It says something about the start Geneva is off to this year that after seeing his team shoot 69 percent from the field, win the rebounding battle, commit just 6 turnovers and beat Lake Zurich by 30 points Friday that coach Phil Ralston had to pause and think whether it was his team’s best game.
Geneva (4-0) won its fourth straight at West Chicago’s first annual Turkey Classic, shooting a sizzling 90 percent in the first quarter and 81 percent in the first half of a 71-41 victory that clinched the tournament championship. The Vikings conclude tournament play Saturday against Addison Trail.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve had back-to-back 30-point wins. Our boys played really well,” Ralston said.
“That (6 turnovers) is something that is uncharacteristic at this point of the season to see kids who share the ball as well as these do and make crisp passes. That’s been a nice thing so far is usually at the beginning of the season you have a lot more turnovers and you get better as the season progresses but the kids have been phenomenal about that.”
Sophomore Nate Navigato continued his strong start to his varsity career with game-highs of 20 points and 8 rebounds on 8-of-10 shooting from the field including a perfect 3 of 3 on 3s.
“I think it was we had a good warm-up and we focused and we knew it was a big game because if we won the championship was ours,” said Navigato, who hit the game-winner against Marmion in his first varsity game Monday. “We just played our hearts out.”
Lake Zurich (2-2) came out just as hot as the teams combined to make their first 11 shots from the field. When Mike Travios swished a 3 for the Bears they were 5 of 5 — and still trailed 14-12 as Navigato drained three early 3s of his own.
“We’ve got the best skilled shooting guard team we’ve had in a long time,” Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher said. “But the problem is we think we can outscore the other team. We’re not able to keep that up. We’ve got to get some stops defensively.”
Those stops never came as the Vikings closed the first quarter on an 11-2 run to put themselves on a 100-point pace up 25-14. The final 9 points came on a Mike Trimble 3 sandwiched by a pair of 3s from Chris Parrilli.
Geneva hit all 6 of its 3-point attempts in the first quarter and finished 9 of 13 for the game.
“We knew they were a good shooting team,” Pitcher said. “They can really stroke it. You don’t just become a good shooting team overnight, they really work at it. And we just gave them too many open looks. They made us pay.”
The Bears only made just 1 shot in the second quarter, a layup by Ryan Roach, to fall behind 36-16 at halftime.
One of Geneva’s baskets came when Navigato got ahead of the defense and started to soar in for what looked like a slam, but the 6-foot-6 forward laid it in instead.
“All my teammates were giving me all this stuff for how it wasn’t a dunk and everything,” Navigato said. “I’m not counting it as a dunk, it wasn’t. I didn’t want to blow a dunk or anything so I just kind of laid it up there.”
Geneva led by at least 17 points throughout the second half as its reserves including Cam Cook (9 points, 5 assists) and Luke Polishak (7 points) kept increasing the margin.
“Kids are coming off the bench and filling their roles and executing very well,” Ralston said.
Parrilli joined Navigato in double figures with 11 points, Trimble added 9 and Connor Chapman 8.
“When the offense is moving and we’re getting crisp passing from kids it’s funny how big the basket looks sometimes because you are in a rhythm,” Ralston said.
Travios led the Bears with 16 points and Brad Kruse scored 10.
“Kind of up and down,” said Pitcher of a tournament that concludes for the Bears Saturday against Marmion. “When we’ve played aggressive we’ve been better. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll walk out of here with a winning record.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.