Geneva's pressure gets to Sycamore in season opener
During a pivotal second-quarter run, Geneva made Sycamore pay almost every time the Spartans turned the ball over.
The Vikings took control with 12 straight points, regaining the lead for good in a 66-52 win in the season opener for both teams as part of Hampshire's Doreen Zierer Turkey Tournament.
"Our transition was really good, that's one of our best things," said Geneva senior Cassidy Arni, who scored a career-high 26 in the win. "We just have to keep pushing in transition and get easy buckets that way."
Geneva led early but Sycamore took a 25-21 lead early in the second quarter on back-to-back 3-pointers by Monroe McGhee. Geneva turned three travel calls into six points and got another bucket off a steal by Caroline Madden and led 33-25.
The Vikings started the third on a 13-4 run, again aided by the transition game, to build a big lead the Spartans couldn't erase.
"We just really wanted to set the pace early and get out and run in transition and get some easy, fast baskets," Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. "I thought we did a good job at that to start the game. Kind of got away from it here and there but that's one of our strengths."
Arni had nine rebounds, tied for the game high, and two steals in the win. She also made all three of her 3-point attempts in the first quarter. Leah Palmer, who had 15 points, nine rebounds and three steals, drained both of her 3s in the first quarter as well as Geneva started 5 of 6 from long range but finished 6 of 16.
Sycamore was 7 of 30 from long range. Sophie Klacik made two of her first three 3-pointers and finished the game with 11 points.
Sycamore coach Adam Wickness said the Vikings messed with the Spartans' offensive rhythm and is looking forward to the rematch in the regular season finale on Feb. 9, also in Sycamore.
"We knew what we were getting into when we chose our nonconference schedule," Wickness said. "This was a very hard game for the first draw of the year. It'll be nice to see them at the end of the year so we can measure our growth."
Lexi Carlsen led Sycamore with 22 points, adding six rebounds and two steals. Evyn Carrier had 13 points and nine rebounds. Carlsen, Carrier, Klacik and McGhee -- who finished with six -- were the only Spartans to score.
"We always look forward to playing Sycamore," Meadows said. "They have a great team, well coached. It's a good start for us against a really good program. And it's a new tournament for us so we're going in with fire right now."
Sycamore finished the game with 16 turnovers that led to 16 points for the Vikings, while 10 Geneva turnovers led to just three points for the Spartans.
"When you're able to get a steal and score points, that's like a pick-six in football," Meadows said. "You kind of take the air out. That's exactly what we want to do."