STREAMWOOD – What do you do when your point guard goes down with an injury? Call up a post player to take her place, of course.
Geneva freshman Grace Loberg stepped into the void left by the absence of Michaela Loebel on Friday night and scored 15 points to help the Vikings down Streamwood, 54-41, in Upstate Eight Conference River play.
“Tonight was her first game,” Geneva coach Sarah Meadows noted. “We just moved her up last week. She’s ready, played well tonight. She’s just got to get used to the physicalness and the pace.”
Loebel missed most of last season with a torn ACL, but Meadows said this injury doesn’t appear to be that serious.
“Loebel [on Monday] tweaked her knee a little bit,” Meadows said. “She had an MRI on Wednesday. It is not retorn, we’re just taking our time.”
Loebel’s quick hands made her dangerous in Geneva’s diamond press, while Loberg used her length to create problems for the Sabres (2-6, 1-2). Streamwood committed 35 turnovers in the contest.
“The press looked nice tonight,” Meadows said. “It’s nice to have Grace so long up in the front of that now with Michaela not there. And the same with Janie [McCloughan]. Janie’s so athletic and so quick, she can go side to side real quick.”
McCloughan scored 12 points and nabbed four steals. Her steal and layup gave the Vikings a 7-0 lead just 49 seconds into the game and it looked like Geneva (7-2, 2-1) would blow the Sabres out of the gym. But Streamwood took advantage of some cold shooting by the Vikings and numerous free-throw opportunities to creep back into the game.
Streamwood’s Holly Foret converted a pair of free throws after the officials called a technical foul on Meadows for being out of the coaching box.
“I hadn’t even said one thing to any of them all night,” Meadows said. “I can understand if I was yelling at them and they want to give me a technical. Fine. But I hadn’t even said one thing to them.”
The Sabres eventually pulled to within one at the end of the first quarter when a driving basket by Hannah McGlone made the score 11-10.
McGlone scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, but was in foul trouble throughout the game and eventually fouled out midway through the fourth quarter.
Geneva took advantage of Streamwood turnovers to score eight straight points in the second quarter to open up a 21-12 lead.
“There were two sequences that I thought were the ballgame,” Streamwood coach George Rosner said. “One, when we turned it over three times in a row, and then another one where we turned it over. There were two sequences when the game was still on the line that they scored a bunch of points at once and got too far out ahead for us.”
The second sequence came with the Vikings leading 35-29 in the third quarter. Five Sabre turnovers helped Geneva score 11 unanswered points.
Abby Novak had 11 points and six rebounds for Geneva. She said the experience of playing without Loebel last season helped the Vikings adjust more quickly to her absence this time around.
“We played these roles before,” Novak said. “And then Grace Loberg the freshman stepped up this game and was amazing. … She helped a lot. Sidney [Santos] stepped up and played point guard. Kate Rogers stepped up and played point guard. There were so many kids. Bella [Medina] stepped up and played point guard, so it was great.”
Santos was limited to five points, but secured seven rebounds and passed out nine assists.