WHEATON – Not having Grace Loberg in the lineup was not a problem for the Geneva girls basketball team Tuesday.
Playing without the 6-foot-2 freshman, who has been their leading scorer much of the season, the Vikings rolled past Glenbard West in a Class 4A Regional semifinal at Wheaton North, 51-32.
Loberg was wearing a boot on her left foot after suffering an ankle sprain playing volleyball Monday morning. Her status for the remainder of the postseason is unclear.
“We don’t know yet,” Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. “Everything came back negative as to a break. … We’re going to have her move on it tomorrow.”
It took Geneva (22-5) three seconds to get on the scoreboard as Janie McCloughan (10 points) scored off the opening tip, and the Vikings were off to the races. They scored the first seven points of the game and led, 23-7, after the first quarter.
Junior Abby Novak scored seven of Geneva’s first 15 points and senior Morgan Seberger took over the scoring load from there. She had 14 of her 20 points in the first half as the Vikings opened up a 40-12 halftime lead.
“We need to start strong and show we want this – this is our year,” Seberger said. “We just want to keep working together to get the win.”
Geneva scored a lot of points in transition in the opening half, forcing the inexperienced Hilltoppers (who start three juniors and two sophomores) to turn the ball over 15 times. Sidney Santos had five steals for the Vikings to go along with eight points.
“Our first half was really good,” Seberger said. “Every game you want to start off hard. You want to show you’re ready. You’re just working your butt off to a get a steal, a tip, anything.”
A steal and layup by Seberger gave the Vikings a 38-9 lead 3:30 before halftime.
“Morgan played a real good, aggressive game,” Meadows said. “She hit some 3s early, which helps her confidence.”
With the outcome of the game essentially no longer in doubt, Geneva appeared to be on auto-pilot in the second half. A basket by Seberger gave the Vikings a 30-point lead at 44-14 midway through the third quarter.
To their credit, the Hilltoppers (3-26) kept battling to the end, finally getting the deficit under 20 on a 3-pointer by Caylin Potter late in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore Ellen Daniels had eight points and six rebounds for Glenbard West. Even without Loberg, Geneva won the battle on the boards, 34-25, with 5-foot-10 senior Madeline Dunn securing eight rebounds.
The Vikings will face Wheaton North (19-9) at 7 p.m. Thursday in the regional championship game.
“They’re a real good team,” Meadows said. “It’ll be a real good game. Their defense is really, really good. We’ve got to be able to control the tempo and control the ball in the half court.”