Prairie Ridge's constant trapping pressure has a way of wearing teams down, which is exactly what happened to the Geneva boys basketball team on Wednesday at the Crystal Lake Central Thanksgiving Tournament.
Through three quarters the Vikings made 50 percent of their field goal attempts and held a 5-point lead.
Over those final eight minutes, Geneva hit just 3-of-14 from the field and turned the ball over 5 times. Connor Kazin caught fire for the Wolves, leading his team to a 63-56 come-from-behind win.
"I think part of that was fatigue," Geneva coach Scott Henning said. "That type of defense just wears on you, the style and pace."
Prairie Ridge (1-0) outscored Geneva (1-1) 22-10 in the final quarter. Kazin scored 12 of those points as he repeatedly took the ball from just inside half court and beat his defender all the way to the rim, usually going right.
Kazin started the quarter with a steal and layup, then hit a jumper. He followed his own miss to bring the Wolves within 51-50, made a free throw to tie the game, and put Prairie Ridge ahead for good 55-53 with 2:45 remaining on another hard drive that he finished while being fouled for a 3-point play.
"I'll take my chances with him driving to the rim," Prairie Ridge coach Corky Card said. "And we had some other kids make some big shots."
One of those was Joe Hansen. On Prairie Ridge's next possession, the Vikings collapsed on Kazin as he drove down the lane, and Kazin kicked to Hansen in the corner for a 3-point shot and a 58-53 lead.
Kazin finished with a game-high 23 points, Jack Hoyland scored 19 and Hansen 11.
"We talked about we just have to keep the ball in front of us because when we over-help they would kick it out and hit 3s," Henning said. "We didn't do a very good job of that. That's just something we have to work on. I kind of knew going in we would struggle guarding the ball.
"They did it to us last year and we survived last year and they did it to us again this year. They are a great program."
Geneva started well. The Vikings broke the Wolves' press early, and Nate Santos assisted an open Jack Hood for a 3-pointer, then the two reversed roles with Hood finding Santos in the corner for another 3 and a quick 8-2 lead and Prairie Ridge timeout.
Santos drained a 3 for Geneva's biggest lead of the first half at 23-17, and Jack McDonald's floater in the final minute kept the Vikings ahead 29-28 at halftime.
Geneva again opened up a lead in the third quarter. Mitch Mascari knocked down a jumper, then McDonald's scored on an acrobatic, off-balance layup putting the Vikings head 44-36.
It was pretty much all Prairie Ridge from there, however, as the Wolves -- who are missing two regulars playing for the football state title Saturday -- outscored Geneva 27-12 to end the game.
"That's as well as I've had kids play in the second game of the year," Card said. "Made a bunch of mistakes early but just played hard. To try to press them a whole game, their guards are so good. Our kids just made plays. It was a good basketball game."
Mascari paced Geneva with 15 points, McDonald added 12 points and 4 assists and Santos chipped in 9 points and 5 rebounds.
The Vikings outrebounded Prairie Ridge 33-23. While Geneva went cold in the fourth quarter, the Wolves made 8 of 11 from the field.
"Credit to Prairie Ridge," Henning said. "It's a style we normally don't see in terms of their full-court press and then their zone defense. And they hit shots.
"We're young. We just have to get better. I know we won big Monday but we didn't really guard well Monday either. We didn't guard here obviously. Prairie Ridge did what they wanted and that's why they won the game."