Geneva sharpshooter Mitch Mascari said it seemed as if everything the Vikings threw up in the first half Tuesday night went through the net. Of course that was not really the case, but he was not all that far off.
Geneva hit four 3-pointers in the opening quarter while taking a 16-7 lead on Downers Grove North in the Class 4A regional semifinal at Naperville North. When Mascari and his teammates stayed equally hot in the second quarter, the Vikings had a 31-13 lead over the Trojans at the half on their way to a 62-44 win.
"I missed my first one, but I still had so much confidence and shot and made my next one," said Mascari, who made four 3-pointers in his team's huge first half. "In the first half, especially, we shot real well. It seemed like every shot we took was going in or we were getting the offensive rebound."
In truth, Geneva connected on 7 of 12 shots from beyond the arc in the first half, as Mascari tallied 12 of his game-high 20 points in the first two quarters. But it was not a one-man show as Jack McDonald and Jack Hood each added 7 points in the opening half and the team finished the night with 11 3-pointers.
Hood added 17 points as Geneva improved to 18-12 on the year and advances to Friday's regional final against top-seeded Naperville North.
"They beat us with what we thought they could probably beat us with," Trojans coach Jim Thomas said. "It was poor defense. We gave up a large lead, we didn't get stops and didn't do what we needed to do. They beat us out of the gates. It was disappointing."
Thomas, well aware of Mascari's shooting skills, didn't think his team did a good enough job of contesting the Vikings' outside shots.
"We know Mitch shoots like that. It's foolish on part to leave a guy like that open," he said. "But hats off to (Geneva coach) Scott (Hennig). He does a good job with those guys."
The Vikings will have their hands full with a tall, athletic Naperville North squad in Friday's regional final, but they welcome the opportunity.
"They'll have more size at the rim with the two big kids but I told our guys we've got nothing to lose," Hennig said. "It's on their home floor. The majority of our community is going to be downstate with our girls, so we just come out loose and play our game. These kids work hard."