Geneva tops St. Charles East, clinches share of DuKane crown

 
 
Updated 2/3/2022 10:26 PM

In a sign of the times, scouting has become more convenient for St. Charles East girls basketball coach Josh Foster -- like most coaches.

Which certainly doesn't make playing Geneva any easier.

 

"Now it's so easy to watch film with Hudl and this and that, and I've watched every conference game," Foster said Thursday night following a 75-64 loss to Geneva that clinched a share of the DuKane Conference championship for the Vikings.

"They just find a way to win. You have that many skilled players, somebody steps up. They are very balanced. It makes it tough to win against a team like that."

The Vikings (20-4, 12-0) flashed that balance while not only clinching a share of the title but ending a 6-game winning streak for St. Charles East (16-6. 7-5).

Junior Lauren Slagle led four Geneva players in double figures with 23 points and also grabbed 7 rebounds. The Vikings can clinch the DuKane outright by beating either Wheaton North on Saturday or Lake Park next week.

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"Our conference, there are so many individual girls who are amazing. We are grateful to have a good conference because it gets us ready for regional, sectionals. The competition is amazing," Slagle said.

"Tonight, we came out strong. We have something to prove, we want to be undefeated in conference. Tonight we played together,"

The Saints took a couple early leads, the final one coming at 12-9 when Torrie Kortan hit a 3-pointer midway through a high-scoring first quarter.

Geneva quickly answered with back-to-back baskets by Slagle to go up 13-12, and the Vikings didn't trail again. A putback by Slagle, Cassidy Arni's layup and a 3-pointer by Leah Palmer completed a 12-0 Geneva run for a 21-12 lead, which stood at 23-14 after the first quarter.

A 3-pointer from Saints sophomore Lexi Diorio early in the second quarter closed the gap to 23-21, but the Vikings soon heated up again with that balanced attack and by halftime led 33-24. The margin stood at 55-40 through three quarters and the Saints got no closer than 7 points in the fourth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Our team has so much chemistry on and off the court," Slagle said. "Our hunger and our passion as a team, on and off the court, we are best friends. I think that helps. We come out and we fight."

Zosia Wrobel and Palmer followed Slagle with 17 points each, Arni scored 11 with 8 rebounds and 5 assists, and Caroline Madden hit a pair of 3-pointers while scoring 8.

"It wasn't pretty but we got through it," Vikings coach Sarah Meadows said. "We are putting it together. There are times we have to be a little more disciplined, a little more under control. Once you get into postseason you are going to have to be able to execute in the half court. You aren't going to be able to run and gun. We have to grow a little bit there."

Kortan led the Saints with 21 points and 5 rebounds. Diorio scored 19 points and Cali Papez had 12.

"We are finding our stride," Foster said. "We have to start another streak here.

"I told the girls they (Geneva) have been winning for a long time, you aren't going to get a majority of the calls or the bounces. They are tough. They are all big and skilled. I thought if the shots we normally make would have gone in in the second and third quarters we would have won the game."

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