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Geneva handles Rosary in season opener
By Kevin McGavin | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 11/17/2012 10:21 PM

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Michaela Loebel needed all of three seconds to record the opening field goal of the season for the Geneva girls basketball team.

Three ultimately was a defining number for the Vikings in first-round action of the Glenbard East Rachel Bach Thanksgiving tournament against once-tested Rosary.

Geneva dominated both ends of the court in the first half, limiting the Royals to 3 field goals in the opening 16 minutes en route to a 52-34 victory Saturday afternoon in Lombard.

Loebel was a disruptive force for Geneva in the first half, scoring 7 consecutive points during one stretch on offense while also forcing 7 steals in the first half.

“I thought we all came out ready to play,” the Vikings’ junior point guard said after Geneva (1-0) blitzed Rosary (1-1) with 31 of the first 41 points.

“(Loebel) is a huge key for us,” Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. “She will do that (run the offense and be a factor on defense) all season for us.”

The Vikings were equally heartened by Sidney Santos’ two-year delayed unveiling.

The junior, who had never played a game for Geneva after suffering back-to-back season-ending knee injuries, scored only 2 points but her overall presence could not be discounted.

“To have her back, everyone had an immediate energy (boost),” Loebel said.

The Vikings took command early behind its fabled diamond press, creating easy scoring opportunities in transition.

To make matters worse for Rosary, Geneva sharpshooter Morgan Seberger drained all three 3-point field-goal attempts in the first half as part of her game-high 14-point afternoon.

“We need some outside shooters,” Seberger said. “(On defense) we want the other team to turn the ball over. That’s what we’re good at.”

Ellen Dwyer scored on the inside for Geneva to give the Vikings a commanding 31-10 lead early in the second quarter as Rosary would receive individual field goals from Emily Bakala, Rachel Choice and Maddy Hammerich in trailing 36-15 at halftime.

“I wasn’t that concerned about (the number of ) field goals (converted), because we were in attack mode,” Rosary coach Jessie Wilcox said. “Where we struggle is when we settle for outside shots.”

The other telling development was on the offensive glass; Geneva was unmerciful with 19 second-chance shot attempts.

“You could definitely feel that we were much taller than them,” Seberger said.

But Rosary could take some solace in outscoring Geneva in the second half as Meadows substituted liberally.

Ten of the 12 Geneva players who saw action scored; Loebel augmented Seberger with 13 points.

Bakala and Karly Tate scored 10 points each to lead Rosary.

“From the get-go (the Vikings) were more physical,” Wilcox said. “We now know for the rest of the year how much more physical we have to be.”