For the Star Beacon
Things don’t seem to be getting any better for the Geneva boys.
On Tuesday, they came to South High School in a game they thought they could turn into their first win of the season. Instead, the contest contained much of the same old storylines that have haunted them all year, as the Rebels took charge from the get-go and never looked back in a 61-26 victory.
Geneva (0-15, 0-10 in the Premier Athletic Conference) was never in this one, as South scored the initial 13 points and also started the second quarter with a 12-point run en route to a 37-9 halftime advantage.
“Out of sync from the start,” Geneva coach Scott Torok said. “(We were) like a deer in the headlights.”
The Rebels (5-11, 4-6) also began the second half with nine straight points, making it another 12-0 run overall dating back to the close of the first half. That made it 46-9 midway through the fourth quarter.
The Eagles struggled against South’s pressure, which was one of the familiarities about this night. They turned the ball over 27 times, and hit only eight of their 38 attempts from the floor, for 21.1 percent.
“We’re not a good shooting team; we’re shooting under 35 percent for the season,” Torok said. “If we could turn it on real quick, I think we would. But we’re about ball control, controlling the game and tempo, and obviously we didn’t do that tonight.
“When we play against teams that pressure us, it;s tough to simulate that in practice.”
“I think we set the tempo right away with our pressure,” South coach Roy Infalvi Jr. said. “I though we did a great job defensively. Fullcourt man, we were able to turn them over, and in the halfcourt I thought we rotated well and gave them a lot of trouble.”
The Rebels, meanwhile, had eight of their players score a basket in the first period, and built a 20-2 lead before Dan Camplese (7 points) converted a layup for Geneva to close the first-quarter scoring. South went nine-of-15 in the period.
“It’s always great when you see the scoring distributed among the team,” Infalvi said. “We talked at halftime. All our shots were good shots. We didn’t force a lot of shots. So any time we take good, open shots, I’m happy.”
“They could do whatever they wanted,” Torok said when asked about the Rebels’ scoring distribution in the first quarter. “We didn’t stop anything. And that’s one of our big things: If we’re not going to score, we’ve got to defend. And we didn’t do, either.”
South’s Harry Chakirelis was the only player in double figures, with 12 points. All but one of its 14 players hit the scoring column, and the one who didn’t, Johnathan Hughes, had two rebounds and two steals.
Only one Rebel failed to contribute to the team’s whopping 52-rebound total, and the one who didn’t, Dylan Caruso, scored eight points to go with team-leading totals in assists (4) and thefts (4).
Geneva’s Ron Varckette had nine boards to tie with Chakirelis for the game-high. Zac Sweat tied Camplese for the team-high with seven points.
“(Our) last three games, we’ve played very well defensively, and I think we’re starting to turn the corner,” Infalvi said. ‘We just want to continue that intensity for 32 minutes.”
Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.