LASALLE -- There's something missing from the Geneseo boys basketball team.|
That "something" kept the Leafs from the win column Friday as LaSalle-Peru stayed perfect in Northern Illinois Big 12 West play as the Maple Leafs missed an opportunity to get to the top of the league race.
The Cavaliers seemed to get every loose ball, and make every hustle play, winning 60-44, and proving their mettle.
"There's another level we have to get to that we haven't reached yet," Geneseo coach Brad Storm said. "It's the difference between playing hard and playing with intensity.
"We played hard, but we didn't play with intensity. When you play with intensity you find a way. The way we played we just hoped for a way."
The Leafs (6-8, 2-2 NIB-12W) battled through some impressive shooting by LP (8-5, 4-0) in the first half, and were as close as 26-24 right out of the locker room after halftime.
That's when you could see LP take it to the next level. Behind eight points from Noah Lamboley, the Cavs went on a 16-5 run over the next seven minutes. Seconds into the fourth quarter, LP went on a 9-0 run, ending any doubt as to the outcome.
"To beat teams like this on their home court and to win a conference title, you have to get to that level," Storm said. "It's up to us as coaches to get them there."
The Cavalier defense shut down star guard Jordan Starkey, who was limited to just nine points, and only attempted two shots in the second and third quarters combined.
LP's star, Jens Soderholm, was as good as advertised, registering a double-double with 12 rebounds to go with his 14 points. Lamboley led all scorers with 20, while Cameron Hight scored 16.
Austin Frank led the Leafs with 11 points. However, the 6-foot-7 center was kept off the glass, only coming down with three rebounds. Luke Snyder had six points and six rebounds, but all his boards came in the first half.
The Leafs (2-2) slipped farther behind the league-leading LP Cavaliers (4-0) and won't return home for nearly a month. Next Friday, they head to Dixon (1-3) and there's a lot on the line.
"I hate to have to say this so early in the conference season, but it's a must win," Storm said. "We must win next Friday if we want a chance to win the conference."
For the Leafs sake, they better hope they find something to get them to the next level.
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