GENEVA – Geneva struggled to score 10 points in the first quarter of Saturday’s DuKane Conference game against Batavia.
The host Vikings found their scoring touch at the start of the second period and rattled the rims with 20 plus points in the three remaining quarters for a 79-53 win. The final score was a season high for the Vikings.
With the victory, Geneva improved its conference record to 11-0 and tightened its hold on first place. The Vikings have a two-game lead on second place St. Charles North with three league games left.
“I didn’t realized it was that high,” said Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said about the score. “I look at the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter and said ‘wow, we have 72 points.’”
Batavia took an early 3-2 on Addison Prewitt’s three-point shot at the 6:40 mark of the first quarter. The Bulldogs stayed on top until Lauren Slagle’s inside basket put the Vikings up 10-9 in the last minute of the period.
Geneva found the net only four times and turned the ball over six times in the first eight minutes.
“I think it was pregame nerves. It’s our big rival game, we had a lot of people here and it was Pink-Out Night, so I think we just came out a little bit slow,” said Slagle about her team’s sluggish start.
It was a memorable game for Slagle, though. The senior scored a career-high 26 points.
Pink-Out Night is Geneva’s annual Fundraiser for the Living Well Cancer Center. The team also honored Rose Harmon, Vikings senior Rachel Carlson’s grandmother, who passed away last August after a bout with colon cancer.
“It was really nice to see everyone’s support,” said Rachel Carlson about dedicating the game to her grandmother. “It really made me happy.”
The Vikings regrouped in the second quarter to swish the nets eight times. Cassidy Arni scored 10 of her 18 points in the quarter. Geneva (21-3) also capitalized on Batavia’s foul trouble as the Bulldogs committed their seventh foul early in the period. The Vikings connected on five of nine free throws in the period.
“We just had a slow start. We talked about at the start of the second quarter and I think we just needed to bring just a little bit more,” Meadows said. “And our kids answered to that, and they did a nice job.”
“There were spells out there where we played pretty darn well, and we got off to a really good start,” Batavia coach Kevin Jensen said. “Foul trouble put us into a pretty big hole. There’s not a lot of room for error against them.”
Geneva started the second half with a 34-23 lead. Batavia (14-11, 6-4) narrowed it to 34-28 on Brooke Carlson’s trey from the left wing to start the third quarter. The junior led Bulldog scorers with 15 points.
“Coming out of half, we instantly got it into single digits,” said Jenkins. “And then the floodgates opened.”
Geneva responded with a 17-5 run to open up the game. Slagle and Leah Palmer provided all of the scoring. Slagle tallied nine points while Palmer poured in eight of her 19 points during the streak. Palmer also pulled down 10 rebounds in the game. The quarter ended with the Vikings leading, 57-40.
“My teammates were giving me really good passes and I was just running them to the rim,” Slagle said.
Geneva’s offensive output continued into the fourth quarter, ending with Lillian Ziegler’s 3-point basket in the closing minute.
“We just want to play fast. When we can get out and run, that’s what our kids want to do, push the tempo,” Meadows said.
Geneva’s defense also made offensive contributions.
“We wanted full court pressure through the whole game and the kids did a nice job of that,” said Meadows. “We got some deflections and steals.”
Kylee Gehrt notched 12 points for the Bulldogs.