Geneseo earns a blowout victory after a 13-day layoff

Geneseo needed a timeout, which seemed like an odd concept with the Maple Leafs’ basketball team coming off a 13-day layoff between games.

However, the Maple Leafs’ heads were spinning on the court in Geneseo on Jan. 3.

After picking up four fouls in the opening two minutes of the second half, Coach Brad Storm saw Geneseo needed a breather.

“I told them they were playing hard but without any intensity,” Storm said. “Our offense didn’t have any crispness or flow to it and the shots didn’t feel right.”

Following the third quarter timeout, the Maple Leafs’ offense came to life and buried the Cardinals, 57-38.

Every time Geneseo (4-5) was poised to blow open the game in the first half, Erie (7-10) would have a surge to get back in striking distance.

With Geneseo leading 22-19 at halftime, the Leafs’ foul trouble allowed Erie to sink a pair of free throws to make it a one-point game.

After Storm’s timeout, Geneseo seemed to hit restart.

The Leafs began being more patient with the ball and finding a rhythm.

Geneseo’s Jacob Pauley and Isaiah Rivera each hit a 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions to give the Leafs a 30-23 advantage.

Pauley opened the game with a breakaway dunk and added another later in the first half.

Pauley’s dunk ignited the Maple Leafs’ crowd, but the team was never able to build on that momentum.

“No one was really in attack mode,” Pauley said. “We were just playing at their level instead of putting them away.”

Rivera was electric scoring 21 points and a team-leading eight rebounds.

A freshman, Rivera’s AAU experience has prepared him to play well at the varsity level, but the learning curve for Rivera has been developing a comfort level with a team of mostly seniors.

“I feel more comfortable getting some games under my belt,” Rivera said. “I haven’t played with these guys a whole lot. Now, I know how to play along with them, and they know how to play along with me.”

Attacking on defense with more intensity allowed Geneseo to create some fastbreak opportunities.

Cayson Frerichs’ steal at midcourt led to an easy layup for a 39-28 Geneseo lead.

On the inbound, Frerichs tipped the pass into the hands of the Leafs’ Matthew Ganson who scored a three-point play.

Pauley finished with 13 points, three assists, and three steals.

Geneseo’s Anthony Bravata scored nine points, and Charlie Wiese and Kyle Wise each scored two points.

Geneseo’s next home game will be against Sycamore on Friday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m.