Geneva (16-0) sets program record for best start

Updated 1/12/2017 10:24 PM

In 1959, the average price of gas was 25 cents per gallon and a gallon of milk cost $1.

Alaska and Hawaii admitted for statehood as the 49th and 50th states, respectively, and Bonanza debuted on TV.


The Chicago Bulls didn't exist.

On Thursday night, Geneva's boys basketball team broke a 57-year-old school record dating back to the 1959-1960 campaign for best start to a season as the Vikings improved to 16-0 with a 49-38 victory over Woodstock (5-11) during the opening round of the Lake Zurich MLK Tournament in Geneva.

"I told our kids in the locker room that this is something to celebrate," said Vikings coach Phil Ralston. "(There's) 120 years of Geneva basketball going back to 1896 -- the origins of high school basketball actually begin in Geneva.

"For our guys to have an accolade like this, it really speaks volumes about them. I'm not going to entertain comparing us to any other group but the accomplishment is the accomplishment. I told the boys, 'they can't take it away from you but now that we've got it, it's time to move on.'"

Despite playing a game against Burlington Central 24 hours earlier, Woodstock certainly made the Vikings work for it.

The Blue Streaks jumped out to an 11-0 lead after the first 3 ½ minutes as senior forward Josh Turner (14 points) knocked down his first 4 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers.

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"We came out really flat in the first quarter but I didn't feel like we were in any kind of panic mode," said Ralston. "Right now, we're going to get everyone's best shot whether we're ready to go or not."

"They hit like their first five shots but we knew we were fine," said 6-5 senior guard Cole Navigato, who finished with 4 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

Geneva recovered quickly, closing out the final 3:23 of the opening period with a 12-2 run to pull within 13-12. Sophomore guard Mitch Mascari (15 points) scored 7 points to help bring the Vikings back.

Freshman guard Nate Santos (14 points) accounted for all 8 of Geneva's second-quarter points as the team trailed 22-20 at the intermission.

"Sometimes you have nights where you're not completely in sync," said Ralston, whose team played without senior starting guard Matt Johnston, who rolled his left ankle during Tuesday's win over Elgin.


The Vikings seized control during a 15-2 third-quarter surge that included 3-pointers by Dom Navigato (6 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals) and Mascari, and a 3-point play from Dom Navigato.

Woodstock trimmed the lead to 43-38 on Turner's basket with 1:57 remaining but the Vikings sealed the decision on the ensuing possession as Mascari drained his third 3-pointer.

"We persevered through it," said Ralston. "Good teams find ways to win and that's kind of what happened tonight."

Sophomore guard Jack McDonald scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter as the streak lives on.

"It's awesome," said Cole Navigato. "I can go home and brag to my brother Nate (now playing at Toledo). He went downstate but I can brag about the record."

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