GENESEO -- It was another chapter it what seems to be the theme of this basketballseason for the Geneseo Maple Leafs -- almost there.|
Battling the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division-leading LaSalle-Peru Cavaliers, the Maple Leafstook a tie into the fourth quarter before ill-timed turnovers and poor foul shooting handed Geneseo a 54-52 loss.
"It's tough," said Geneseo coach Brad Storm, whose team has lost several games by apossession or two and seem to just need a push over the hump. "The intensity level isgood, we just didn't have enough plays in us. We made some mistakes and we needed tomake two fewer mistakes."
The mistakes in question were a pair of turnovers in the last :29 of the game withGeneseo trailing by two. First, a double dribble and then a pass that was deflected andtaken the other way.
The Leafs (8-12, 3-4 NIB 12) got the ball back on both occasions, with the latter comingon a Jordan Starkey (seven points) rebound that the senior guard grabbed with fiveseconds left, drove the length of the floor and painfully watched the ball bounce aroundon the rim before falling out.
"Geneseo plays hard and has a lot of hard working kids," said L-P coach Jim Cherveny,whose Cavaliers move to 13-7 and stay a perfect 7-0 in the conference. "We knew theywould come at us with a lot of energy and we knew they would give us a game."
Geneseo couldn't stop L-P senior forward Jens Soderholm, who went loco with 32 points,nine rebounds, and six steals. He saved the best for last with 13 of his team's 14 points inthe fourth quarter.
Said Storm, "In crunchtime, they got him the ball and he cashed in on it, he stepped uplike a good player should do."
Down 40-34 with a minute to go in the third quarter, the Maple Leafs stepped up as well.
Reserve guard Jordan Mielke (five points) canned a 3-ball, and after an L-P turnover, Starkey did the same to tie the game up heading into the final frame.
Soderholm then banked in a 3-pointer of his own, but Geneseo quickly countered with itsnewest post weapon, sophomore forward Drew Himmelman.
Playing in just his second varsity game, the 6-foot-5 Himmelman made an inside moveand got the hoop and some harm for an old-fashioned three-point play that tied the gameback up.
"It really stinks we didn't get the win tonight," said Himmelman, who came off the benchto score five of his team-high 13 points in the fourth, going along nicely with a team-besteight rebounds. "I'm excited to help the team out best I can -- I just wish we could havepulled it out tonight."
Geneseo never trailed by more than four points in the fourth quarter, with four of forwardEthan Reschke's 10 points coming in the final eight minutes, but came up short in the lastminute, when it counted the most.
"The guys are hurting, there's no question," said Storm. "It's tough to lose a game whenyou put that much into it."
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