Slagle, Arni lead Geneva past Kaneland
From the opening tip Thursday, Lauren Slagle started to show signs of what she brings to the court for Geneva.
Whether it was finding room for seven rebounds or using her 6-foot-1 length for 20 points in the paint in Geneva's 63-30 victory over Kaneland, the Vikings have yet another player to add to its list of contributors.
"[Slagle] played a lot of JV for us last year," Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. "Got some varsity minutes [at times] but she's done a really nice job. On Tuesday, I think she struggled a little bit. She was a little disappointed with how she played. She changed that tonight. Right from the tip, she was a presence and that's exactly what we need."
Suffice to say, Slagle enters this season "super excited."
"I think being a team leader is something that is huge that is something I'm [striving] to do," said Slagle, a junior forward. "I think every game I'm setting a goal for myself and I'm going to encourage my teammates through the good and the bad."
"I definitely think I make my impact on the boards," Slagle continued. "I think that is a huge goal for me. If my team can count on me to get the rebounds, I think we're in really good shape."
Geneva junior forward Cassidy Arni, who had 14 points, is teammates with Slagle on an AAU team.
"I'm super excited to be able to play with her this season," Arni said. "We work really well together; it's fun to be able to see what we can do together."
Arni sees that impact being made also in rebounding opportunities.
"She has very good energy, she's quick. She's very good down low," Arni said. "Her three-point shot is getting really good [too]."
Arni, for her part, is in her third varsity season and has played a ton of varsity minutes already to this point in her career.
"I feel great [physically]," Arni said. "It's been awhile since we played [high school basketball]. It's always exciting to come back."
Vikings sophomore Leah Palmer had 11 points and five rebounds.
"A little bit more offensive-minded [than last season] I think," Meadows said of Palmer's growth in her second varsity season. "I think she's better on the defensive side as well. She's just matured. She was just a freshman. It's weird to think she's just a sophomore. I think she plays bigger than a sophomore."
The Vikings (2-0) forced a running clock to open the fourth quarter. Kaneland (0-2) visibly struggled with turnovers and Geneva's pressure defense, finishing with 18 turnovers before the starters on both sides were pulled.
Kaneland was paced by Katharine Marshall's six points and five rebounds.
"Kat's pretty versatile with being able to shoot on the outside," Kaneland coach Kelsey Flanagan said. "But, strong on the ball and she finishes inside too. [There were] lots of hands inside so our usual pass-and-cut opportunities inside weren't there."