Maple Leafs fall against IVC 49-45 in the Dunlap Regional quarterfinal

The Geneseo boys’ basketball team finished out the regular season with games against Kaneland and Rochelle and competed in the Dunlap Regional quarterfinal.

Geneseo at Kaneland

Jarron Nordstrom helped rally Geneseo to a 60-55 victory over the Knights on Feb. 23.

A senior, the Maple Leafs’ Nordstrom finished with 23 points including a pair of 3-pointers that kept Geneseo’s comeback hopes alive after falling behind in the first half.

Geneseo trailed by as many as 11 points until a Nordstrom 3-pointer gave the Leafs a third-quarter lead.

The Maple Leafs’ Isaiah Rivera finished with 15 points.

Geneseo hit 6-of-7 free throws in the fourth quarter to help ice the game.

Geneseo at Rochelle

Rivera and Nordstrom played lights out but some lapses late cost the Maple Leafs.

Rivera and Nordstrom combined to score 45 points, but the Hubs scored a 65-56 victory over Geneseo in the regular season finale on Feb. 24.

A sophomore, Rivera finished with 29 points including 11 points in the fourth quarter.

Nordstrom finished with 16 points including four points in the fourth quarter.

Rochelle led 34-27 at halftime, but Geneseo close the gap to 45-41 by the end of the third quarter.

Angel Aguirre scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to help close out the game for the Hubs.

The Leafs’ Jacob McConnell scored six points, and Kaden Rink made 1-of-2 from the free-throw line.

Geneseo’s Mick Haverland and Ty Johnson each scored two points.

Class 3A Dunlap Regional

Geneseo battled to come back and tie the game in the fourth quarter, but the Maple Leafs’ mistakes proved costly in the regional quarterfinal against Chillicothe (IVC) on Feb. 26.

IVC defeated the Maple Leafs 49-45 to end Geneseo’s season with a 9-18 record.

After a fast-break dunk by Rivera and a pair of free throws by Nordstrom, Geneseo looked in control taking a 7-2 lead early in the first quarter.

However, tenth-seeded IVC snapped into action and eighth-seeded Geneseo began to play passive and safe.

“A lot of times kids are afraid of making mistakes,” Geneseo Coach Brad Storm said. “Then they play safe, and basketball is a game of mistakes. We tried to preach it all year, you have to have that intensity. Making mistakes is OK, but you can’t go out there and just exist on the basketball court or be a spectator.”

“We played so tight and safe in the first half,” Geneseo Coach Brad Storm said. “You can’t do that at regional time. We wanted to be the aggressors, but instead, it felt like we were playing safe.”

The Grey Ghosts started making plays and took an 8-7 lead by the end of the first quarter.

The Grey Ghosts Kaiden Truninger got hot hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to start the second quarter, and he hit another to extend IVC’s run to 19-0.

Rivera made a jumper in the lane to end the scoring streak 21-9 with 2:25 remaining in the first half.

Geneseo fell behind IVC 22-12 by halftime, and the Grey Ghosts scored on their first two possessions of the second half to extend the lead to 26-12.

The Maple Leafs started to play with more urgency and vaulted themselves back into the game by going on an 18-6 run.

However, mistakes at key times made the path tough for Geneseo.

After what looked like a stop on defense trailing 34-32, IVC grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled for a three-point play.

“That, I thought, was a turning point,” Storm said. “We had two guys right there who could have got the rebound, but we didn’t do it. That’s just not stepping up and making the play, and their kids did. You can’t do that in a regional and expect to move on.”

IVC played a box and one defense to try to slow down Rivera’s ability to get to the basket.

Rivera finished with a team-high 17 points, but his ability to distribute helped Geneseo’s comeback charge.

A highly touted college recruit, Rivera countered by facilitating in the second half setting up easy scores in the post for teammates and good looks for Nordstrom from the elbow.

Nordstrom finished with 14 points including seven points in the third quarter.

“He’s been exceptionally good at the end of the year,” Storm said. “It’s great for him. You felt bad for him being sidelined his junior year.”

Rink made a pair of free throws to tie the game at 41 with a 1:29 remaining.

After IVC scored to retake the lead, Nordstrom hit a tough jumper to tie the game.

The Grey Ghosts took advantage of Geneseo turnovers and finished off the game at the free-throw line.

IVC’s Truninger finished with 21 points.

The Leafs’ Rink scored six points, and Griffin Tracey finished with four points.