The first half featured a 10-minute delay when the lights went out in Mack Olson Gym.
Late in the third quarter, Geneva’s boys basketball team shot the lights out during a 14-2 run that snapped a 30-30 deadlock and enabled the Vikings to earn a 58-51 win over visiting South Elgin (2-4) in Upstate Eight Conference crossover action Saturday.
After a 3-pointer by Storm junior guard Darius Wells (10 points, 3 steals) tied the game at 30-30 with 3:42 left in the third quarter, Geneva sophomore Nate Navigato retaliated with a 3-pointer of his own to give the Vikings the lead for good.
Connor Chapman (7 points, game-high 13 rebounds, 4 assists) added a 3-point play on Geneva’s next possession and Mike Trimble (12 points) received a feed from Navigato and drained a 3-pointer from the corner nearly a minute later to end the third quarter.
“Credit my teammates,” said Navigato, who paced the Vikings with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 accuracy at the free-throw line while adding 5 assists. “When I had an open look, they passed it to me.”
“They hit some threes,” Storm coach Chaz Taft said of the Vikings. “They did a good job of overloading the zone and you can’t leave Nate (Navigato) open. He’s a good shooter.”
With the win, Geneva improved to 7-0.
“It’s awesome,” said Navigato, whose team visits St. Charles East (4-1) Friday night. “Coach (Phil) Ralston said after the game that if we win our next one, it’ll be the first time in 40 years that we’re 8-0.”
Pleased by his team’s fast start, Ralston cautions against looking too far ahead.
“It’s better to be 7-0 than 0-7,” said Ralston. “But we’re not naďve enough to think that we’re the cat’s meow yet. Tonight’s game showed that we still have things we need to work on.
“It’s great that we’re 7-0 but we’ve still got 3 ˝ months of the season left and we need to continue to try to improve,” the coach added.
Hitting 4 of its first 5 shots, Geneva jumped out to an early 9-2 lead and held a 15-10 first-quarter advantage thanks in part to Anthony Bragg’s buzzer-beating layup.
Early in the second quarter, a blown fuse left players from both teams in the dark for a brief time before play resumed.
South Elgin trimmed its halftime deficit to 23-19 on Wells’ 3-pointer and took its first lead of the game at 25-24 early in the third quarter on a 3-point basket by freshman guard Matt Smith.
Smith provided instant offense in the second half for the Storm, scoring 23 of his game-high 26 points.
“He’s got a lot to learn about the point guard spot and I’m pretty tough on him,” said Taft. “But him, Wells and (Matt) McClure — they’re the guys who run our team.”
According to Taft, there’s a fine line between winning and losing.
“It just comes down to the little mistakes that add up throughout the game,” said the coach. “We let up that basket at the end of the first quarter and later we throw a ball to a man who isn’t even looking. I’m not happy because I do not like to lose but getting these guys to understand their roles and getting them to play a little out of their comfort zone, that’s the name of the game.”
Despite the win, Ralston wasn’t particularly pleased with his team’s second-half defense.
“The reality is this was arguably our worst defensive game all season,” said Ralston. “We gave too much room to their shooters. Every time they ran a set, we did a great job of taking them out of it but when they went to the dribble-drive, we did a terrible job of communicating with our switches.
“We need to polish our product and put forth our best effort.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.