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Boys Basketball: Jack McDonald, Geneva get it done in OT

Vikings' senior sticks two big threes in extra period in 61-56 win over Naperville North

Geneva's Jack McDonald hangs a shot over the St. Charles East defense on Dec. 14 in St. Charles.
Geneva's Jack McDonald hangs a shot over the St. Charles East defense on Dec. 14 in St. Charles.

NAPERVILLE – Jack McDonald knows when the lights are on, it's time to go.

The extra attention and cameras actually threw off McDonald, Geneva's senior guard, a bit Thursday. The game pitting one-loss Geneva and Naperville North, led by Loyola recruit Tom Welch, was the Comcast Game of the Week.

McDonald hardly shrunk in the spotlight.

He stuck two big 3-pointers in overtime, and dominated the extra session with his savvy floor game. Geneva, which blew a six-point fourth-quarter lead, bounced back to beat Naperville North 61-56.

"I try to be patient, get everybody involved, but when I see daylight I'm going," McDonald said. "Down the stretch you got to hit 'em if you're going to win."

McDonald scored 16 points, Kross Garth added 15 – and yeoman defense on Welch – and Mitch Mascari 13 for Geneva (17-1), who's doing a lot of winning this year.

This one meant a little extra.

Naperville North (11-7) last year beat Geneva in a regional final, on the same court.

"Obviously it's a new coach and a new team," Geneva coach Scott Hennig said, "but our guys remember. We have nine seniors in there, and Josh Preston was with us. We circled this one at the beginning of the year."

The Vikings circled the wagons in overtime.

McDonald back-rimmed a contested jumper in the lane at the end of regulation, and Naperville North took the first lead of overtime on freshman Zeke Williams' 3-pointer.

McDonald, like he has in so many of Geneva's close games, had the answer. He drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key in transition, and his three from the right wing rolled in for a 53-50 lead.

Later, McDonald dropped off a sweet pass to Preston for a layup, helping preserve the lead. That's the kind of plays Hennig has come to expect from McDonald, Geneva's all-time assist leader.

"His vision is just outstanding," Hennig said. "He missed that shot at the end of regulation and I said 'Jack, you're human, it was a good look.' He's the best. He kind of willed us tonight."

McDonald missed six of his first seven shots, but he was money late. And Geneva, which led by eight in the third quarter and six in the fourth, needed him.

"When adversity hits we're pretty good at turning things around," McDonald said. "The shots weren't falling, but coach kept telling me to stay confident. Thankfully in overtime they went in."

They also went in for Garrett Sneed, who missed a front end of a one-and-one in the fourth quarter but was 6-for-6 at the line in OT.

Welch had 21 points and 10 rebounds for Naperville North, but they hardly came easy against Garth.

Geneva's 6-foot-6 senior stood his ground in the post, made the 6-7 Welch take a number of tough shots and only gave up one 3-pointer to him.

"I'm just so proud of Kross Garth," Hennig said. "Welch got his 21, but they were earned."

Garth more than did it at the defensive end, too, showcasing his growing offensive game. Garth hit two 3-pointers, the second a contested shot in the third quarter. He later drove and kicked to Ben Johlie for a jumper and then outran Welch down the floor to draw a foul and hit a free throw for a 39-30 lead, Geneva's biggest.

"He's playing out of his mind," McDonald said. "He played awesome defense on Welch. He's a huge part of our success."

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