Lady Leafs get back to basics

Chris Steele
Maddie Mackey looks to pass the ball inside during Geneseo's victory against St. Bede at the Temple's Tip-Off Classic.

The Geneseo Lady Leafs’ basketball team picked up their first NIB 12 victory in conference play against Rochelle and battled rival Sterling.

Geneseo at Rochelle

The Lady Leafs put away the Lady Hubs early during their 55-31 victory in Rochelle on Dec. 9.

GHS’ Lynsey Gradert scored a game-high 13 points, and Geneseo ran away with the game building a 29-15 lead by halftime.

“We really challenged our girls to clean up the stuff we didn’t do well against (LaSalle-Peru) the week before,” Geneseo Coach Scott Hardison said.

“We talked about free throw shooting, we talked about getting the important stops on the defensive end, and focusing on what we can control and allow ourselves to play the game we know how to play.

“I thought the girls came out and though of the road trip like a business trip and really put a nice game together.”

Geneseo recovered from a poor showing at the free-throw line against L-P by making 14-of-21 from the charity stripe against Rochelle.

Sydney Himmelman was a perfect 4-for-4 from the line, and Mackey was 4-for-5 from the line.

It was a solid night for Lady Leafs’ shooters all around.

Maddie Mackey scored nine points, and Jane Thomas finished with seven points in the game.

The Lady Leafs’ Lindsey Francque notched six points, and Renee Rumler, Paige VandeWiele and Heather Dietrich finished with four points.

Geneseo’s Savanna Anast and Allison Yager each finished with two points.

Opponents trying to stop Geneseo from getting looks inside are finding out just how good the Leafs’ shooters can be.

“I think of us as a dual-threat,” Hardison said. “Teams that are playing us as a single threat team are finding that out when we are able to score from the outside in the first half.”

Geneseo at Sterling

The Golden Warriors had no answer for the Leafs’ Francque in Sterling on Dec. 13.

Francque scored a game-high 16 points, and Geneseo earned a 64-45 win against Sterling.

It was a strong performance from the Leafs who improved their record to 7-1, 2-1 NIB 12.

Francque got the Leafs going early scoring 12 points in the first half, and GHS led 29-20 at halftime.

It was a balanced scoring effort for Geneseo with nine players lighting up the scoreboard.

Rumler scored 10 points, and Himmelman finished with nine points.

Gradert tallied seven points, and Mackey added six points.

Thomas and Dietrich each finished with five points off the bench.

VandeWiele notched four points, and Anna McAvoy finished with two points.

Geneseo’s next game will be at the State Farm Holiday Classic which will kick off at Bloomington Central Catholic Gym against Wheaton Warrenville South on Dec. 27 at 4:30 p.m.

Getting that seventh seed says a lot to Hardison.

“We are the first team in the bracket who is not ranked in the state right now,” Hardison said. “I told the girls we are getting respect from different people based on our play so far. I think that means a lot to them to know that other people are believing what we are believing inside the program.”