STREAMWOOD – The Geneva boys basketball team’s big guys took awhile to get going, but they eventually took command Thursday for the Vikings in a 66-47 Upstate Eight Conference River Division victory over Streamwood.
Geneva’s trio of 6-foot-7 players – Nate Navigato, Mike Landi, and Loudon Vollbrecht – all scored in double figures against the Sabres, whose tallest player in the starting lineup was 6-3.
“We knew we had a size advantage coming into this game,” said Navigato, who scored 16 points and pulled down seven rebounds. “We’re a big team. We’ve got three 6-7 players. We have Loudon, who’s like 270 [pounds], and Mike and if we didn’t pound it inside, it would have just been a waste of a game here.”
The Vikings (8-2, 3-1) dominated the glass, securing 37 rebounds, 20 more than Streamwood. The Sabres (1-8, 0-4) held an early 6-3 rebounding edge and were up 9-4 before Vollbrecht came off the bench to help give Geneva a spark. He grabbed four rebounds in quick succession, blocked a shot, and put in a couple of baskets in the paint as the Vikings scored 21 of the next 25 points in the game.
“Loudon just takes up so much space inside,” Geneva coach Phil Ralston said. “We just now need to get him to be a more consistent finisher. Man, he’ll really elevate his game at that point.”
Vollbrecht, just a sophomore, had 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Vikings led, 30-21, at the half and scored the first eight points of the third quarter to open up a commanding lead. Geneva’s first 22 points of the second half were scored exclusively by Navigato, Vollbrecht, and Landi, including a slam by Navigato off a nice feed from Justin Durante.
“I think this is the first game we’ve really, really got it going inside,” Navigato said.
The big guys showed they could shoot a little away from the basket, as well. Landi (15 points) connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key in the third quarter and Navigato hit one a short time later from the right side.
“They were switching between man and zone and I thought, by and large, it did not disrupt our flow very much, especially after the first quarter,” Ralston said. “We were getting the kind of shots we wanted and not the kind of shots they wanted us to take.”
Cole Seger scored 18 points to lead Streamwood.
“I thought our guys came out and they played hard,” Streamwood coach Paul Kowalyszyn said. “They stuck to our game plan. They knew what they were supposed to do and I know the scoreboard and people who haven’t been watching us might say, ‘Oh, they lost again. They lost by 19,’ but to me, they improved today. We took a step in the right direction.”
Chris Parrilli scored 8 points and had six rebounds for the Vikings, who host Larkin tonight in an important conference contest.