The Geneseo High School boys’ basketball team was able to get the monkey off its back when the Leafs earned their first conference win of the season this past week, but the following day Geneseo dropped a non-conference match up with Kaneland.
Geneseo vs. Kaneland
After a win the night before, the Leafs looked for a repeat performance Jan. 28 against Kaneland, but fell short with Kaneland taking the win 55-46.
“We started off great and did carry over the momentum from the Sterling game, but Kaneland is a quality team that is bigger than us,” said head coach Dave Martin. “The majority of our guys came to play, but we didn’t have effort from everybody. We didn’t have everyone focused.”
Kaneland took the early 15-12 lead in the first quarter, but pulled away at the half, 27-19. Kaneland outscored Geneseo 12-7 in the second quarter.
Kaneland posted another 15 points in the third quarter, while the Leafs scored eight for a 42-27 score. Nineteen points by the Leafs in the fourth quarter wasn’t enough to catch Kaneland, who scored 13 in the final minutes, took the road victory 55-46.
Landon Hoon and Drew DeCap paced the Leafs in double figures. Hoon chalked up 16 points off five shots from the field, a three pointer and three free throws, while DeCap notched 12 points as he drained three shots from beyond the arc and three free throws.
Jordan Starkey and Ethan Radue both added six points to the effort — Starkey hit two field goals and two free throws, while Radue knocked down two triples.
Alec Cheek finished the game with four points as he went 4-of-4 from the free-throw line, followed by JJ?Rivera with two points on a field goal.
Geneseo vs. Sterling
A 26-point outing from Starkey helped propel the Leafs to their first conference win of the year over Sterling Jan. 27, 64-49.
“I am very proud,” said Martin. “That is what we have been working so hard for. I don’t know if we were ready to play that type of game a month ago, but we have improved a lot in practice and it finally showed.”
The Leafs who trailed 11-4 at the end of the first quarter managed to claw their way back and take a 10-point lead at the half, 30-20, a lead Geneseo wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the game. The Leafs outscored Sterling, 26-9 in the second quarter.
Geneseo came out in the third quarter and put another 15 points on the board to extend the squad’s advantage to 45-31. The Leafs closed out the game with a 19-point fourth quarter and secure the team’s first win in the NIB 12. Sterling finished the game with 18 points in the fourth.
“I felt like we had a quickness advantage, and we decided to push the ball up the floor and were pretty successful,” said Martin. “Sterling is not use to being down like that to us. I don’t know if they gave up, but I do think we hurt their will.”
Starkey managed to knocked down shots from all over the court Friday night on his way to 26 points. He drained nine shots from the field, a three pointer and five free throws.
“I don’t know if I ever expected that, but last time we played them, he scored 20,” said Martin. “He is just a hard-nosed player.”
Hoon, DeCap and Rivera all raked in nine points toward the win — Hoon hit two field goals, a three pointer and two free throws, DeCap sank two shots from beyond the arc and three free throws, and Rivera scored his nine off four field goals and a free throw.
Cheek helped out with seven points as he hit two field goals and a three pointer, followed by Nathan Yager with three points on a triple, and Austin?Frank had one point on a free throw.
The Leafs (3-15 overall and 1-4 in the NIB?12) will next host Dixon at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7.