Lady Leafs earn tourney title

Chris Steele
The Lady Leafs lift the 2018 Geneseo tournament plaque high after finishing the Thanksgiving tournament undefeated.

The Lady Leafs won the Geneseo Thanksgiving Tournament for the first time since 2017 and defeated Alleman in non-conference action.

Annawan at Geneseo

The Lady Leafs’ 55-23 victory over Annawan to win the Geneseo Thanksgiving Tournament had a different feel to it.

When Geneseo won the tournament title in 2017, it felt like a nice surprise.

Winning the title this season seemed like an expectation as the Lady Leafs manhandled the tournament field.

Neither team could find a rhythm on offense early in the first half and defense dominated the game at Geneseo High School on Nov. 20.

In the second quarter, Geneseo found their rhythm coming out of a timeout going on a 23-2 run to take a 34-14 lead.

“I think both teams were amped to play this game,” Geneseo coach Scott Hardison said. “Sometimes those jitters can take over at the beginning. Once we settled in and played, we held them to 13 points in the last three quarters which is really impressive.”

Maddi Barickman scored on a layup to get the run started, and Tori Verbeck scored six consecutive points.

“A team can think they shut one of us down but it really doesn’t do anything,” Verbeck said. “Someone else is just going to pick it up on offense, and we just work on defense and that’s what helps us. Our high-pressure defense really got to them.”

Josie Brown scored a pair of baskets in transition, and Geneseo’s guards started feeding the ball inside to Hannah Himmelman in the second half.

Himmelman scored eight consecutive points with great ball movement from Brown, Verbeck and Kammie Ludwig.

“We kept putting up shots and kept hoping eventually they would start falling,” Himmelman said. “I think we just broke something open and it broke the whole game open when we had that run.”

Himmelman finished with 12 points and Verbeck finished with eight points.

Geneseo’s Keeli Frerichs, Brown were named to the All-Tournament team and Himmelman was named the tournament team captain.

“After losing to Annawan last year, beating them is really going to motivate us to practice hard and move on this year,” Frerichs said. “We aren’t going to plateau we are going to keep moving up.”

Geneseo at Alleman

The Lady Leafs defense continued to shut down teams as Geneseo defeated the Pioneers 55-36 at Alleman High School on Nov. 27.

Geneseo’s Himmelman led the way with 12 points and eight rebounds, and Maddi Barickman finished with 11 points and six rebounds.

Verbeck continued to make an impact on offense scoring eight points with six rebounds, and Abbi Barickman built on her breakout performance from the Geneseo tournament with eight points and three rebounds.

Brown tallied five points and four rebounds, and Frerichs scored four points.

Kaitlyn Webster scored four points and grabbed four rebounds, and Taylor DeSplinter made a 3-pointer.

Geneseo is 6-0 this season and is on a 10- game home winning streak.