Geneva gets back on track against Wheaton North
It's hard to keep a good team down, and Geneva is a very good girls basketball team.
Wheaton North found out just how good Friday night, losing to the Vikings 65-36 in a DuKane Conference game in Wheaton.
"I would say the holiday tournament was a really good learning curve for us," Vikings senior guard Katie Montgomery said of the Montini Christmas Tournament, where Geneva suffered its first three losses of the season, "because we knew we were a good team, but we played some of the best in the state and they exposed us in some spots that we need to work on. So we got back in the gym and we were working on it and we're kind of fixing up those loose ends to become better."
Wheaton North (10-3, 3-1) is one of the teams expected to contend with Geneva for the DuKane championship, another reason the Vikings (14-4, 5-0) were so focused.
"This is a great conference win," Montgomery said. "This is a really good conference win for us. We had it marked on our calendars to make sure we came in here, that we really wanted to keep our composure because it can get really loud in this gym. And we love kind type of atmosphere."
The Vikings looked very good, starting with a fast-paced first quarter. They raced out to a 22-14 lead after eight minutes, then held Wheaton North to just 8 points in the second and third quarters combined to open a 23-point lead going to the fourth quarter.
"Our kids came in focused and ready and we talked the end of the week about I thought last year when we played them we didn't have good composure," Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. "We allowed them to bother us. And I really wanted to fix that this year and I thought our kids handled it really well."
Lindsay Blackmore, a Colgate recruit, led all scorers with 21 points and added 8 rebounds. Freshman Cassidy Arni came off the bench to score 11 points for the Vikings.
Sophomore guard Claire Hyde led the Falcons with 14 points, but she was held more than 4 points below her average by Montgomery defensively.
"She's a good player," Montgomery said. "She's a really good player, and she was quick, so I made sure to give her a step. And when that shot went up I had to close a hand up and kind of hope for the best. I just knew I had to keep her in front of me when she was driving into the paint."
"She's outstanding," Meadows said of Montgomery, who also hit two 3-pointers. "I mean she takes any challenge you give her and she just meets it and exceeds it. She's just a hard-nosed competitor and makes a huge difference on the basketball court."
One bright spot for Wheaton North was freshman Eden Pearson. In her first varsity start she scored 7 points and impressed Eaton with her all-around play.
"She's been getting better and better, and to play a really good team, obviously," said Falcons coach Dave Eaton, whose team was without guards Julia Simon and Ally Brown due to soccer commitments. "To come off and that's your first varsity start, that's a tough game, and I thought she did pretty well. We talk a lot about having some moxie. I thought she had a little moxie to her and played with a little bit of an edge."