Leafs stun Streaks, fall to Rocks

Amy Boldt
The GHS?Boys’ basketball team members are front row, from left: Blake Croegaert, Michael Ashpole, Jonathan Staab, Chase VanOpdorp and Sam Hamer. Middle row, from left: Anthony Iron Thunder, Devan DePauw, Jonathan Aper, Billy Hamer, Jason Johnson, Jacob Ballegeer and Aaron Ganson. Back row, from left: Assistant coach Mike Kiss, head coach Dave Martin, Derek Griffin, Erik Dornfeld, manager Jamie Gustafson and assistant coach Josh Reschke.

The Leafs run in the IHSA playoffs began and finished this past week, thus ending Geneseo’s season. The Leafs started things off with Galesburg in the first round and then squared off against Rock Island for the regional championship.

Geneseo vs. Rock Island

Geneseo couldn’t sustain its winning streak March 6 as the Leafs went up against the Rock?Island Rocks for the regional championship in Galesburg. The Rocks were able to advance to sectional competition defeating the Leafs, 70-54.

Rock Island jumped out to a 23-11 advantage over Geneseo in the opening minutes and maintained its lead through the rest of the contest. The Leafs attempted to close the gap in the second quarter as the squad outscored the Rocks, 14-11 for a 34-25 Rock Island lead at the half.

In the third quarter, Rock Island scored 16 points to Geneseo’s 13 as the Rocks began to pull away, 50-38. With the threat of elimination on the line, Geneseo had its chances, but was unable to make the final push to pass the Rocks as they knocked down 20 points to Geneseo’s 16 for the win.

“I think we probably didn’t take good care of the ball, but we had our chances late in the game,” said head coach Dave Martin. “We wanted to have a chance, we just didn’t get it done down the stretch.”

The Leafs’ offensive effort was led by three in double digits.

Senior Erik Dornfeld posted 14 points in his final game for the Leafs with four shots from the field and went 6-for-9 from the line.

Blake Croegaert added 13 points as he knocked down one shot from beyond the arc, four field goals and two free throws, while senior teammate Aaron Ganson scored 10 in his final game with four field goals and two free throws.

 Michael Ashpole ended the game with six points on two field goals and two free throws, followed by senior Derek Griffin going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line for four points in his last game. Billy Hamer also added four points with two field goals for the night.

Others contributing to the effort were senior Jon Aper with two free throws and Jonathan Staab, one free throw. 

Geneseo vs. Galesburg

The Leafs’ road curse was broken March 4 and at the right time as they upset the Silver Streaks, 59-52 in the first round of regionals in Galesburg.

Geneseo opened the game with a 19-14 lead in the first quarter and knocked down another 15 in the second quarter while Galesburg scored 14. The Leafs took a 34-28 advantage into halftime.

The Silver Streaks surged back in the third quarter to cut the Leafs’ lead to one, 43-42. Galesburg outshot Geneseo, 14-9 in the quarter. The Leafs’ offense caught fire again in the fourth quarter to seal the victory as the team drained 16 points to the Silver Streaks’ 10.

“(The key) was probably when things didn’t go real well down the stretch we stuck together,” said Martin. “We had pretty good leadership and we executed when it got tight, which is important when on the road.”

Ganson was the leading scorer for the Leafs with 24 points, knocking down two shots from beyond the arc, four field goals and going a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line.

Dornfeld followed with 15 points of his own as he hit five shots from the field and five free throws.

Croegaert and Griffin each posted eight points, both with three field goals and two free throws, while Ashpole hit two field goals for his four points of the game.

The Leafs end the season at 14-14 overall and 3-7 in the NCIC.

“Well No. 1, I wasn’t concerned with the record, there is more to it than that,” said Martin. “I look at things getting done the right way and if the guys are buying into what we are doing. And we have guys that can do that.”