When you're the 16th seed you have nowhere else to go but up.|
The Geneseo girls' basketball team did just that, going 2-2 at the State Farm Holiday Classic and finishing 11th in the field. They were the biggest movers in the entire girls portion of the tournament, finishing five spots ahead of their ranking.
It was the first time since 2005 that the Leafs came to Bloomington-Normal and won their third-place consolation game, topping Bloomington, 44-32.
Take away a miserable first half to open the day against St. Ignatius and the Leafs very well could have been playing in the consolation championship game. Geneseo turned the ball over 15 times and shot just 2-for-17 from the field in that first half. They trailed 26-10 at halftime and got as close as eight before the Wolfpack again pulled away.
The Leafs, though, used the momentum from the loss to propel them against the Purple Raiders.
Anna Wise scored a team-high 13 points in the victory, and Molly DeBrock added a dozen.
"After we won our first game, we kind of realized we could play with these teams," Wise said. "I think we just weren't ready for the morning game. But we were really pumped and ready for the second game. It's really big for us to finish 11th, we're really proud of that."
Jamie DeFauw had a couple big games, scoring 10 points against Bloomington and earlier six with seven rebounds against St. Ignatius. It was the play of Rachel Ganson that really sparked the Leafs' comeback against the Wolfpack. The reserve started the second half and quickly scored a pair of baskets.She finished with seven points and six rebounds, all in the second half.
"We learned to play physical down here," Geneseo coach Scott Hardison said. "We started to be aggressive. It's a learning curve with a young team and we need to keep getting better at playing together."
The Leafs got trounced by top-seeded Richwoods in their tourney opener, but after that settled down to upset Belvidere North and move into today's consolation semifinals.
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