Rivera sets school scoring record with a 51 point game

Chris Steele
Isaiah Rivera lines up a free throw during the Maple Leafs’ game against LaSalle-Peru.

When it comes to Isaiah Rivera, throw out the record books because he’s rewriting history on the basketball court.

A junior, Rivera ran down another Geneseo record scoring a school record 51 points during the Maple Leafs’ 77-71 victory over Kaneland in Geneseo on Jan. 26.

It’s another bullet point on Rivera’s already impressive prep career resume after he already eclipsed 1,000 career points earlier this season.

However, Rivera felt earning another Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference home win was bigger than an individual accomplishment.

“It’s more important knowing that we won,” Rivera said. “It’s cool knowing it’s a record, but I’m just looking to win.”

Rivera’s previous best scoring total was 40 points at the Geneseo Invitational during his sophomore season.

The performance against Kaneland was spurred on more by a will to win as Geneseo claimed its fifth consecutive home win in a row.

“I’m keeping my expectation high,” Rivera said. “The biggest critic of myself is me. I just want to get myself better each day.

Rivera scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to help the Maple Leafs close out the game, but it was getting big contributions from the rest of the team that mattered most.

With Geneseo without two varsity players, everyone was expected to step up.

A junior, P.J. Moser chipped in six points in the fourth quarter, and he finished with 10 points.

“We’ve been telling them all along, they do have the skill set to contribute scoring-wise,” Geneseo coach Brad Storm said. “We’ve been trying to get guys to believe in themselves a little bit more all along. This was a game where guys had to step up and try it and not fear making mistakes for us to win.”

With the weather causing havoc with the schedule, Rivera and the rest of the Maple Leafs were excited for a chance to get back out on the court.

“We hadn’t played in almost two weeks,” Rivera said. “All of us were hungry. We wanted to go get it.”

That hunger wouldn’t be denied no matter the odds.

“I think part of it was the will power of knowing we have a chance to win a game,” Storm said. “Even shorthanded, he was going to do whatever it took to make sure it happened.

“When they tried to deny him with two guys it made him even more determined to still score. He was a man among boys.”

Rivera made a spectacular 20-of-23 from the free-throw line including 11 free throws in the fourth quarter.

In the second half, Geneseo’s Kyle Traphagan made a big 3-pointer, and Tim Lehman added four points in the second half.

Kade Ariano helped Geneseo get off to a good start scoring six points in the first half, and Anthony Pierce hit a 3-pointer in the first half.

Geneseo looks to continue its home winning streak when they host Morris on Friday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.