Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2013, 10:28 pm

Lights-out shooting leads Maple Leafs past Dukes

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By Dan Tomlin,

DIXON -- Jordan Starkey and the Geneseo Maple Leaf boys basketball team owe Dixon some lights.

The Leafs shot 'em out at Lancaster Gymnasium in a 65-37 Northern Illinois Big 12 West blowout behind Starkey's 23 points.

Geneseo shot 59-percent from the floor through the first three quarters before resting the starters, as Starkey went 11-for-16 and the rest of the Leafs piled on.

Luke Snyder added 11 points, while he and Grant Burress shared game-high honors with six rebounds each.

"Without question, this was our best game of the season," Geneseo coach Brad Storm said. "On the defensive end, we played with intensity and that had been our emphasis.

"That was the big difference in the game, we dictated the style."

The Leafs (7-2, 3-2 NIB 12W) were without their big man, 6-foot-8 senior center Austin Frank, who found out earlier in the day that his knee injury was nothing more than a serious strain. That was a giant sigh of relief to the boys in green who assumed the worst, an ACL injury.

"The doctor said he was completely fooled," Storm said. "To hear that news and then to get the win makes this a pretty good day."

Starkey made sure of that, getting to the rim and also making some pretty pull-up jumpers.

"The past few games, I haven't been getting to the rim," the senior guard said. "I got a couple easy looks and then things started to kind of fall to me."

Starkey had five rebounds, all of them on the offensive side, several ended in putbacks, and he was outscoring the Dukes until the 1:40 mark of the third quarter.

"It's really nice when everyone pitches in," said Starkey of the starters who fired at nearly 60-percent and combined for 55 points. "Grinding out wins can be fun, but these kind of games feel really good."

Ironically, the Geneseo boys, dressed to the nines in shirts and ties, didn't shoot like normal during halftime of the sophomore game because of their travel apparel.

Ethan Radue, Ethan Reschke and Burress all added seven points in the win, while Nathan Yager and Austin Lindstrom each had a pair of buckets in mop-up time.

After opening the season with six wins in their first eight games, equaling the total wins they had last season, Geneseo had lost six straight coming into Friday. Last season, three of their six Ws came against Dixon, and they happily ended their losing streak in Lancaster Gym.

The win keeps Geneseo in the hunt for the NIB 12W title at the halfway mark of the conference season. The Leafs could have gotten some help from Sterling (1-3) who failed to pull off the upset at LaSalle-Peru, losing 48-46 to the Cavs. Ottawa (3-1) didn't have much trouble with Streator (1-4) in the other game. Dixon (1-4) joins the Warriors and Bulldogs as teams with just one conference win.