ELGIN – Wing Arie Williams of Elgin was honored before Thursday’s Upstate Eight Conference River Division boys basketball game against Geneva for recently scoring his 1,000th point.
Geneva made sure he didn’t add many more to that total, slowing the game down on the offensive end and holding Williams to 10 points on the defensive side en route to a 47-36 road win.
According to Geneva coach Phil Ralston, the Vikings had not won a game at Elgin since Jan. 20, 1918.
“Granted, Geneva has not had a tradition of playing Elgin that often, but I still think that is interesting,” Ralston said. “I am sure decades went by without Geneva playing Elgin. Nonetheless, this game was a little bit of history.”
Geneva guard Mike Trimble said Williams was the focus on the Vikings’ defense
“The biggest thing was making sure he didn’t get the ball, but every time he caught the ball, we were trapping him so he couldn’t get shots off,” Trimble said.
“I give a tremendous amount of credit to our guards,” Ralston said. “They did a nice job of executing the game plan. Our other guys in the zone did their job, but it was our guards up top who really helped out.
“Arie single-handedly took us to overtime [a game Geneva won at home] earlier this year. We wanted to make sure if we lost this game, we needed to have somebody else beat us.”
Geneva (15-4, 6-2) scored the game’s first eight points, but Elgin (9-10, 1-7) came back to take an 11-10 lead after one quarter and held the one-point advantage, 19-18, at the half.
The Vikings took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Maroons, 13-7, to take a 31-26 lead heading to the final quarter.
Elgin’s Tanner Bednar scored the first basket of the fourth quarter to make things interesting, but Geneva responded with back-to-back putbacks by Connor Chapman and Nate Navigato and a 3-pointer by Navigato to take a commanding 38-28 lead with 5:02 left.
The Maroons never got closer than eight points the rest of the game.
“We have to take better care of the ball than we did tonight, and that means every kid one through 15, including Arie,” said Maroons’ coach Mike Sitter. “Too many passes slipping out of our hands.You have to get at least one shot every time down the floor. We have to attack the rim a little better. We were a little passive around the perimeter.”
Elgin shot only three free throws, when Williams nailed all three after being fouled on a 3-pointer midway through the first quarter. The Vikings hit 11-of-14 from the line.
Navigato, a sophomore, led all scorers with 22 points, including three triples, and Trimble added 10 for Geneva. Bednar led Elgin with 12 points.
“That is one of our things, to slow the game down a lot,” Trimble said. “We knew they were going to get all over Chapman, so we tried to get other guys open looks, like Nate. He is a great player.”