Bartlett holds off Geneva
Conrad Luczynski flirted with a triple double Wednesday night at the Class 4A Wheaton Warrenville South boys basketball regional semifinal nightcap.
But arguably the most pivotal play the Bartlett 7-foot-3 senior post made was a bounce pass to a cutting Keegan Kunzer with less than 50 seconds to play in the Hawks' rematch with Geneva.
Kunzer converted the layup, and Luczynski essentially iced the Hawks' 47-42 victory by not only blocking his seventh Geneva shot on the ensuing possession but also collecting the ball for his last of 18 rebounds.
Held to two first-half free throws, Luczynski had 12 of his 14 points after the intermission.
"They played me entirely differently than the first time we played," Luczynski said of the Vikings' defensive approach. "They were fronting and back-siding me the whole first half."
But last December, a win for Geneva at home, was seemingly an eternity ago.
"It was probably their worst game of the year," Geneva coach Scott Hennig said of the schools' nonconference game early in the season.
Bartlett (25-6), the No. 7 seed, advances to the championship game Friday night to play second-seeded WW South, which soundly defeated Glenbard East 68-34, in the doubleheader opener.
Geneva, the No. 10 seed, had its season close at 16-15.
"After the good pass (to Kunzer for the score), I timed it perfectly (on the ensuing block)," Luczynski said. "It's hard to stop a 7-3 man."
Geneva was able to hang around until the bitter end, however, as Bartlett failed to close out the game from the free-throw line.
But it proved an uphill battle the entire way for the Vikings.
Geneva came out of the gate cold from the 3-point arc and ended up shooting 14 of 44 for the game.
Bartlett never trailed, nor was the game tied, as the Hawks' Kelton McEwen single-handedly outscored Geneva in the first 12 minutes of the game with 11 of his game-high 16 points.
"It was a big game, and my shots just happened to be falling," said McEwen, who finished with three 3-pointers and a 3-point play. "When (Luczynski) gets it going, it opens up the whole court with all his rebounds and blocked shots."
Geneva would have two players step up to make it a game.
Guard Michael Lawrence, who led the Vikings with 12 points, and reserve Colin Hasty also revived the Geneva spirits with his perimeter shooting off the bench.
The latter scored all 11 of his points after halftime on three 3-pointers of his own.
"I was told to shoot with confidence," Hasty said. "I thought we were going to come back but just fell short."
"(The Hawks) are going to give Wheaton South all they can handle," Hennig predicted.