Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2012, 11:37 pm
Turning over a new Leaf for Geneseo; Alleman loses opener
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By Dan Tomlin, firstname.lastname@example.org
GENESEO -- The Geneseo Maple Leafs boys basketball team doesn't want to wait.
After a couple of rocky seasons, the boys in green made a statement on the first day of the Geneseo Thanksgiving Tournament by routing Chicago Ag-Science 54-41.
The Leafs (1-0) got up by nearly 20 before clearing the bench in the final minutes of the game.
"These kids should expect to win, because I sure do," said Geneseo coach Brad Storm who is in his second stint with the Leafs. "We're going to win, sooner or later. It's up to them whether they want it to happen sooner rather than later."
The Leafs did a pretty good job of answering Storm's question in the opener.
Jordan Starkey and Luke Snyder provided the pop, while Ethan Radue delivered the punch. Radue, who scored all of 18 points as a sophomore last year, scored a game- and career-high 17 points to lead the Leafs.Starkey scored 11, pulled down five rebounds and had game-highs of four steals and four assists. Snyder played the role of motivator, hustling from end line to end line, and getting the Leafs fired up every time the Cyclones (0-2) tried to claw back.
"(Starkey and Snyder) stayed composed," said Storm, "and if those guys stay calm, everyone else does, too."
Grant Burress came off the bench and provided some much needed muscle down low. After not playing as a junior, Burress looked smooth in scoring nine points and establishing a presence in the post. Kevin Wolak also came off the bench to add a team-high eight rebounds.
For Radue, the breakout is something he hopes isn't just an aberration.
"A lot of people aren't talking about us and are overlooking us," Radue said. "They're saying it might take a few years to get things going, but we want to win right now."
That kind of attitude can be contagious, especially in what looks to be a wide open Northern Illinois Big 12 West Conference race.
- Alleman wilts down the stretch, falls to Raby 53-46: In the Alleman Pioneers' opening round game, all systems were go until midway through the third quarter when everything came to a screeching halt. Leading 37-28, it appeared the Pioneers were on their way to their first win of the season despite playing short-handed with the football team playing for a Class 4A state title Friday night as well.
However, in the final 5:17 of the third, and the entire fourth quarter, Alleman failed to make a basket. The Pioneers got to the free throw line plenty of times, but were only good on 9-of-20 from the charity stripe during that same time as Raby charged back to take the lead and the game.
"It's all on us," Alleman coach Pat Rangel said. "We didn't get the job done at the free-throw line. Nobody wanted to score. We didn't want to put the ball in the bucket."
The Pioneers (0-1), playing without several football players, started two boys who haven't played high school basketball. Dan Cutkomp and Joe Boland donned Alleman jerseys for the first time Friday and nearly got the Pioneers the win.In fact, Cutkomp finished with a double-double, scoring 13 points while pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds. Pioneer center Joey Mihm also scored 13, but was held to just a pair of free throws in the second half, while Sam Pirmann added nine points.
It was all for naught, though, as the Pioneers couldn't finish the job.
"We didn't finish strong, and we can't use lack of experience as an excuse," Rangel said. "We let it slip through our fingers."
- Storm wants to keep winning: Of course the Maple Leafs want to win the tournament, but Geneseo's Coach Storm almost sees it as his right. In his previous coaching run with the Leafs, he never lost a game in the tournament. He's 9-0, having won in 2006 and 2007, and sees no reason why the Leafs can't be perfect this year.
"If we play well, we're good enough to win it," Storm said. "I want these guys to feel like when they step on the court they can win games, especially at home."
- Today at the tournament: Geneseo plays Chicago Raby (2-0) at 11 a.m., Alleman takes on Chicago Ag/Science at 3 p.m. In the 8 p.m. game, Geneseo will play Alleman.