Slagle explodes for 16 points, 14 rebounds as Geneva outlasts St. Charles North
The last rebound secured proved to be the fitting final act for Geneva.
After a missed St. Charles North 3-pointer in the final seconds, senior forward Lauren Slagle was the one to corral both arms around the ball -- something she did plenty of times in the Vikings' 54-46 victory over the North Stars on Thursday.
Slagle, who tallied 21 points and 11 rebounds in the first meeting with St. Charles North on Dec. 9, followed up with a commanding 16-point, 14-rebound second act on the road roughly two months later.
All the evidence needed to know how active the Grand Valley State recruit was on Thursday could be found in the redness and scratches all over her arms entering locker room at halftime.
"That's the game of basketball," Slagle said. "You're going to get cuts. You're going to get scratches. You just have to push through it. The student section is going to yell at you, but kind of just have to block everything out."
Geneva (20-3, 10-0) took just a 31-26 lead at half despite outrebounding the North Stars 21-9.
"We talked about it at halftime," Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. "That was one of our musts: We beat them on the boards the first time, and we wanted to do that again. ... (Second-chance rebounds were) a huge difference."
With the North Stars battling some foul trouble, junior standout Reagan Sipla -- unavailable during the December contest due to injury -- scored 10 of her 18 total points in a seesaw third quarter.
The North Stars were able to claw within a possession a few times. Just as Geneva appeared to be running away with the game following Rilee Hasegawa's 3-pointer with 3:39 left in the third quarter, St. Charles North had a response.
Sipla (18 points, five rebounds) hit a layup followed up by Alyssa Hughes' steal and score. Sipla nailed a 3-pointer to pull within 41-39, but Vikings senior Cassidy Arni (13 points, five rebounds) countered with one of her own to stop the building North Stars' momentum.
Geneva took a 48-41 lead into the final quarter. Arni's baseline runner with 1:10 left to go up 54-46 was ultimately the clincher.
Hasegawa had 13 points and four rebounds, while Leah Palmer had 12 points and six rebounds to pace Geneva, who outrebounded the North Stars collectively 34-21.
"They're big, and they're strong. We knew that," North Stars coach Mike Tomczak said. "That was no surprise. There were some things we talked about in practice specifically technique-wise that we didn't do a great job executing. But they're big and strong. They're tough for a reason. It was the glass. It was absolutely the glass.
Hughes scored 16 points while Julia Larson had four points, two steals and a pair of rebounds for St. Charles North (20-5, 9-2).
That was four quarters of going toe to toe with, for my money, the best team in the state," Tomczak said. ""So our girls know now that they can play with anybody, and if they didn't before, they do now."