Senior center Connor Chapman's nifty post moves were a bright spot for Geneva in Friday's loss to St. Charles East.
On Saturday, Chapman's interior play was a full-fledged revelation.
The 6-foot-5 widebody unloaded on Elgin on Saturday for a career high 31 points, leading the Vikings to an overtime victory.
In his third year on varsity, Chapman, perhaps best known for his contributions on the Geneva football team's offensive line, is showing newfound confidence in his footwork.
"It's something that he worked on in the offseason," Geneva coach Phil Ralston said after Friday's game in St. Charles. "It's been a point of emphasis of his. For a big guy, he's actually pretty nimble on his feet.
"We told him that this season he really needed to have a commanding presence."
Chapman went 7 of 9 from the free throw line against the Maroons in addition to notching a dozen field goals. The OT win improved Geneva to 8-1 on the season.
Managing to crack the lineup
One of the loudest roars of approval from the St. Charles East crowd on Friday came in the final minutes when, with a win against Geneva in hand, St. Charles East coach Pat Woods inserted diminutive guard Joey Schmidt into the lineup.
Schmidt last year served as East's team manager before winning over Woods with his intangibles.
"Last year he didn't make the team, he was a manager for us, he charted plays, charted rebounds, everything," Woods said. "He went through the whole summer [routine], worked out all fall on his game, and unfortunately when you have Dom (Adduci) and Cole (Gentry) and some guys like that ahead of you, for anyone, it would be tough to crack that.
"The thing about him that kind of separates him is his attitude is so good. He's so unselfish. He's not worried about himself. He's there to help try to make these guys better, and he loves the game. We didn't want to not have him be a part of it."
St. Charles East (Proviso West Holiday Tournament) and St. Charles North (Pontiac Holiday Tournament) are part of arguably the state's two most prestigious Christmas-time tournaments, and first-round pairings for both events have recently been released.
At Pontiac, North will face Waukegan in the opening game of the tournament on Dec. 27, a 9 a.m. tip. That game will be a rematch of Sunday's North-Waukegan game at Ridgewood, which North lost, 51-50.
St. Charles East, meanwhile, will open its first season competing in the expanded Proviso West field with a 1:45 p.m. tipoff Dec. 26 against Von Steuben.
IN THE GROOVE
Tyler Maryanski, Marmion, Jr., G
What he did: Maryanski enjoyed a breakout weekend for the Cadets, who won tight games Friday against Buffalo Grove (70-68) and Saturday against Walther Lutheran (74-73). Maryanski scored a game-high 23 points against Buffalo Grove and added 15 against the Cadets.
Connor Chapman, Geneva, Sr., C
What he did: Chapman poured in a career-high 31 points on Saturday, helping Geneva to an overtime win against Elgin. The Vikings' big man also led his team with 14 points and 10 rebounds in Friday's loss to St. Charles East.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LAST WEEK
Sunday isn't St. Charles North's lucky day.
Playing a rare Sunday game as part of a shootout at Ridgewood, St. Charles North dropped a 51-50 heartbreaker to Waukegan. Quinten Payne (21 points), Alec Goetz (12 points) and Chris Preocanin (10 points, nine rebounds) led the North Stars.
WHAT WE'LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD
Whether playing the St. Charles school helps or hurts Batavia in the Bulldogs' efforts to snap a four-game losing streak. The 2-5 Bulldogs face St. Charles North on Thursday before taking on St. Charles East on Saturday in a pair of UEC River matchups.
COACH SLY SAYS
There isn't a team in the area that has been more impressive to Sly than St. Francis so far this season.
Remember the Spartans? They were one of the surprise teams in the whole Chicago area last postseason, pulling off multiple upsets to advance to a 3A sectional championship game.
Well, even though St. Francis lost its stud player off that team, Ryan Coyle, the Spartans are picking up where they left off. They started the year by winning Batavia's Windmill City Classic, and now they're off to a great start in the SCC, including wins against Marmion and Aurora Christian.
You know the saying "Tradition Never Graduates?" At St. Francis, it should be Defense Never Graduates.