Inspiration can come from more than just X’s and O’s.

Inspiration can come from more than just X’s and O’s.

The Geneseo girls’ basketball team started the season reading a book about achieving goals and are closing it out by rewriting the school record books.

The Lady Leafs extended their winning streak to 13-games and closed the door on the Northern Illinois Big 12 West Conference title with a 43-33 victory over runner-up Ottawa, in Geneseo, on Feb. 2.

Geneseo has drawn inspiration from reading the book, “Chop Wood Carry Water,” by Joshua Medcalf, which is about a character’s journey to achieve lifelong goals.

While the Lady Leafs have reached their goal of winning their first NIB 12 title since 2012, the thing that sets them apart is simple.

“We have so much chemistry together,” Geneseo’s Tori Verbeck said. “We don’t care who scores as long as we come away with the win.”

With Ottawa cutting Geneseo’s lead to just four points in the fourth quarter, the Lady Leafs needed everyone to contribute to close out the win.

Verbeck missed the start of the season after recovering from a major hip injury during the summer, but she felt her confidence come back with a big group of family members in the crowd.

The Lady Leafs’ ability to get hustle points is what separated them against Ottawa.

Geneseo’s Heather Dietrich grabbed an offensive rebound after a missed free throw and dished it to Keeli Frerichs for a layup to take a 34-27 lead.

Geneseo’s Verbeck outhustled Ottawa to the ball to grab an offensive rebound to give the Leafs a 40-29 lead with 1:07 remaining.

Verbeck finished with 12 points, and Hannah Himmelman finished with nine points.

Having won most of their games in blowout fashion during their 13-game winning streak, Geneseo showed grit in the second half when the game got tight.

Kaitlyn Webster scored four points and played lockdown defense, and Anna McAvoy scored on a pair of offensive rebounds.

The Leafs’ Frerichs scored four points in the fourth quarter, and Maddi Barickman hit a jumper in the final period.

“We never know who’s going to be the star,” Hardison said. “Who’s going to give us the spark. I thought Webster did a phenomenal job in the second half guarding their stud player. I thought Hannah did well in the first half, Heather and Keeli did well with the pressure, Josie (Brown) hit some big shots Maddi Barickman came in and hit some shots. It’s everybody.”