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Coming into Monday’s Class 4A Judson University Supersectional against Boylan, Geneva knew it had the edge in size.
In the second half, the Vikings took full advantage.
Geneva blew open a three-point game at the half by flexing its muscle down low and cruising to a 60-41 win and a berth in the state tournament at Illinois State this weekend. It will be the second trip to state in program history.
“We had the height advantage,” Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. “We talked about that. You should own the boards. We knew they were going to be good, but we thought with our size if we could get a couple runs and keep that going, we’d be OK.”
Geneva (26-5) took a 21-10 lead in the second quarter on three-pointers from Sidney Santos and Morgan Seberger, But with freshman center Grace Loberg on the bench with foul trouble, Boylan (27-5) went on a 10-2 burst to cut the lead to 25-22 at the half.
“Even on the boards, even if she just touches the ball, it helps everything,” Meadows said. “That was a huge part of the second quarter.”
In the second half, with a full complement of players available, Geneva took over. The Vikings scored the first eight points of the third quarter and eventually pushed the lead to 45-31 with 35 seconds left. In the second half, Geneva outscored Boylan 35-18 and pulled down 20 more rebounds (26-6).
“Their size really affected us,” Boylan coach Paul Perrone said. “They had height all the way across. Their height really hurt us offensively. I have to give them credit. They went much harder than we did on the loose balls and rebounds. It made a big difference.”
Jensen Blassage led all scorers for Boylan with 19 points. Loberg led the Vikings with 18 points. Abby Novak had one of her strongest games of the season with 16 points and eight rebounds. Seberger added 11 points.
“It’s the best feeling ever,” Loberg said. “I’m so happy right now. It’s an amazing experience. I feel so good for our seniors.”
Now, the Vikings prepare for a trip to Normal to face highly touted Rolling Meadows at 6:30 p.m. in the state semifinals Friday.
“It is so surreal right now,” Santos said. “I can’t even believe this happened. Me, Morgan and Michaela (Loebel) have been talking since freshman year that senior year we wanted to make it to state. We made it. It’s unbelievable.”