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Boys basketball: Geneva edges Bartlett in UEC crossover

Updated: February 23, 2013 12:44AM

It was one of those nights at Bartlett’s gym Friday when no one could find the basket — except for Geneva’s sophomore forward Nate Navigato.

In an Upstate Eight crossover, regular-season ending game between the Hawks and the Vikings in which 70 points were scored, Navigato netted 23 of them while leading his team to a 36-34 victory.

“I feel like I took the same amount of shots, but I was just feeling it more today than in other games,” said Navigato, who hit 9-of-13 from the floor and had four three-pointers.

The Hawks, who substituted liberally all night, struggled with their shooting. They made just 12-of-50 from the field (24 percent), but still had two chances at a tie or win in the closing seconds after two foul shots from Chris Parrillo with 2:34 put Geneva ahead for good 36-34.

But Mitch Reid’s shot in the paint from 11 feet rimmed out with seven seconds left, and after a missed one-and-one by Parrillo, Bartlett’s Kevin Wantroba got off a desperation three-pointer from the deep corner at the buzzer that didn’t get close.

“We had good looks — we just couldn’t shoot,” Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith said. “We knew coming in they were going to run a zone. We didn’t scout this game, we didn’t really focus on this game. Our focus is on next week (regionals).

“Geneva came in wanting to win and they played really well defensively. I thought we played real well defensively, too, except we left (Navigato) open a few too many times and he made us pay.”

The lead had changed hands twice in the fourth quarter before Navigato hit a three-pointer for a 32-31 Geneva lead. Lance Whitaker made 1-of-2 free throws to tie it, but Connor Chapman’s putback gave Geneva the lead again. Then Jon Moss put down a layup to knot it at 34.

In all there were eight lead changes in a game that started with Geneva taking a 9-1 lead.

The Vikings’ box-and-one zone held Whitaker to seven points and he came up with 10 rebounds. Marcus Aluquin led Bartlett (19-9) with 11 points.

“Lance did what you’re supposed to do against a team that face-guards you and runs box-and-one; he just set picks for teammates and tried to find his teammates with passes,” Wolfsmith said.

Whitaker’s defense concerned Geneva as much as his offense, but Navigato provided what the Vikings needed.

“What I liked about what he did tonight was he didn’t shy away when Whitaker was guarding him,” Geneva coach Phil Ralston said. “Whitaker can be very physical and is a very good defender.

“The kid is going to be playing Division I ball at UIC next year and you want to face that kind of player. It was nice to see Nate wasn’t backing down from him.”

Chapman had nine points for Geneva (19-8), which hit 7-of-12 from the field in the second half after making only 3-of-13 in the second quarter. Navigato had nine of his team’s 14 field goals on the night and the other Vikings made 5-of-18 from the floor.

“Any time you can hold a team going for their 20th win to 34 points, I think you’re doing more right than wrong,” Ralston said.

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