BATAVIA – The Geneva boys basketball program takes pride in its ability to run half-court offense with precision.
When the Vikings can add a flurry of transition baskets to their usual efficiency in the half court, look out, as Batavia found out in Friday’s 68-47 victory for the visiting Vikings.
Geneva held a modest 26-20 lead at halftime but ran its rivals off the floor during a third quarter burst that featured plenty of uptempo production.
“Everyone was on board, everyone was into it,” Geneva senior guard Chris Parrilli said. “We played great together. We played really good basketball today.”
The Vikings quickly doubled their advantage from six to 12 points in the opening minutes of the second half.
Geneva senior Justin Durante supplied a driving basket to make it 28-20. Then, Vikings senior point guard Cam Cook nabbed a steal and raced upcourt, converting a nimble, twisting basket while being fouled. Cook missed the free throw, but junior Nate Navigato poached the rebound and scored to make it 32-20 before some fans returned to their seats from halftime.
Cook, Parrilli and Navigato keyed the Vikings’ third quarter brilliance. A buzzer-beating Cook jumper made it 48-27 Vikings as Geneva outscored Batavia in the quarter, 22-7.
“This might have been Cam Cook’s best game that he’s had for us,” Geneva coach Phil Ralston said. “We’ve been kind of looking for him to have this kind of control at the point because we knew he’s capable of it. Boy, did he have a bust-out night tonight.”
Parrilli and Navigato scored 20 points each for Geneva (5-1, 1-0 Upstate Eight Conference River) while the ball-hawking Cook (11) and sophomore big man Loudon Vollbrecht (10) also scored in doubles figures.
Batavia (2-2, 0-1 UEC River) played three straight overtime games to start the season last week but despite returning a couple key players from its state championship football team, the Bulldogs were out of sorts in this one.
Last year’s leading scorer, Micah Coffey, made his season debut six days after quarterbacking the Bulldogs football team to the state title but understandably didn’t have his basketball legs under him yet, scoring all four of his points from the foul line.
Batavia’s student section still was in football mode, too, often redirecting the focus from the unfavorable scoreboard to the Bulldogs football state title and Batavia’s football win over Geneva this fall.
The Geneva student section responded with humor, chanting “Just like tennis” in the game’s late stages.
“The times where you could really feel the outside pressure, the fans were getting into it, you could kind of see that our guys were still under control, they were still running our stuff, they were still playing hard on defense,” said Ralston, whose team heads downstate to compete in a shootout at the University of Illinois today. “You usually don’t see that from a team.”
Parrilli said it might not be out of the ordinary to see the Vikings thrive in the open court as often as they did Friday.
“We’ve kind of not known for that in the past but just with the skill we have this year, just the different players, we know we can play to our strengths, and that’s definitely one of them,” Parrilli said.
Batavia junior forward Chasen Peez led his team with 13 points, all of them coming in the fourth quarter.
Bulldogs coach Jim Nazos said the game confirmed the Bulldogs have a long road ahead to become the team they want to be.
“We’re just going to have to sweat and work and strain through it a little bit,” Nazos said. “There were a lot of things that went wrong for us defensively.”