Geneva's girls basketball team awaits its second act in as many years on the state's biggest stage following Monday night's 54-42 Class 4A Streamwood supersectional victory over Rockford Boylan.
Winners of 14 straight games, the Vikings (29-3) punched their ticket to Redbird Arena in Normal where they will face Maine West (31-1) in Friday's 7:15 p.m. state semifinals.
Geneva, which will be making its third state semifinal appearance in 5 years, handed the Warriors their lone loss, 55-53, on Jan. 6 in the Chicagoland Invitational Showcase at Benet Academy.
It wasn't just the fact that the defending Class 4A state champions proved victorious Monday night, it was the manner in which they disposed of previously unbeaten Rockford Boylan (32-1).
Four-year varsity starters Margaret Whitley and Stephanie Hart combined for 9 of the Vikings' 11 3-point baskets against a Titans' defense that entered the game allowing just 32.3 points per game.
"When teams take away one thing, we try to find another way," said Whitley, who knocked down five 3-pointers during a 15-point, 4-assist performance. "We're good at that. I think we did a great job finding the open man. That was kind of our key tonight -- move the ball and find the second man that is open, whether that takes three or five passes."
Geneva jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first 2 minutes, with 6-foot-2 senior forward/center Madison Mallory (9 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) hitting a 3-pointer.
The Vikings stretched their lead to 15-7 after one quarter, highlighted by Whitley's back-to-back 3-pointers.
Another Whitley 3-pointer from the top of the key and Hart's 3-pointer from the corner off a drive-and-dish feed from Maddy Yelle (7 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) with 24 seconds left in the second quarter extended the Vikings' halftime advantage to 31-16.
"We wanted to have a few ball screens because they over-help on the ball screen, and then that slip was open," said Vikings coach Sarah Meadows. "Once we hit the slip and the other help was coming, we could kick it to the corner."
Senior guard Brie Borkowicz (3 points, 5 rebounds) added a late first-half 3-pointer for the Vikings, who converted 4 more 3-pointers in the second half.
"We're lucky this year because we've got a lot of good 3-point shooting guards," said Hart, who made 4 of her 7 3-point attempts on the way to a game-high 16 points with 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
"I think it's hard to defend that because you can't sag off any of us. We also have Maddy Yelle. When she goes to the basket, she's awesome at finding us out there and making that extra pass. You might be a little open but that extra pass might get it to someone who is wide open."
Geneva led 43-26 after 3 quarters.
McKenzie Brown led the Titans with 12 points.
"They're a very strong team," Titans coach Paul Perrone said of the Vikings. "They're physically strong and they outmatched us that way. We knew they were going to shoot threes but they're just so disciplined.
"We've got to give them credit but I've got to give our girls credit, too. Look at Frankie Schiro (6 points). A lot of people don't know she had chemotherapy treatment Friday and came back and played tonight. It just shows you the kind of character our kids have."