The Geneseo boys’ basketball team had a chance to shake up the top of the NIB?12 standings with an upset of host LaSalle-Peru Feb. 17, but Geneseo’s late surge fell short as the Cavaliers survived with a 54-47 victory.
“We came back from 11 down and tied it. We played well and guarded well, but lost track of a guy who hit a three,” said head coach Dave Martin. “We exchanged a few baskets, but in the end missed some good shots that just didn’t go in. It would have been nice to get the win.”
This leaves L-P and Sterling in a tie for the title, which the Cavaliers and Golden Warriors will contend for tonight.
A slow start by the Leafs led to a 17-6 Cavalier advantage in the first quarter. L-P took a 10-point lead into the half, 26-16 after Geneseo scored 10 points in the second to L-P’s nine.
“We came out extremely flat, but we recovered nicely,”?said Martin. “I think one quality of this team is they never quit. I was hoping we will get those tangible rewards in wins because they deserve it.”
The Cavaliers pulled ahead, 40-29 in the third quarter after L-P scored 14 points to Geneseo’s 13. The Leafs rallied in the fourth quarter as the squad posted 18 points and L-P scored 14, but it wasn’t enough to claim the upset.
Landon Hoon led the way for Geneseo as he raked in a team-high 22 points as he drained four shots from beyond the arc, two field goals and went 6-for-8 from the line.
“Landon became a lot more aggressive after the first quarter, which was a big help,” said Martin. “Alec Cheek had a couple nice defensive plays, and JJ Rivera really rebounded well, which is what I have been wanting him to do.”
Alec Cheek and Luke Snyder chipped in eight points apiece — Cheek hit two three pointers and two free throws, while Snyder knocked down two triples and a field goal.
Jordan Starkey finished the game with seven points off three shots from the field and a free throw, while JJ?Rivera hit a field goal for his two points in the game.
The Leafs (5-17 overall and 2-7 in the NIB?12) will close out the regular season at 7:30 p.m. on the road against Dixon tonight. Geneseo will open postseason play at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Dixon Regional against the Dukes.
“We can expect a close game,” said Martin. “Both teams have been in every game they’ve played, despite their records. We played them in a close game at home so we can expect the same thing.
“The key to getting the win is having a good week of practice, and we will have to understand where their shooters are and guard them well.
“There are no real surprises. It just comes down to who comes out and executes,” said Martin of playing Dixon tonight and Monday. “We are hoping to come out with two wins.
“I want to see from our guys continued improvement. It is hard to look from the outside to see how they have improved and see how far they have come. I want to see them continue that and get some rewards.”