Geneva plays copycat, turns back Elgin
A quote often attributed to Pablo Picasso reads: "Good artists copy, great artists steal."
If true, Geneva boys basketball coach Phil Ralston ranks among the world's great artists following his Vikings' 49-38 victory over Elgin at Chesbrough Field House Thursday.
Conceding he borrowed from York, which limited Elgin senior guard Arie Williams to 10 points in a 37-point victory in Elmhurst on Saturday, Ralston employed the same tactics to once again limit Elgin's high scorer to 10 points.
Williams scored 26 points against Geneva on Dec. 8, a game the Vikings won 67-65 in overtime.
"I'm not going to lie," Ralston said, "York gave us some ideas from their game last Saturday, some ideas of things we could do a little bit different. But I give a tremendous amount of credit to our guards. Our guards did an excellent job of executing the game plan."
"Coming into the game we knew how good (Williams) was, so we wanted to trap him as soon as he came across half court, put two defenders on him and make him give up the ball and make someone else beat us," said Geneva senior guard Mike Trimble, who teamed with sophomore Pace Temple to stifle Williams. "It worked. He didn't get many good looks. He had all hard shots and it worked out for us in the end."
Williams knew what was coming, but he didn't get much help from his teammates on this night.
"It was a little frustrating that the double was always there," said Williams, who made 3 of the 8 shots to which he was limited, "but when I did give it up we turned the ball over way too many times. It was one pass, or two passes, then a turnover. It was contagious.
"Defensively, I felt we did a pretty good job. Offensively, I feel like we didn't execute at all."
The Maroons led by a point after each of the first two quarters, but Geneva (15-4, 6-2) outscored Elgin (9-10, 1-6) by 6 points in the third quarter as five different Vikings combined for 13 points.
Consecutive field goals from Williams and Tanner Bednar (team-high 12 points, 5 rebounds) drew the Maroons back within 31-28 early in the fourth quarter.
However, Geneva answered with a 7-0 run to build a 10-point lead. Connor Chapman started the burst with a tip-in. Sophomore Nate Navigato (game-high 22 points) followed with a tip of his own, then buried a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to stake the Vikings to a 38-28 lead with 5:07 to play.
Geneva found ways to get open shots, a puzzle Elgin was unable to solve.
"They're always moving and in motion," Bednar said. "We worked on it all week in practice, but we still had trouble getting over those screens on defense."
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