Depth helps Geneva rally for key DuKane win at Lake Park
Geneva's Jimmy Rasmussen shook his head in frustration early in Wednesday's game.
The senior guard set up for a wide open 3-pointer from the corner midway through the first quarter. He calmly positioned his feet to launch a 3-pointer, but his long shot smacked off the side of the backboard.
The Lake Park student section gave Rasmussen an earful for his errant shot.
"I hit that backboard, but just knew I had to keep shooting," Rasmussen said, smiling. "The (fans) were screaming at me, but I knew I had to just lock in and could make my shots. I like this gym, and like how bright it is in here. I normally shoot pretty well here."
Rasmussen showed his one bad shot was just an aberration, living up to his words with a big performance at Lake Park. Rasmussen buried three 3-pointers in the first quarter to finish 21 points to lead the Vikings to a 53-49 victory over the Lancers in DuKane Conference play.
The 6-foot-1 Rasmussen canned five 3-pointers, while scoring 6 points in the fourth quarter to help the Vikings erase a 4-point deficit. His 3-point play - on a strong drive to the basket off the glass and free throw - was the key moment of the game that gave the Vikings (15-3, 5-1) a 52-49 lead with 64 seconds left.
Rasmussen's prolific effort helped steal the spotlight from Lake Park's Camden Cerese. The junior guard had another highlight-reel filled game, scoring from all over the court. Cerese poured in 32 points - 8 shy from his career-high against Wheaton North - but was held to 4 points in the fourth quarter.
"(Camden) is a really good player, and he got me a few times," Rasmussen said. "We knew he was a really good midrange shooter. We were just trying our best to contain him. It didn't really work. This win is huge for us. We have to just keep going."
With the win, the Vikings extended their winning streak to 11 in a row and gained a major step up over Lake Park in the conference standings. The Vikings, unlike the Lancers (10-7, 5-2), took a more collective approach to the victory, with 5 players scoring at least 6 points. Michael Lawrence, Tanner Dixon and Jack Hatton all scored 7 points.
"I thought the defense did a good job in the second half," Geneva coach Scott Hennig said. "Camden really hurt us, and we gave up a lot of points in the first half. We did a better job in the second half making him take tough shots.
"Jimmy really helped us, but we had a bunch of guys step up. I thought we were pretty balanced, but then Jimmy kicked into gear. This is a grind of a season. We did a great job."
The 6-foot-1 Cerese played a solid two-way game, controlling the tempo and finding his spots for high percentage shots, all while playing solid defense. Cerese scored 14 points in the first quarter, but the Vikings' defense clamped down on him, especially in the final 2 minutes.
"It's a disappointing loss because we were up in the fourth quarter," Lake Park coach Billy Pitcher said. "We had plenty of opportunities. This is our seventh loss, and all of them have been by less than five points. It's one or two points. I thought tonight we got out-toughed."