WHEATON – Geneva junior point guard Cam Cook yawned just before receiving the inbounds pass to start the second half of Monday’s IHSA Class 4A regional game at Wheaton Warrenville South.
Not only was it an indication of how relaxed Cook and the Vikings were, it was emblematic of what had been a snoozer of a game up to that point. The second half was somewhat less sleep inducing, but Geneva (20-8) still cruised to an easy 43-33 victory over the host Tigers (7-22) behind Connor Chapman‘s 16 points.
No. 12 seed Geneva advances to Wednesday’s regional semifinal against fifth-seeded Hinsdale Central.
The first quarter belonged to Chapman, a 6-foot-5 senior. He scored on a variety of moves in the low post, finding a way to get off a good shot even when Wheaton Warrenville South’s 1-2-2 zone collapsed on him. Chapman scored nine of Geneva’s first 11 points as the Vikings took a seven-point lead.
“We thought we had a bit of a size advantage, so we tried to pound it inside as quick as we could,” Chapman said. “We tried to take advantage early.”
Chapman displayed a great deal of finesse and some fancy footwork in spinning to the basket on several shots.
“He spent a lot of time in the offseason working on his footwork and I think that has made a big difference,” Geneva coach Phil Ralston said. “We told him going into this game that this is a game you should just dominate inside and he took care of business.”
Chapman grabbed nine rebounds to help the Vikings dominate the glass.
The only offense by the Tigers in the first half came from 6-4 junior forward Aidan Hernandez off the bench. He scored all eight of Wheaton Warrenville South’s first-half points.
The Vikings got 3-pointers from Mike Trimble and K.J. Santos in the second quarter, helping them take a 19-8 lead into the half.
Geneva employed a creative defense to start the game with Chris Parrilli and Mike Trimble guarding Wheaton Warrenville South senior Michael Kramer 1-on-1 and the rest of the Vikings playing a 1-3 zone.
“We’ve had to use some gimmick [defenses] this season that we felt gave us a better opportunity to win,” Ralston said. “I thought they did an absolutely phenomenal job defensively.”
The Vikings limited Kramer to three points and no field goals and kept him off the scoreboard until just 2:49 remained in the game, By then the outcome was no longer in doubt.
Wheaton Warrenville South took advantage of six third-quarter turnovers by Geneva to try to make a game of it, pulling to within 27-21 on a drive by Keishawn Watson late in the third quarter, but Parrilli answered with a trey from the left side and sophomore Nate Navigato scored inside early in the fourth quarter to push the margin back to 11.