Not pretty, but Geneva escapes Elgin with win
The Geneva boys basketball team gave host Elgin every opportunity to win Thursday's Upstate Eight River matchup but the Maroons refused to accept the Vikings' generosity.
Geneva held on to win 58-53 despite committing 28 turnovers and missing a pair of super-bonus free throws with a 3-point lead with 12.6 seconds left.
After Nate Santos missed 2 free throws, Elgin's Roy Panthier grabbed the defensive rebound and passed ahead to Matt Turner, who spotted junior Trey Yarber on the right wing.
Yarber had just made a 3-pointer with 13.3 seconds left to draw Elgin within 3 points of the lead. However, his contested 3-point attempt with Santos in his face rattled in and out.
Mitch Mascari grabbed the rebound in the lane, was fouled with 5.3 seconds left and sank both free throws at the other end to allow Geneva (9-5, 2-2) to escape Chesbrough Field House with a victory.
"We should have won by way more than we did," said Mascari, whose game-high 20 points included 8-of-10 fourth-quarter free-throw shooting. "We didn't have our greatest game out there but we finished in the end."
The Vikings committed 15 second-half turnovers.
"We sped them up the whole game and forced them to dribble it off their legs and stuff," said Elgin senior wing John Fortmann, who finished with a team-best 15 points and 3 steals. "The effort was there. We just missed our free throws and that cost us to lose."
Elgin (4-9, 0-5) missed 14 of 17 free-throw attempts. "And 7 layups in the first quarter," Elgin coach Mike Sitter pointed out. "Seven Layups. Usually, the team that plays harder comes out victorious. I thought we really took it to them. We left it all on the court but it was free throws and layups. You're not going to win games if you don't hit the easy ones and those are the easiest ones you get in basketball."
Geneva dominated the rebounding battle 32-18 to somewhat offset its turnovers. The Vikings shot 44 percent from the field (17 of 39) and 36 percent from 3-point range (5 of 14), but first-year coach Scott Hennig didn't like what he saw.
"It wasn't good at all," Hennig said. "Credit Elgin for playing harder. I don't know what's going on. Everyone says were young. We just didn't play well. We didn't shoot the ball well and too many turnovers. Outside of a minute here, a minute there it was not Geneva basketball. I was very disappointed in just being lax with the ball. Silly passes, easy baskets we missed. I wasn't very happy."
Guard Jack McDonald sank 3 of 4 attempts from 3-point range to finish with 11 points for Geneva, which returns to action Tuesday at home against Streamwood.
Xavier Bonds had 11 points and 3 steals and Yarber contributed 9 points for Elgin, which next plays at Batavia on Tuesday.