GENEVA – The Geneva boys basketball team had an answer to Elgin’s lethal perimeter shooting in Saturday’s Upstate Eight Conference River Division game: Connor Chapman.
The 6-foot-5 senior center scored a career high 31 points in the Vikings’ 67-65 overtime win against the Maroons. Chapman scored eight of those points in the extra period.
“He had a whale of a game,” Geneva coach Phil Ralston said. “Even for his size, he’s very nimble on his feet. That’s a point of emphasis from last year. We wanted to see him continue to work on that footwork. He’s done a great job so far.”
“We wanted to stop him from going to his left shoulder and we didn’t do that,” said Elgin coach Mike Sitter. “We wanted to stop him from getting second shots and we didn’t do that.”
The Vikings (8-1, 2-1 UEC River) successfully worked the ball inside to Chapman. He sank 12 baskets from close range and was 7 for 9 from the free throw line.
“We wanted to pound inside because they have only one big guy and the emphasis was definitely getting it into the paint,” Chapman said. “There were a lot of mismatches and I was able to get easy layups.”
Elgin (4-3, 1-1) needed almost the entire first half to solve Geneva’s zone defense.
“It was the first box and one we’ve seen this year. We got a couple of things that we do against that,” Sitter said. “One is to get Arie (Williams) the ball or use him as a decoy.
"Once the kids saw that a few times on the floor we got a little more comfortable and starting hitting some shots.”
The Maroons ended the first half with two treys, only their third and fourth of the night to close a 10 point gap to six, 34-28.
Three of Elgin’s five baskets in the third quarter were from beyond the arc as the Maroons continued to whittle away at the Vikings' lead.
Maroon Isaiah Butler (14 points) got off a long two as the buzzer sounded to tie the game at 43 at end of the third quarter
The two teams traded the lead during the last quarter.
Williams, who led Elgin scorers with 26 points, hit a three with 2:23 left in the game to put his team on top, 55-54. Eric Sedlack (10 points) sank a free throw to widen the Maroons’ lead to 56-54.
With only 54.9 seconds left in the game, Chapman went to the free throw line and connected on both shots to retie the game at 56.
Elgin was unable to repeat the third quarter ending as a Moses Gibson shot bounced off the rim as time expired.
Geneva took the lead in the overtime period on Chapman’s first of four baskets.
Mike Trimble (11 points) connected on two free throws to lengthen the lead to 60-56.
Chapman scored from underneath on Geneva’s next three possessions to widen the gap to 66-61.
Williams hit five consecutive free throws, putting Elgin only one point down, 66-65.
Geneva’s Pat McCaffrey (nine points) scored the last point of the game, a free throw with 14.7 seconds left. Elgin was unable to get off another shot.
Ralston was also pleased with his team's composure during the game
“It’s nice to see our guys had the resolve to really stay with it and stay mentally tough," Ralston said. "That was a really good sign for our team."