CHESTERLAND—Geneva used a 23-point second quarter to pull away from host West Geauga for a 57-38 win in a Division II sectional championship game on Thursday.
The sixth-seeded Eagles used their defensive pressure to set up their offense to perfection during that 23-9 second quarter run.
“Our offense starts with our defense,” Geneva coach Mike Hassett said. “We’re an outstanding defensive team and we work very hard on that. We’re always pressuring the basketball and we wanted to take away their best ball player, Nikki Ehrbar, tonight so we were doubling her as much as possible and making her frustrated and make other people shoot the ball. It worked out for us.”
Geneva, who improved to 11-12 on the year, led 9-8 after the first quarter.
Jordyn Jamison, who finished with six points, drained a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter and five other Eagles worked their way to the hoop.
Vonda Harold scored five of her 12 points in the second quarter run and Reign Cribbs scored all four of her points during that stretch. Hope Stanley and Miranda Francis, who finished with 11 points each, added five and three points, respectively, during Geneva’s run.
“Vonda has been fantastic the last seven or eight ball games,” Hassett said. “In the beginning part of the year, she lacked confidence and wasn’t able to shoot well but she has been playing outstanding basketball these last few games scoring and playing defense. Miranda was another one who lettered last year but she lacked confidence shooting the ball. She can score down low but she can also help take pressure off Jordan Vencill and score in the post.”
Hassett reset the score for the Eagles at halftime to keep them focused on the final 32 minutes of play.
“I told them the score is 0-0 at halftime,” Hassett said. “Whether you’re up or down at halftime, you’ve always got to take that approach so you always come out with the same intensity. In the third quarter, we kind of slacked off a little bit before we picked it up again.”
West Geauga pulled to within 41-32 heading into the fourth quarter but the Eagles closed out the game on a 16-6 run.
Jordan Vencill scored all 13 of her points in the second half to keep West Geauga from mounting a comeback.
Ehrbar finished with a game-high 15 points for the Wolverines.
“We had one of the best weeks of practice that we’ve had all season and in the first half, maybe it was because of the game and what it meant to win this game or not, we didn’t do a lot of the things that we had practice,” West Geauga coach Bob Beutel said. “We reminded them to get back to doing the things that we had done so well all week. I think we cut the lead to seven so they listened. It’s a real big-hearted group that we have.”
Geneva advanced to Monday’s Division II district semifinal against No. 2 seed Gilmour Academy. The game will be played at Lakeside High School at 7:45 p.m.