ST. CHARLES – It was going to take more than a cut right hand to slow down Morgan Seberger Saturday night.
The Geneva senior poured in 20 points to lead the Vikings to a 63-56 victory against St. Charles East in an Upstate Eight Conference River Division girls basketball battle.
Seberger said she injured her shooting hand early in the second quarter.
“It got a little cut and it kept bleeding,” she said. “First, they had like this weird little bandage on it and at halftime I got it wrapped up. I had to go shoot [before the start of the third quarter] to make sure it felt right.”
Geneva (15-5, 6-2 UEC River) needed Seberger’s hot hand to stave off a determined effort by the Saints (10-13, 3-6), who benefited from some pretty torrid shooting of their own from the likes of Kyra Washington (16 points) and Chloe John (10).
Washington, a 6-foot-1 junior, buried a 3-pointer from the left side with three minutes left in the first quarter to give East its largest lead of the night, 14-6.
“Washington had a nice game,” Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. “They just work hard. They’re just a scrappy team. I told the kids, ‘This is a team that can outwork you if you let them.’ And they showed that they could do that.”
The Vikings responded to the eight-point deficit with a 9-0 run, capped by five straight points from Seberger on a steal and layup and a trey from right of the key. Seberger connected from 15 feet with six seconds left in the quarter to put Geneva ahead, 17-16.
The Vikings were still up by one at the half, 29-28, but Washington sank a 3 from the top of the key at the start of the third quarter to put the Saints back in front.
Sidney Santos scored from beyond the arc a short time later to finally put Geneva in front to stay. Santos, a 6-1 senior, scored all nine of her points in the second half and the Vikings also got contributions inside from 6-2 freshman Grace Loberg (13 points, seven rebounds), 5-10 junior Janie McCloughan (nine points, four rebounds) and 6-0 junior Abby Novak (seven points, seven rebounds).
“Kyra lit us up,“ Seberger said. “[But] then Sidney would hit a shot, I’d hit a shot, we’d have Grace go up for a layup, Abby go for a layup. It was just exciting to finally get going late in the game."
Loberg scored inside to give the Vikings a 43-35 cushion midway through the third, but East refused to die. John hit a 15-footer with four seconds left in the quarter to pull the Saints within 48-46.
East coach Lori Drumtra said she was pleased with her team’s effort, especially in the absence of standout point guard Amanda Hilton, recently lost for the season with a knee injury.“It’s taken us awhile to [learn to] play without Amanda, but I think, especially Katie [Claussner] has really started to take over that spot,” Drumtra said. “And Kyra’s playing better. I mean, I don’t take those two off the floor.”
Claussner, a speedy 5-5 junior guard, slashed her way to 13 points on the night.
Switching from a zone to a man-to-man defense, the Vikings did a better job containing her in the second half. The Saints, on the other hand, had no answer for Seberger, who got open against both zone and man looks. She scored from the right baseline at the start of the fourth quarter, then knocked in a 3-pointer from the wing with under three minutes to play to give Geneva its largest lead at 60-50.
Seberger said the Vikings are looking to close out the regular season in strong fashion with an eye toward an extended postseason run.
"We just want to keep working together and get everyone on the same page to help us get through February and maybe into March,” she said.