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Elgin High had a hard enough time stopping Geneva’s 6-foot-5 beast Connor Chapman in the post on Saturday night when the Maroons’ biggest player Eric Sedlack was guarding him.
When Sedlack fouled out with just under a minute left in regulation the task became nearly impossible.
On the same play Sedlack departed, Chapman tied the game at with a pair of free throws to eventually send the game to overtime. The senior post player went on dominate the rest of the way, scoring four easy inside buckets in the extra session to finish with a game-high 31 points and lead the Vikings to a 67-65 Upstate Eight River win.
The victory comes one night after Geneva suffered its first defeat to St. Charles East after opening the season with seven straight wins.
“It was tough coming off such an emotional loss last night,” said Geneva coach Phil Ralston. “Then to make it even tougher we had to come right back and face an Elgin team that can just light it up from the perimeter. You can’t let your guard down against them for a second. They made some incredible shots. But I have to give our kids credit for having the resolve to stay mentally tough to pull it out in the end.”
The game was a constant battle between Elgin’s perimeter assault and Geneva’s inside attack. The Maroons knocked down 12 three-pointers, including five by senior Arie Williams, who finished with a team-high 26 points. The Vikings responded by outscoring Elgin 48-6 in the paint.
“We emphasized getting the ball inside and tried to exploit our advantage as much as possible, “ said Chapman. “They were switching on me a lot when I was cutting through the lane. So that left me with a lot of mismatches.”
Geneva (8-1, 2-1) jumped out to a 6-0 lead and led throughout the first half with the biggest margin being 32-19 late in the second quarter. However, Williams and Isaiah Butler caught fire to get Elgin (4-3, 1-1) back in contention.
Butler had 14 points, including four three-pointers. Three of those came in the second half, and his trey with 4:42 left in regulation gave the Maroons their first lead of the game at 49-47.
Williams had three three-pointers in the fourth quarter. The last one came with 2:27 left in regulation and briefly put the Maroons back on top 55-54.
After Geneva tied the score at 56 the Maroons had a chance to win it in regulation, but William Gibson’s floater on a drive to the basket in the final seconds came up short and Butler’s putback attempt at the buzzer was too hard off the glass.
“Their big guy inside is a load,” said Elgin coach Mike Sitter. “But we still have to do a better job than that. We are going to be at a size disadvantage a lot this year and we are going to have to figure out a way to do better.”