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Keira McCann, Geneva, St. overthrew Charles North


Suddenly, the sophomore guard Keira McCann In Geneva he found himself in the spotlight.

For the third time this season, St. In a tight battle with St. Charles North, the Vikings decided to turn things around in the third quarter on Tuesday night against the North Stars’ stifling defense.

Geneva replaces star guard Leah Palmer to the high post, running the attack through him and that meant open shots were coming. McCann made the three-pointer without hesitation.

“It felt great,” McCann said. “They played us hard all year. Moving Leah to the high post opened up shooting. Shooting has been the most important thing all year long. I felt really good, especially in a game like this.”

The North Stars eventually tied the game in the fourth, but Palmer took care of it from there. The Vikings scored eight straight points as they won 42-36 in the Class 4A Batavia Regional semifinals.

Palmer had another dominant late-season performance, scoring 22 points with 11 rebounds as Geneva (23-8) advanced to Thursday’s championship game against the host Bulldogs at 6 p.m.

Laney Stark Scoring 12 points, St. Charles led North (27-5). Reagan Cipla 10 added.

Teams have struggled to score against the North Stars all season long, and the Vikings are no exception. On January 9, St. They could only score 27 points in a 34-27 loss to Charles North.

That’s why the Geneva coach Sarah Meadows He followed his route in the third quarter to give Palmer, accustomed to being in the driver’s seat, complete control of the offense.

“He trusts his teammates to be able to knock down those shots,” Meadows said of Palmer. “He plays in a high position and gets the ball to them. Very big.”

Leah Palmer (22) of Geneva, St. Louis, in the Class 4A Batavia Regional semifinal match played on Tuesday, February 20, 2023. Checking the rebound from Charles North’s Lelanie Posada (5). (H. Rick Bamman / The Beacon-News)

McCann was ready for this pass.

“They dictated the first half,” McCann said of the North Stars. They controlled our offense, which wasn’t very good for us. We went out and made a difference.

“It’s been a difficult year. Especially St. We had to work hard against Charles North. “It was great to go out there and beat them.”

Kinsey Gracey And Fairy Sweeney They also took advantage of Palmer’s passes in the third quarter and both made 3-pointers. This helped the Vikings take a 31-25 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“As a captain, I had to step up and take the shots in those moments,” Gracey said. “Adjusting by using our cross and moving the ball more opened up the way for our shooters.”

Peri Sweeney (10) from Geneva died in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, February 20, 2023, at Batavia.H.  He's getting ready to kick a shot in the Class 4A Batavia Regional semifinal game against St. Charles North.  Rick Bamman / For Beacon News
Geneva’s Peri Sweeney (10) beats St. Louis in the Class 4A Batavia Regional semifinal game on Tuesday, February 20, 2023. Getting ready to shoot against Charles North. (H. Rick Bamman / The Beacon-News)

St. Charles North opened the fourth with an 8-2 run to make it 33-33 with 3:05 left in the game. Palmer’s personal 8-0 streak followed and the North Stars ran out the clock.

St. “I am incredibly proud of our girls’ performance,” the Charles North coach said. Mike Tomczak aforementioned. “Defensively we implemented a slightly different scheme than in the past and I think that gave them pause.

“They fired a few shots. When you take something away, you give him something else.”

Despite the loss, Tomczak was proud of the North Stars’ season.

Geneva's Caroline Madden (20) beats St. Louis during the Class 4A Batavia Regional semifinal game at Batavia.H on Tuesday, February 20, 2023.  Defended by Charles North's Mia Hoppes (10).  Rick Bamman / For Beacon News
Geneva’s Caroline Madden (20) beats St. Louis during the Class 4A Batavia Regional semifinal game on Tuesday, February 20, 2023. Trying to figure out Charles North’s Mia Hoppes (10). (H. Rick Bamman / The Beacon-News)

“What I talked to the girls about before the game was, ‘We’ve earned the right to be here,'” Tomczak said. “This is something special. Let’s embrace the moment. Let’s have some fun.”

Things haven’t gone any smoother in Geneva this season than in years past, and a lot of that has to do with the strength of the DuKane Conference.

Vikings this season in St. Shared matches with Charles North and Batavia. They settled the first one on Tuesday. Now they have another chance on Thursday in Batavia.

“It was definitely a tough season,” McCann said. “We had to grind all the way here. We can’t wait for Thursday.”

Paul Johnson is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.


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