Which is more rare: a Geneva game without the Vikings' 1-2-2 full-court diamond press or a correspondence that doesn't mention it?
While this note would seem to favor the former, it's important either way to document that the Vikings didn't use their longstanding signature during Friday's 60-56 home win against Batavia.
With speedy point guard Michaela Loebel (torn ACL) sidelined for the season, Geneva still is deciding which player to integrate at the top of the press. Senior Sami Pawlak is an option, but coach Sarah Meadows is wary about risking early foul trouble for the versatile forward.
"We definitely have to practice that [press] a little more, because that [through] the years has been one of our strongest assets," Pawlak said. "But we're not there yet. We're going to get there soon, though, because we're working on it a lot in practice."
Added Meadows: "It's not gone for good; it's just in the back right now."
Geneva defended Batavia differently than in past seasons thanks to a heavier post presence. Pawlak, Sidney Santos and Abby Novak all have the ability to score and rebound inside, giving senior Ellen Dwyer less of a run-and-gun responsibility at point guard.
Even as Batavia held the lead for much of the night until the final minutes, Geneva didn't budge."
"We didn't really expect the press to come, but if it was, we had a game plan to break it," Bulldogs junior guard Liza Fruendt said. "But their press is very, very hard to play with."
Oh, very young
Another week, another chance for Batavia coach Kevin Jensen to laud freshmen Hannah Frazier and Bethany Orman.
Frazier, a post, had 18 points and 12 rebounds points in a home victory against St. Charles North on Nov. 27 before Orman's nine points from the backcourt kept the team close at Geneva.
"I think there were a couple moments when the freshmen showed they were freshmen, but they both had a solid effort [Friday]," Jensen said. "That's going to make them better down the road. Because we're going to have a game against Waubonsie Valley. We're going to go to Oswego to play Minooka, Neuqua Valley and probably somebody else real good. We're going to go Montini and play someone real good. We're going to see Geneva again."
Spartans find resolve
A trying run through Willowbrook's Thanksgiving tournament has spurred a recent run for St. Francis, including wins in its first two Suburban Christian Conference Gold games against Wheaton Academy and Marian Central.
"We played in a very challenging Thanksgiving tournament and took our lumps," Spartans coach Mike Phillips said. "We're hoping that experience helps us down the road. We're trying to focus in on these conference opponents and really focus on our defense, especially."
IN THE GROOVE
St. Charles North, Sr., G
What she did: Silverman keyed North's first victory of the season, scoring 14 points in Tuesday's 45-40 home win against Grayslake Central.
What the Royals did: Limited Guerin to 12 points in Monday's Suburban Christian Conference Gold rout. The Royals rolled, 44-12, to improve to 2-0 in league play.
WHAT WE LEARNED LAST WEEK
St. Charles North is off the schneid. The North Stars followed eight successive road or neutral-court losses to open the season with Tuesday's 45-40 victory against Grayslake Central in its home opener. Alex Silverman (14 points) and Nicole Davidson (10) played key games for the North Stars.
WHAT WE'LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD
How Kaneland stacks up against DeKalb. The Knights were unbeaten entering Thursday's Northern Illinois Big 12 East game against Sycamore. The Barbs are coming off a 25-6 season that included a supersectional appearance. The teams are set to meet Tuesday at DeKalb.
COACH SLY SAYS
Something tells Sly we'll see that Geneva press again, but boy, wasn't that a different feeling to a Vikes-Dogs showdown without it?
It's intriguing to see Batavia get so close to its rivals after years of not-so-close games. The teams will play again early next month, and here's hoping for another nail-biter.
We'll see if the result is encouraging news for the other contenders in the UEC River.