Fast start sets tone in Prospect’s win over Geneva

It was a wire-to-wire win for Prospect Saturday at the 34th annual Coach Derril Kipp Hoopsfest at Montini in Lombard.

The Knights had 13-4 advantage with just four minutes gone by, and led by as many as 14 in a 54-46 win over Geneva.

“We really worked hard on focusing on defensive fundamentals, “ said Prospect coach Matt Weber. “We played team basketball. Geneva has a great player who can score, number 22 (Leah Palmer). They’re a very well coached team and actually they have a lot of people who can score.”

Geneva trailed 26-17 at halftime as Prospect’s defense held the Vikings to just 2-of-14 from 3-point range in the first half.

“We had a slow start, we only had 7 points in the first quarter,” said Geneva coach Sarah Meadows. “We had a big fourth quarter, we scored 22, but we’ve got to figure out a way to get ourselves ready to rock in the first quarter.”

Geneva (12-7) crept closer in the third, but 2 no-doubt-about 3-pointers from Prospect junior Riley Carroll put the Knights up 36-22.

The back-to-back 3s took a little of the life out of the Vikings.

“That kind of just came in the flow of the game,” she said. “I’m a pretty much pass-first type of player, because I’m a point guard, but when I’m open I shoot it and I was feeling it today.”

Led by 11 fourth period points from Palmer (she scored a game-high 18), the Vikings charged back to trail by 8 again with four minutes left.

They had several chances to bring it down to 5, but once again the 3-point ball wasn’t falling.

Four late free throws by Alli Linke (15 points) helped close out the game for Prospect (14-9).

“Our goal is to force (our opponents) into low percentage shots,” said Weber. “We figure that we’re in a good situation defensively if that happens."

Peri Sweeney scored 9 points for Geneva while Palmer added 9 rebounds and 3 steals.

Skylar Splinter paced the Knights with 16 points.

Prospect, like most area schools, was thrown into a bit of disarray over the weekend by the snow and frigid temps.

School and basketball practice was cancelled Friday.

“That really didn’t play into today,” said Carroll, "because we came in on a good note due to our victory Thursday against Rolling Meadows (a 42-35 Knights win).

“We had that under our belt, which was good, and that game prepared us for this. We came out here ready to play no matter what the weather."

The junior added that they worked hard to close the game out despite the frenetic effort of Geneva in the fourth.

“Credit to their 22 (Palmer). That’s a player we know we have to keep our eye on, so we kind of focused on her. We are a defensive team so we buckled down and focused on things on the defensive end.”

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