Geneva blows by Aurora Central
Geneva returned to the scene of its 2014 basketball high-water mark Friday afternoon, taking the floor for the annual East Aurora Holiday Tournament on the same court in which it dispatched West Aurora last season in the sectional semifinals.
The Vikings faced another Aurora team in its opening game of the tournament, this time Aurora Central. Geneva (8-1) used its significant length and size advantage to easily dispatch the Chargers 89-49.
One only had to see Geneva's 6-8, 200-something-pound center Loudon Vollbrecht in the first quarter to see where this game was heading.
Vollbrecht powered inside for three baskets and a free throw on his way to a 14-point, five-rebound game.
He had plenty of help in making sure Aurora Central (3-5) would never get comfortable. Bennett Fuzak scored 9 points in each half to post a team-high 18 points, and Nate Navigato caught fire for a 10-point burst in the third quarter on his way to 16 in the game.
That type of balanced attack easily overcame Brett Czerak's game-high 23 points, as the Chargers' guard hit a trey in each quarter.
Vollbrecht put an exclamation point on his effort in the third quarter, stealing a ball near midcourt and taking off from just below the free-throw line for a resounding slam dunk and a 43-27 lead.
"It was good to feel a controlling demeanor on the court," said Vollbrecht, who was quick to credit his sister's advice to take ballet in his spare time to improve leg strength, balance and footwork.
"It has definitely helped me in moving from side to side, and my legs feel a lot stronger," Vollbrecht said.
Vollbrecht came "out of his shell" on the East Aurora court last year in the sectional final against Benet Academy, Geneva coach Phil Ralston said.
"Loudon came out aggressive tonight in going to the basket, and that helped us," Ralston said.
Ralston was also happy to see Fuzak put an uneventful night in his last game against Streamwood behind him in creating mismatches for Aurora Central both inside and outside.
"He was really just trying to force the issue against Streamwood, trying to do some things he didn't need to do," Ralston said. "It was good to see him just relax and hit his open shots and attacking inside a little bit."
Fuzak showed signs that his improved three-point shot will serve him well in the coming months in bagging two treys in the game.
"It has worked out that I am able to play the guard position and I can post up smaller guards, or take taller forwards out on the perimeter," Fuzak said.
Geneva also won the rebound battle, 30-21, over Aurora Central, while also forcing the Chargers into 23 turnovers. It all allowed the Vikings to open a 51-31 lead midway through the third quarter, and they just built on the margin until the final buzzer.
"We turned it over too many times with unforced errors," Aurora Central coach Nate Drye said. "Their length had something to do with it, but we just have to take care of the ball better."
The Chargers started giving up too many easy baskets off turnovers when they were still in the contest and playing well in the first quarter, Drye said.
"All of the sudden we had a series of turnovers there and it became a 10- to 12-point game," Drye added. "They are too good offensively to give them baskets. Our margin of error in a game like this is zero."
The Chargers did knock down eight three-pointers in the game, partly because Geneva dished out five blocks on shots closer to the basket.
Geneva faces Urban Prep at 2:30 Saturday, while Aurora Central takes on Neuqua Valley at 4 p.m.