ELGIN – The Geneva girls basketball team clobbered Elgin the first time the teams met.
On Tuesday in Elgin, the Vikings had to settle for a more modest victory.
The Maroons team gave a valiant effort to keep the game competitive after a 48-point loss earlier in the season but Geneva prevailed in the Upstate Eight Conference River matchup, 48-38.
The first half was dominated by Geneva (15-10, 9-2 UEC River). The Vikings forced 21 turnovers with a full court press that smothered the Maroons’ ball-handlers. That defense and a strong inside game led by senior center Sami Pawlak and her 17 points helped the Vikings control the game early.
“I think we played really well today, we had the middle open a lot because we’re just a bigger team physically than Elgin,” Pawlak said.
But in the second half against Geneva’s reserves, Elgin cut a 22-point halftime deficit to 12 after a driving layup plus a foul for junior forward Anna Eckholm. She missed the free throw, but ended the game with 10 points, including six in the fourth quarter. Other key contributors offensively for the Maroons were senior guard Kristin Tayeng (12 points) and junior forward Jess Ramirez (five).
For the Vikings, the game provided an opportunity for extended minutes for the team’s bench players. Madeline Dunn (five points), Anna Finch (four points) and Janie McCloughan (four points) helped lead the charge.
Coach Sarah Meadows said she wanted to see a little more from her subs.
“This is important going into regionals to see what we have, to see what kids can step up and give us minutes when we need a sub,” Meadows said. “I felt like we didn’t box out as good as we could have, we should be owning the boards. They were getting offensive board after offensive board, and we’re better than that.”
Sidney Santos added nine points for Geneva.
Despite the final score, Elgin coach Nick Bumbales said that his team’s eight wins are the most in the past 10 years for the program, and he was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We have a lot of seasoned veterans, we have some kids that played varsity for two years. ... They just keep battling,” Bumbales said. “They’re a good group of kids.”
Tayeng was also pleased with the team’s unselfishness.
“We did a great job sharing the ball, everyone participated, everyone did their job and, despite the score, it was a great effort,” Tayeng said.
Geneva scored 40 of its 48 points in the first half.