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Bruised Vikings handle Streamwood

GENEVA – The Geneva boys basketball team dealt Streamwood an early knockout blow while continuing to absorb a few bothersome bruises of their own.

The injury-hampered Vikings emptied their bench by necessity during Friday’s 59-33 Upstate Eight Conference River trouncing of Streamwood.

Already without starting point guard Cam Cook (deep thigh bruise) and reserve guard Justin Durante (concussion), two more Geneva regulars were knocked out of Friday’s game as forward Anthony Bragg suffered an apparent broken nose and forward Kyle Brown left with what coach Phil Ralston said is a likely high ankle sprain.

“We already had to raid our sophomore group and bring up [Pace Temple] just to kind of give us some added depth, and then we lose more kids,” Ralston said. “So obviously we’re concerned from that, but it was nice that we had all of our boys able to get in there and actually work at their game in a competitive setting. I think that will help make us better.”

As far as Streamwood is concerned, the Vikings were plenty good enough on Friday, when Geneva (9-1, 3-1 UEC River) was in full command by halftime, ahead 30-11 against the cold-shooting Sabres.

Geneva senior center Connor Chapman, who played sparingly in the second half, scored all 11 of his points in the first half, while sophomore forward Nate Navigato tallied a game-high 15 points to go with seven rebounds.

A joint effort by both Navigato and Chapman kept an offensive rebound alive after junior Jason D’Amico split a pair of free throws in the second quarter, and the ball found its way back into the hands of D’Amico, who drained a three-pointer to give the Vikings a 26-9 lead with 3:10 left in the opening half.

That play was part of a solid, nine-point night off the bench for D’Amico, who played much more than usual with Geneva’s depth strained.

“I was really nervous,” D’Amico said. “First three I had, I didn’t think that was going in. I let it go just saying ‘Oh, no.’”

Senior guard Luke Polishak (six points), Brown (five points), Bragg (four points) and Billy Douds (three points) all chipped in as Geneva’s bench kept the Sabres (4-5, 1-3 UEC River) at bay despite the Vikings’ woeful free throw shooting in the second half.

Ralston was relatively relieved that Bragg’s third quarter injury was just a broken nose. Bragg went face-first into Polishak’s knee, an incident that Ralston said looked “pretty bad in the moment.”

The Vikings’ lead swelled to 45-19 by the end of the third quarter as Streamwood continued to misfire and be outworked on the glass.

“I do think we caught Streamwood on a little bit of an off night,” Ralston said. “I know that they’re certainly a much better team than they reflected.”

The Sabres started conference play with an upset win against Larkin, one of the conference’s front-runners.

“We’re either really, really good, or we’re really, really, not so good,” Streamwood coach Tim Jones said. “There’s no middle ground for us.”

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