Geneseo misses its chance in OT

Chris Steele
Paige VandeWiele passes into the lane during Geneseo's game against Annawan.

The Lady Leafs winning streak is over.

The Geneseo girls’ basketball team started the season 5-0 on their way to the Temple’s Tip-Off Classic crown, but the Leafs fell on the road in the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division opener against LaSalle-Peru 46-44 in overtime on Dec. 2.

Geneseo was unable to put the game away at the free-throw line shooting 8-of-18 in the fourth quarter and overtime, and the Lady Leafs finished 15-of-35 from the charity stripe.

Geneseo coach Scott Hardison believes the Lady Leafs have already proven during their hot start that they can close out games at the line and free throw shooting won’t be something that hinders their season.

“The difference between average teams and great teams is that they don’t have bad shooting night very often,” Hardison said. “We talk about controlling the controllables, that’s playing defense, rebounding, and hustling. Sometimes you run into a night where the shots don’t fall. Even though it was a bad shooting night, we battled back and got to overtime and had a chance to win.”

With the game tied at 39 at the end of regulation, Geneseo had the advantage for most of overtime until L-P turned the tables coming back from three points down with 31.1 seconds remaining in overtime.

In the fourth quarter, the Lady Leafs made some clutch baskets to rally to force overtime.

Trailing late in the fourth, Geneseo’s Sydney Himmelman scored on an assist from Renee Rumler with time winding down to tie the game at 39-all.

Rumler finished with a team-high 11 points, and Himmelman scored eight points.

The Leafs’ Lynsey Gradert scored seven points, and Paige VandeWiele added six points off the bench.

Jane Thomas tacked on five points, and Lindsey Francque finished with four points.

Maddie Mackey finished with two points, and Heather Dietrich made 1-of-4 from the line.

The Lady Leafs look to bounce back with another NIB 12 West Conference road test at Rochelle on Friday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.

“We can’t let one game derail all the good things we have had going up until this point,” Hardison said. “We are really trying to focus on being the team that can handle a loss, learn from a loss and be ready to go in the next game.”