St. Charles North beats Geneva, stays tied for DuKane lead
Tatum Settelmyer and Alyssa Hughes emerged from a classroom that doubled as a jubilant St. Charles North locker room, music booming through the doors.
This was a win worth celebrating.
Settelmyer, a senior, provided a steady hand and big shots throughout in one of her best games of the season. Hughes, a sophomore, hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minutes. St. Charles North swept the season series with a 44-42 win at Geneva Saturday -- and in the process kept pace with Wheaton North atop the DuKane Conference.
It's the first time St. Charles North (9-2, 8-2) has swept Geneva (8-3, 7-3) in North Stars' coach Mike Tomczak's five seasons -- and he, believed, the first time ever.
"That was a big one, the first time being able to do that," said Settelmyer, who had a team-high 15 points and 6 rebounds. "I'm glad that we could celebrate with our team, both JV and varsity, after a win like that."
Erin Stack added 12 points, eight coming in the second half, as did Hughes.
Hughes had only taken one shot, a miss, in the second half. But she coolly hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to give the North Stars the lead for good, 41-40, with 2:23 left after Kate Palmer's 3 had pushed Geneva ahead a minute earlier.
"I had all my teammates encouraging me, even with the way I wasn't playing great. I had them picking me up," Hughes said. "Having all their confidence helped me. I knew I could make that shot."
Not done, Hughes calmly swished two free throws with 29.1 seconds left to give St. Charles North a 43-40 lead.
"I just ignore everything that is happening, just act like I'm in the gym by myself shooting free throws in practice," Hughes said.
Cassidy Arni scored 21 points -- 16 coming in the second half -- in nearly carrying Geneva to a comeback win. Zosia Wrobel added 8.
Geneva trailed 14-7 in the first quarter, surged ahead with an 8-0 run, but went scoreless the last 6:03 of the first half to trail 21-15 at halftime. Geneva's 10-0 run capped off by the fourth of Arni's five 3s put the Vikings ahead 32-26 late in the third quarter, but again St. Charles North had the answer with a 7-0 run to end the quarter.
"Our kids needed that game; it just didn't happen," Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. "We had a 6-point lead and gave it right back. This is the first close game we've been in, and it's a learning experience. It will pay off. We have some young kids playing."
Arni, a sophomore, is one of those youngsters, and scored just five points in the first half while picking up three fouls. But she was spectacular in the third quarter with 13 of her 21 points and three of her five threes. Her last three of the quarter was a deep one from the left wing for a six-point lead.
"She is just a really good player, special for sure," Meadows said. "She's going to be fun to watch. She stepped up."
So did Settelmyer for St. Charles, which was coming off its worst game of the season, a 44-27 loss to Wheaton North Tuesday.
The versatile 6-foot senior equally comfortable inside and out scored seven of her 15 points in the first quarter to key her team's strong start. Later, after Arni's shot gave Geneva its biggest lead at six late in the third quarter, Settelmyer answered with a huge three of her own to calm the waters.
"She is incredibly versatile," Tomczak said. "She can shoot the three, score inside. Early in the game she had three offensive rebounds on one possession, that really set the tone like she was ready to play.
"It was a great response from our girls, considering how poorly we played on Tuesday. We didn't have any kind of composure or poise in that game. Today our girls against great pressure were able to steady themselves."