Geneva's girls basketball team is headed to state for the second time in four years and third time in the last nine, and the Vikings are making it look incredibly easy.
It's supposed to get harder the further you advance in the postseason, but this Geneva team is demolishing its competition on the path to Illinois State University.
After beating York by 24 points to win the regional, then Wheaton Warrenville South by 21 and Rolling Meadows by 26 to claim a sectional last week, Geneva once again flexed its muscles Monday night in the Class 4A Addison Trail supersectional.
The Vikings built a 30-point lead in the fourth quarter over a Maine West team that entered at 27-3 in a game Geneva once again won going away, 65-46.
Geneva (27-4) will play Fremd (28-6) in the state semifinals at 7:15 p.m. Friday at Redbird Arena.
"I know personally how bad I don't want this season to end," said Geneva center Grace Loberg. "I'm so excited. I'm so happy this season is going as long as it possibly can. It's an awesome team to go with."
Loberg, the only senior for either team in the starting lineup, started as a freshman on Geneva's 2014 state team. She set the tone Monday with 20 points and 12 rebounds in the first half as the Vikings opened up a 33-20 halftime lead.
Loberg finished with 27 points and 18 rebounds. Junior guard Margaret Whitley nailed three 3-pointers and scored 16 points.
Maddy Yelle added 8 points and 6 rebounds, Stephanie Hart had 7 points and 6 rebounds, and Brie Borkowicz also scored 7.
"It's unreal," said Whitley, whose sister Taylor played on Geneva's 2009 state team. "We just kept a good, positive focus. We wanted it more than anything and I've been wanting it since I was in fourth grade. I was beyond excited and blessed to be in this situation tonight. It's one of the best memories of my high school career by far."
Geneva scored off the opening tip, which Loberg batted to Yelle who drove for a layup. The Vikings led 15-8 after one quarter thanks to 10 points from Loberg.
After starting in a diamond press that the Warriors handled and then switching to man, Geneva settled in a 2-3 zone most of the game. Maine West briefly pulled within 22-18 midway through the second quarter on consecutive baskets by Alisa Fallon and Angela Dugalic.
Hart drove and dished inside to Loberg, which started an 11-2 Geneva run to close the first half up 13. Whitley nailed a 3, and Loberg capped the half with an assist to a cutting Yelle.
The Vikings then put the game away with another 11-2 run to start the third quarter. Loberg picked right up where she left off, this time scoring on a Borkowicz feed off a drive. Whitley again made a 3 as Geneva doubled the score at 44-22.
"We just make it clear to everybody this game isn't over," Loberg said of the halftime message. "Teams don't win because of how they play the first half. It's how you come out in the second half also. We knew those first five minutes were going to be very crucial for us."
Up 48-29 after three quarters, Geneva scored the first 11 points of the fourth to take its biggest lead, 59-29. Hart's 4-point play highlighted the run, and the Vikings also got to the foul line often led again by Loberg, who sank 9 of 13.
"She was dominating in the first half," Maine West coach Kim deMarigny said. "We couldn't find anything or anyone to stop her. We needed a fence. The film I had seen of her I don't know if she was as dominating as she was tonight."
Loberg helped Geneva to a 41-24 rebounding advantage. The Vikings only turned the ball over 7 times until late in the fourth quarter.
Geneva hasn't played Fremd this year. The Vikings will be looking for their first win in their three trips to state.
"This has been a big goal for us and we got it done," Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said.
Rachel Kent scored 12 points and Dugalic added 8 points to lead the Warriors, who were playing this season to honor their legendary coach Derril Kipp.
"We wanted to dedicate this to Derril and really go at it this season," deMarigny said. "The girls really responded. They played hard, they played well. We run into a team like Geneva, you can't take anything away from them. They are a great team."