Geneva sets school record for wins, advances to final
The Geneva boys basketball team advanced to the Class 4A Bartlett sectional title game in record-breaking fashion Tuesday.
The top-seeded Vikings improved to 31-1 with a 54-41 semifinal victory over No. 4 Lyons Township, thereby setting a new single-season record for wins.
The 2014-15 team, which placed fourth at state, finished 30-5. Geneva played its first varsity season in 1904-05.
"I think that's incredible," said 6-foot-4 Geneva junior Josh Preston, who scored 7 of his 15 points in the third quarter. "Geneva has such a lengthy program, so for us to have the number one team that has the most wins is just crazy in my mind."
Senior point guard Jack McDonald led the Vikings with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
"Going into the year, no one could imagine having 31 wins. It's pretty cool," McDonald said. "More importantly, we're going to the sectional final."
The Vikings will face the winner of today's semifinal between No. 5 Downers Grove North and No. 7 Lake Park.
Geneva took a 29-25 lead on a McDonald drive to the hoop just before halftime and scored the first 6 points of the second half to gain separation. Lyons (23-10) never drew within 8 points of the lead thereafter.
The early third-quarter push consisted of McDonald feeding Preston for a bucket in the paint, Preston scoring on a putback of a McDonald missed 3-pointer and Kross Garth scoring in transition via a McDonald assist.
"I thought we did a great job taking the right shot," Geneva coach Scott Hennig said. "And it wasn't just the right shot, it was the right guy taking the right shot."
The Vikings offset many of their 20 turnovers by forcing 15 turnovers from the Lions. Geneva also won the rebounding battle 29-18, which helped limit Lyons to 15 second-half field-goal attempts. Geneva led 44-32 after three quarters.
"They're just really well balanced and skilled and really tough defensively," Lyons Township coach Tom Sloan said. "They made it really tough for our guys to get good looks at the basket. We didn't really get many offensive rebounds. I don't think we played our best but a lot of that has to do with the way Geneva played."
Junior Grant Niego scored 11 points to lead Lyons. Senior Josh Berry contributed 8 points before fouling out with 5:43 to play.
Geneva 6-foot-5 senior guard Mitch Mascari was held without a 3-pointer in 2 attempts but still contributed 8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a block. Senior guard Garret Sneed added 5 points, including a 3-pointer.