The Lady Leafs fell against Northern Illinois Big 12 West rival Sterling, competed in the IHMVCU Shootout and hosted Sycamore.

The Lady Leafs fell against Northern Illinois Big 12 West rival Sterling, competed in the IHMVCU Shootout and hosted Sycamore.

Geneseo at Sterling

The Golden Warriors stole a late fourth quarter lead from the Lady Leafs and held on for a 61-57 at Sterling High School on Jan. 3.

Sterling’s Josi Borum scored a game-high 21 points to help turn the tide for the Golden Warriors and hand Geneseo (15-3, 4-1 in NIB 12) it’s first loss in conference play.

With the game tied at 55-all tie late in the fourth quarter, Sterling held on by making 7-of-12 from the free-throw line in the final period.

Sterling finished the game shooting 12-of-28 from the charity stripe.

After missing time with an injury, Geneseo’s Tori Verbeck returned to the lineup for her first full game and finished with a team-high 16 points.

The Lady Leafs’ Keeli Frerichs scored 12 points, and Maddi Barickman finished with 11 points.

GHS’ Kammie Ludwig and Hannah Himmelman each scored eight points, and Josie Brown added two points.

Iowa/Illinois Shootout

The Lady Leafs were held off by undefeated Pleasant Valley High School 48-37 at the IHMVCU Shootout.

Iowa won the cross-river rivalry for the third consecutive season winning four of the seven games played at Augustana College’s Carver Center on Jan. 5.

The Spartans’ tough perimeter defense held Geneseo without a 3-point basket in the game (0-8) which is the first time the Lady Leafs were unable to hit from beyond the arc this season.

Geneseo held a two-possession lead in the second quarter, but a 9-0 run by Pleasant Valley earned them a 25-19 lead by halftime.

The Lady Leafs struggled to find their rhythm in the second half and trailed by as much as 45-30.

Himmelman led the Lady Leafs with 12 points and seven rebounds, and Ludwig finished with seven points.

Brown scored five points and grabbed six rebounds, and Frerichs finished with six rebounds and three points.

Verbeck tallied five points with two rebounds, and Kaitlyn Webster grabbed four rebounds and finished with two points.

Maddi Barickman scored two points, and Taylor DeSplinter made 2-of-2 from the free-throw line.

Sycamore at Geneseo

The Spartans’ Kylie Feurerbach was a highlight reel of power, speed and shooting was impossible to ignore at Geneseo High School on Jan. 8.

A junior, Feurerbach powered Sycamore to a 53-40 victory over Geneseo with a dominating performance in the paint and from range.

Feurerbach seemingly changed every shot in the lane on defense and she finished with six 3-pointers on her way to 34 points.

The Lady Leafs who have formed an identity around defense were caught being tentative and watching the 6’0” Iowa State recruit.

“I think it got in our head how really good she is, but I think we were afraid to make a mistake against her,” Geneseo Coach Scott Hardison said. “We didn’t go as hard as we normally do against her because we didn’t want to get beat off the dribble or allow her to get off a 3-pointer.

“If you play timid, bad things are going to happen.”

Geneseo got off to a good start taking a 13-4 lead on a Frerichs layup with two minutes left in the first quarter.

However, the Spartans kept the game tight closing the gap to 13-9 by the end of the first quarter.

Geneseo started out the second quarter with another strong burst taking an 18-12 lead on a Maddi Barickman three-point play.

Feurerbach took control of the game quickly tying the score at 22 by making three 3-pointers in the second quarter.

With the game tied at 24 at halftime, the Spartans dominated the third quarter going on a 25-4 run.

“We let our intensity down,” Hardison said. “I didn’t think I would see that in this group. We brought it back again in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late.”

Everything was going right for Sycamore as Faith Klem hit a desperation 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to expand the lead to 45-28.

Geneseo’s Ludwig hit a layup in the fourth quarter to stop the bleeding.

The Lady Leafs played better in the fourth quarter but couldn’t make up ground with Sycamore taking the air out of the ball with a sizeable lead.

Geneseo was without Verbeck who is one of the emotional leaders on defense.

“You can’t replace Tori,” Hardison said. “You can’t replace her athleticism or her ability to lead. We aren’t as good without her.”

Frerichs scored a team-high 12 points, and she was solid on defense going against Sycamore’s players who had a size advantage.

“She does a lot of nice things,” Hardison said. “She leads us with the ball and she’s sure-handed, but we have to have some people come with her and have that intensity. I think Josie goes hard all the time, but we are taking too many breaks on the floor.”

Himmelman finished with 10 points, and Ludwig and Maddi Barickman each scored eight points, and Brown finished with two points.

The loss ended Geneseo’s 14 game home winning streak, and Geneseo has lost five of its last seven games.

“We need to get back to the basics and shore up our half-court defense,” Hardison said. “That is where we need to start and build off that. We can’t press and we can’t run if we can’t play halfcourt defense and secure a rebound after a stop.”