Strong 4th quarter sends Geneva past WW South
Geneva's outside shooting started strong in Friday's DuKane Conference contest with Wheaton Warrenville South.
But the Vikings relied on their inside game to finish off the 51-41 home court victory.
Half of the Vikings' 10 first-half baskets were 3-pointers. In the second half, only two of the team's seven buckets were from beyond the arc.
Josh Preston was the key to Geneva's inside game. All 10 of the senior's baskets were in the paint.
"Josh Preston beat us up in the high post," Wheaton Warrenville South coach Mike Healy said. "And we didn't do a good job of adapting."
The Vikings jumped out to an 18-5 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter thanks to four 3-point baskets. Junior guard Nathan Valentine (18 points) sank three of his four treys in the period.
The Tigers scored the next eight points to trail 18-13 at the end of the first eight minutes. Sophomore Tyler Fawcett, who led all scorers with 20 points, started the run with a 3-pointer from the left wing.
Wheaton Warrenville South's rally continued into the second quarter. A Parker Brown trey put the Tigers in front, 19-18 with 5:50 left until halftime. Brian Wrenn ended the Vikings' scoring drought with a baseline layup half way through the quarter that put his team back on top, 22-21.
Fawcett retied the game with 1:26 left in the half on a slam dunk. A Preston free throw and short jumper gave the Vikings a 29-26 halftime lead.
"I think we stopped getting the ball inside (in the second quarter). Joshua does a great job of catching the high post, looking opposite but you are going to miss some shots," said Geneva coach Scott Hennig. "I think we started off 3 of 4 (3-point attempts) for the game and then we didn't make one in the second quarter. Their zone is so tough -- they do a great job."
The third quarter that featured three lead changes ended with Wheaton Warrenville South (3-2, 0-1) up 37-36, thanks to Fawcett basket and free throw.
"We got into some foul trouble. Joshua picked up two fouls in the first minutes which hurt us," Hennig said. "We just kind of weathered the storm."
Going on a 10-2 run, Geneva (5-1, 1-0) finally pulled away in the fourth quarter. Preston accounted for seven of the points on three baskets and a free throw. Dylan Fuzak contributed to the rally with the team's second 3-pointer of the half.
"We finally got the ball inside and Dylan hit that big three," said Hennig about the fourth quarter. "We got it at the high post and Joshua just finished."
"They were making us play slow and force us to take the best shot," Preston said. "Every possession (in the fourth quarter) we worked it in and worked on it until we got the shot we wanted."