Sophomore Arni leads Geneva past Bartlett 81-71
Put Cassidy Arni under the basket and good things can happen.
Arni, a Geneva sophomore, is expected to be a key contributor for the Vikings this season after several graduations of starters from a year ago.
After a slow first half with 5 points, the 6-foot forward powered inside for 18 points to finish off an impressive season debut and lead the Vikings to an 81-71 victory over Bartlett on Tuesday in Geneva.
"We have been harping that and (Arni has) kind of stiff-armed us a little bit, and she's hard to stop inside," Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said."We have been talking about this all week with her and she played great.
"She's so athletic. She can score off the dribble; she can score on a spin. She can hit a 3. She has so many different facets of her game."
Geneva senior point guard Kate Palmer, who finished with 17 points and 3 rebounds, added: "We got (Arni) down low. She got down there. She banged around."
Although an impressive showing by Palmer, her younger sister, Leah, seemingly had little trouble adjusting to the varsity level with 17 points and 6 rebounds in her first game as a freshman.
"I try to know my role on the court," Leah Palmer said. "I like to get in there, get rebounds and drive to the basket when I can; anything to contribute to help my team out."
Bartlett had a 5-point lead at the half, but Geneva was able to head into the fourth quarter knotted at 53-53. With 4:10 remaining, Kate Palmer hit a 3 before Arni followed with a crucial rebound off a Geneva miss, and put back a miss for a 3-point play to make it 68-63 Geneva. Arni then hit a 3 before free throws decided the rest.
Bartlett was paced by Mackenzie Hare's 27 points and Lexie Sinclair followed with 26 points, but it wasn't enough to pull through.
"When we can't get stops on the defensive end, we're not boxing out so we're getting fouls. We're not boxing out, so we can't transition like we want to," Bartlett coach Kristi Ragan said. "Those things affected us too much."