GENESEO -- What appeared to be a senior night celebration in the making quickly turned into a nightmare Friday at Geneseo High School.|
The Geneseo Lady Leafs basketball team led LaSalle-Peru by 10 points late in the second quarter. With the Lady Cavs shooting 2-for-21 at that point, the result seemed like a foregone conclusion.
Someone forgot to tell LP and the Cavs came out firing in the second half and held on for a 46-44 Northern Illinois Big 12 West upset of the Leafs.
After looking like it might not make a basket all night, LP made 11 of its final 14 shots, including going 7-for-8 from behind the 3-point line.
"That's their game, and we knew that and we practiced that," Geneseo coach Scott Hardison said. "But we were going under screens and thinking that standing 5 feet away and yelling, "SHOT" was contesting the shot and it wasn't."
Like the flu, the Leafs (12-14, 4-5 NIB12W) caught the cold-shooting blues from the Cavs and were an awful 6-for-32 in the second half.
Geneseo trailed by as many as 10 before finally playing with some urgency. Down 45-35, the Leafs held LP (10-15, 3-6 NIB12W) without a basket for the final 3:45 as they started to chip away at the deficit.
At the end of the game, Geneseo got one final look at tying it and sending the game into overtime, but Anna Wise's baseline jumper hit the front of the rim and bounced off.
"I don't know why we came out flat (in the second half)," Hardison said. "I thought they were fired up, I thought they knew what they had to do and then we just came out flat."
The Leafs went nearly six minutes without a basket as LP took its first lead, and then had another five-minute drought and facing their largest deficit.
For seniors Emily Ford, Katelyn Mundt and Rachel Ganson recovering from the heartbreak will take time. Ganson played inspired, scoring five points and pulling down four of her six rebounds during the fourth-quarter comeback.
Darci Dietrich scored a team-high nine points and pulled down 10 rebounds, while Molly DeBrock and Jamie DeFauw each added eight points. For the Cavs, Britany Zawacki scored a game-high 14 points, 11 in the second half.
The Geneseo seniors will also start to hear the clock tick on their careers with the last week of the regular season starting Monday. Looming in just nine days is the start of regional tournament play and a first-round game against IVC.
"We have two more games before regionals, and hopefully three games next week," Hardison said. "We can't have another night like this if we want the season to continue."