Geneva earns share of DuKane title, 11th conference crown in 12 years
It's time for a new streak at Geneva.
With a 59-41 victory over Glenbard North on Thursday in their regular season finale, the Vikings clinched a share of the DuKane Conference championship.
It is the 15th conference championship for the Vikings, their first coming in 1976.
From 2009 through 2018 Geneva won conference every season. Batavia shared the crown with the Vikings in both 2013-14 and 2015-16.
Wheaton Warrenville South ended Geneva's streak last year, and getting back to the top this season looked dicey for the Vikings with home losses to Lake Park and St. Charles North.
But Geneva (22-6, 12-2) came through down the stretch, pulling even with the Lancers on Tuesday with a 66-61 win at Lake Park. The Lancers earned their share of the title by beating St. Charles East 71-48 on Thursday.
"It means a lot," said senior Grace Hinchman, who has two older sisters who have been a big part of Geneva's success. "Obviously Lake Park was really fun to play in but we knew we still had to come out tonight and come out strong and finish conference well.
"It means a lot to my family and it's huge to win conference again. We just have a really good program, a strong bond with each other."
Geneva coach Sarah Meadows used an all-senior starting lineup Thursday and gave her seniors extended play.
Normal starters Lindsay Blackmore, Hinchman and Katie Montgomery got plenty of help from seniors like Emma Kornak (7 points), Carly Rasmussen (6), Isabelle Harkleroad (3) and Tiffany Kohorst (2).
Like so many of her teammates, Kornak grew up watching the Geneva girls basketball team winning games.
"The feeling of having another conference championship is so nice," Kornak said. "I was definitely watching the girls play growing up. I looked up to every single one of the girls on the team. I was always there watching them and it's such a great feeling to be that girl now with the little girls watching us."
Glenbard North (6-22, 1-13) trailed 38-12 at halftime but found more success in the second half. Nevaeh King scored a team-high 13 points.
The Panthers will get another chance against Geneva next week in the Class 4A Batavia regional if they beat West Chicago on Monday.
"The reality is they are the No. 1 seed in the sectional, they are conference co-champs and we're not," Panthers coach Stephen Wit said. "The message to the girls is learn, keep growing. I was happy we stayed with it and continued to fight."
The Colgate-bound Blackmore scored a game-high 17 points and added 5 rebounds, 3 blocked shots and 2 steals playing her final home game on a court she was a big part of two state championship teams.
The Vikings hope to have more postseason hardware to add starting next week, but for one night they have another conference title to celebrate first.
"It's awesome," Meadows said. "Our kids do everything we ask them to do. They work and they are dedicated. It's them. It just continues. We have a great tradition of girls basketball here and the kids just buy in. We've got our eighth grade here tonight watching us and we're excited to have them next year. It just keeps going and going and going. Pretty cool."