning and in the second half we tried to be more aggressive," Johnson said. "She's (Loberg) a very good player and we tried to put two people on her."
Loberg got the string of 24 unanswered points started with a conventional 3-point play after a feed from Hart. Maddy Yelle drove baseline for a basket, and Tigers coach Rob Kroehnke called timeout down 19-7 after Lindsay Blackmore's fastbreak layup.
That did little to slow Geneva who got a 3-pointer from Whitley, another inside score from Loberg and a Brie Borkowicz 3 to lead 27-7 at halftime.
Johnson had 6 points at halftime and the rest of the Tigers 1.
"You can't shoot 14 percent (in the first half) and expect to play with good teams," Kroehnke said. "I thought we got some good looks early. I thought we were controlling the tempo pretty nice. But if you aren't hitting your shots, they are too good. Once they get the lead you are fighting an uphill battle."
Loberg scored the first 4 points of the third quarter, Whitley made 2 free throws and Hart drained a 3-pointer for a 29-point lead, Geneva's biggest.
"Wheaton Warrenville South had been playing fantastic basketball," Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. "We knew coming in they are scrappy, disciplined, well-coached. We started to settle down the last three minutes of the first quarter. We had good shots (early), I think we were just a little amped up."
Johnson led the Tigers with 16 points and Struebing added 10.
Geneva enjoyed a 29-14 rebounding advantage. Loberg led with 9 boards, and the Wisconsin volleyball recruit also had 13 points and 4 steals after starting her day Monday playing two games in a volleyball tournament after also playing volleyball all day Saturday and Sunday.
Hart finished with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals, Whitley scored 8 points and Madison Mallory chipped in 7 points.
"We lost to a better team, there's no doubt about it," Kroehnke said.