Record scratch for Maple Leafs’ Rivera

Chris Steele
Isaiah Rivera, center, drives to the hoop for a layup during Geneseo’s game against Rochelle. A junior, Rivera set school scoring records for career point total (1,452) and broke the single-season scoring record (618).

Isaiah Rivera broke the Geneseo career and single-season scoring record and the Maple Leafs battled to finish the regular season strong on the court.

Geneseo at Sterling

When asked about breaking the single-season and career scoring record, the Maple Leafs’ Isaiah Rivera pointed to a sign hanging near the Geneseo locker room which simply says pride and passion.

Stats have always come second to winning for Rivera, and he wants his achievement through hard work to be the foundation for the Geneseo basketball program.

“If young kids around the community are working hard, and they see me working hard, maybe they will be able to do this someday, too,” Rivera said. “I put a lot of pride and passion in the game. I hope it goes all the way down to the younger kids in the community.”

A junior, Rivera scored a game-high 31 points to break the Geneseo single season and career marks at Musgrove Fieldhouse in Sterling on Feb. 13.

Rivera’s effort wasn’t enough as the Golden Warriors size advantage helped them earn a 70-55 victory.

A small forward, Rivera (618) broke the single-season record of 608 points set by Jay Reed in 1989, and Dave Anderson’s career mark of 1,434 points set in 1979.

Anderson was an All-State honorable mention, he was selected to the All-Time NCIC teams and he was a McDonald’s All-American nominee in 1979.

After the Sterling game, Rivera sits at 618 points for the season and 1,452 career points.

Geneseo fell behind 30-11 in the first quarter, but the Maple Leafs made a surge to close the gap to 35-25 by halftime.

Despite cutting the lead to less than 10 points twice in the second half, Sterling was able to answer.

Anthony Pierce scored nine points and hit a key 3-pointer in the second half to get the Sterling lead under 10 points.

The Leafs’ Kyle Traphagan finished with seven points, and P.J. Moser tallied four points.

Geneseo’s Jacob McConnell and Kade Ariano each scored two points.

Geneseo at Galesburg

The Maple Leafs played well in the first half against the Silver Streaks.

However, Galesburg pulled away in the second half for a 77-55 victory at John Thiel Gymnasium on Feb. 16.

Galesburg held a 31-30 lead at halftime, but the Silver Streaks changed to a 1-3-1 zone in the second half and slowed down the Geneseo offense.

“Once we lost our intensity then they punished us with drives to the rim,” Geneseo Coach Brad Strom said. “It Went from a six-point game to 15-point game pretty quick and we didn’t recover.”

Rivera led the way for the Leafs’ offense with 26 points.

Rochelle at Geneseo

Every time the Maple Leafs tried to make a run in the second half the Hubs would answer and get a stop on the defensive end.

Rochelle earned a 75-58 victory at Geneseo High School on Feb. 18.

Rochelle built a 31-25 lead by halftime, but Geneseo quickly cut the lead to three points after Rivera scored a three points play the old fashion way.

Rivera led all scorers with 35 points, and Pierce drained four 3-pointers to finish with 12 points.

Geneseo started bleeding points falling behind 51-37 before taking a timeout with 1:04 remaining in the third quarter.

Rivera willed the Maple Leafs back into the game to start the fourth quarter.

He drove the lane for a layup to cut the lead to 51-41 just seconds into the fourth.

Rivera quickly scored four unanswered points, and found Kyle Traphagan for a wide open jumper to close the deficit to 53-47 with 6:24.

After Rochelle took a timeout, they slowly grabbed control of the game expanding their lead to 61-51 with 3:20 remaining.

“We did a great job in the first half of being on their shooters,” Geneseo Coach Brad Strom said. “In the second half, we weren’t tight on them and they started knocking those 3s down and the flood gates opened.”

The Maple Leafs’ basketball team will host the Geneseo Class 3A Regional. Geneseo will begin the postseason against LaSalle-Peru on Monday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. The winner will play No. 2 seeded Dixon in the regional semifinals on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m.