LOMBARD – The Geneva girls basketball team played without star senior post player Sami Pawlak on Tuesday night, but the Vikings didn’t miss a beat in rolling past Downers Grove North, 60-29, in the Rachel Bach Tournament at Glenbard East.
Pawlak injured the middle finger on her shooting hand in the Vikings’ victory Monday night over Glenbard North.
“She jammed it and then she went to the doctor and they said it was broken,” Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. “They said three-to-four weeks [before she could resume play], but then she went to see an orthopedic [specialist] and he said as tolerated, so hopefully it’ll be feeling better by the end of the week. We’ll see.”
With Pawlak out of the lineup, other Vikings knew they would have to pick up some of the scoring and rebounding slack, including 5-9 senior Kelly Gordon.
“I felt like it was my job to take that post position and grab some boards for us instead of being out as a guard,” Gordon said. “But I enjoy playing post, so it was a good time.”
Gordon finished with nine points and six rebounds. Seven of her points and all but one of her boards came in the first half, as she helped Geneva (3-0) cruise to a comfortable 38-17 halftime lead.
“I feel like we played with a lot more energy today,” Gordon said. “That was our goal – to come out right from the get-go and play with lots of heart and lots of hustle. We did that tonight.”
Those sentiments were echoed by junior shooting guard Morgan Seberger, who continued her strong early-season play with 11 points and four rebounds.
“I thought we played very well from the start, which was amazing,” Seberger said. “Last game, we started off very slow, which is not good, and this game we came out with a bunch of energy and it helped us a lot.”
The score was tied at 7 midway through the first quarter, but then the Vikings went on a 15-2 run to take control. As usual, they forced their opponent into numerous turnovers with aggressive, pressing defense. The Trojans had more turnovers (18) than points in the first two quarters.
“We looked much better tonight,” Meadows said. “We played well together; we passed; we saw the court; pushed the ball. Still, our diamond [press], we’re struggling in that a little bit, but I just thought we played all-around better tonight.”
Junior guard Michaela Loebel was personally responsible for creating a number of Downers Grove North turnovers. She came up with six steals to go along with 10 points.
Junior Sidney Santos scored nine points and secured six rebounds for the Vikings, who will face a talented Crete-Monee team in the tournament championship game at 7:30 p.m Wednesday.
Seberger said the Vikings will feel Pawlak’s absence for that contest.
“For our championship game, I think it’s going to be definitely hard because the team we’re playing is definitely going to be a lot tougher,” Seberger said. “We’re going to have to come out and play hard, play tough, and pick up what we’re losing from Sami.”