WEST CHICAGO – After the Geneva boys basketball team squeaked past Addison Trail, 42-41, on a last-second lay-in from Mike Landi, Vikings coach Phil Ralston sighed and lamented that it was better than a loss.
The Vikings’ come-from-behind win was certainly exciting Friday at the West Chicago Tournament, but Geneva probably shouldn’t have been in the position, considering it held the Blazers to only two field goals in the first half and led by 10 points to start the fourth quarter.
A pair of James Pupillo free throws gave the Blazers a 41-40 lead with 14.5 seconds remaining that set up Landi’s, last second lay-in. The winning play was set up perfectly by a driving Cam Cook, who slashed down the center of the lane and threw a one-handed, wrap-around pass to Landi who banked home a lay-up as time expired that gave the Vikings the win.
“When I got it, I was supposed to drive to the hoop and either dish it to either Nate (Navigato) or Mikey or take the shot myself,” Cook said. “I definitely wanted to go all the way in and maybe get fouled. I drove and saw Mikey out of the corner of my eye and just dished it to him at the last second – it worked out pretty well.”
Geneva (3-1) led comfortably throughout the first three quarters, maintaining a double-digit advantage until the final quarter despite its own poor shooting. The Vikings defense held Addison Trail without a field goal for 7:53 of the first quarter and 7:46 in the second to take an 18-7 halftime lead.
The Blazers (1-3) slowly whittled away at Geneva’s lead in the fourth quarter with a mixture of a full-court trap that forced four Vikings turnovers and an offense that finally woke up.
After the Blazers’ Ronald Duling sank a pair of free-throws for Addison Trail that tied the game at 35 with 2:19, Navigato banged home a left corner 3 that provided Geneva a brief 38-35 lead.
With Geneva clinging to a 40-39 lead, Pupillo calmly stepped to the line and rattled home two free throws that gave Addison Trail a 41-40 lead with 14.5 seconds to go.
Geneva called a timeout with five seconds to go that set up Cook’s drive and dish to Landi for the game-winner.
“I was just supposed to screen for Justin and post up and try to get open for the back-door,” Landi said. “It just worked out; I guess they weren’t expecting it, and we just made a play in the last second.”
Addison Trail scored the first bucket of the game just under a minute into the first quarter and didn’t find the score sheet until the start of the second quarter. During that period, Chris Parrilli scored six straight Geneva points to help the Vikings run out to a double-digit lead.
“We had control of the game I thought; credit AT for playing some pretty good defense,” Ralston said. “I thought we ran our sets really, really well we just struggled putting the ball in the hole after the first four minutes of the game. Sometimes you have nights that will be like that. I thought defensively we did a lot of really nice things.”
Parrilli paced Geneva with 12 points, 10 of which came in the first half. Navigato added 11, including two huge 3s in the fourth quarter.