For Margaret Whitley and the rest of Geneva’s seniors, it’s time for one last run.
It’s already been quite a four years.
Nine deep, the Vikings’ seniors have combined for 97 wins and counting, and, of course, one state title. The special group’s bond goes a long way back.
“For Senior Night, we had them fill out a questionnaire, and Margaret said one of her favorite memories is she played with some of her best friends since the fourth grade,” Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. “There’s nine seniors. You don’t have that many seniors often. The most we’ve ever had before is eight. It’s pretty cool.”
And, Geneva hopes, not near done yet.
The Vikings (22-3), defending Class 4A champs and a No. 1 sectional seed, open their defense on Feb. 13 at the Schaumburg Regional against the Glenbard North/Schaumburg winner. A third meeting with Batavia could happen in the regional final.
“The last time we played them they left our gym with confidence,” Meadows said. “We didn’t finish strong.”
Wheaton Warrenville South and Glenbard West, seeded second and third, respectively, likely await in the sectional at Lake Park.
Geneva is probably on the short list of state title contenders, along with Montini, Maine West and Edwardsville.
The Vikings, though, aren’t about to get ahead of themselves.
“We have to be able to shoot well, we have to rebound, we have to defend,” Meadows said, “and you have to have a little luck go your way and play your best basketball at the right time. We’ve been fortunate that it’s happened to us.”
North Stars feel battle-tested
St. Charles North (13-12), seeded 10th in the Lark Park Sectional, starts postseason play Feb. 13 against York at the Wheaton Warrenville South Regional.
If anything, the North Stars seem prepared for anything.
“If you look at our schedule this year, we’ve played Geneva twice, Evanston, Maine West, Glenbard West, we played Palatine who won the MSL, we played Lake Park,” North coach Mike Tomczak said. “If they can play, we played them this year. Our kids have certainly been seasoned and a lot of our younger kids have turned the corner.”
Tomczak knows he can pencil in Anna Davern for 13 to 16 points a night. Annie Tate has been a “monster” on the glass, and Leilauni Chanthaboury is playing well. The North Stars, though, still seek consistency.
“In flashes we’ve shown that we can beat just about anybody,” Tomczak said. “We’re looking for that four quarters of sustained execution.”
Rockets ready for
Burlington Central, likewise, feels ready for the postseason rigors.
“We like playing the nonconference games we have the last few weeks,” Rockets coach Mark Smith said. “We played South Elgin, St. Charles North, Rosary. It’s good to step out of the conference and play good teams before the playoffs.”
Smith knows it will be a chore to get out of sectionals.
The Rockets open regional play Feb. 13 at Marengo against the Genoa-Kingston/Belvidere winner, and then likely would get Rock Falls or Marengo in a regional final.
Then it would really get tough.
Glenbard South, Sycamore or Kaneland could await Burlington Central in the sectional. Sycamore is led by Iowa State-bound sophomore Kylie Feuerbach, Kaneland has talented guards Jenni Weber and Jamie Martens, and Glenbard South has 6-foot-3 post Maggie Bair.
“The sectional is really tough,” Smith said. “We feel like we’re playing pretty well at the right time.”
Other first-round matchups
Eighth-seeded Batavia opens regional play Feb. 13 at Schaumburg against Bartlett. St. Charles East, seeded 11th, plays Rolling Meadows on Feb. 13 at Addison Trail.
In Class 3A, Kaneland plays St. Edward on Feb. 13 at the Sycamore Regional, and then will have a likely third meeting with the regional host Spartans. Rosary plays the Aurora Central Catholic/Wheaton Academy winner on Feb. 13 at St. Francis. St. Francis plays IMSA on Feb. 12.