By TIM CLEVELAND
For the Star Beacon
It seems the spell the Geneva girls basketball team had over Lakeview has come to an end.
After the Eagles ended Lakeview’s season three consecutive times in the tournament, the Bulldogs turned the tables in last year’s Division II district semifinal.
That trend continued Saturday afternoon, as Lakeview used a 16-0 second-quarter run to take firm control for a 58-39 victory in the season opener for both teams.
Despite the lopsided defeat, Geneva coach Nancy Barbo said she felt like the game was a learning moment for her team.
“I think this is a great game to start out with because it’s not a conference game,” she said. “They’re no longer in our tournament. They’re a physical team; they’re an experienced team. It’s exactly what we needed to help narrow our focus a little bit.”
Lakeview coach Adam Lewis said the run was a result of his team’s usual defensive performance.
“That’s one of our strengths,” he said. “We play in spurts. We really capitalize on turnovers and finishing in transition off of those turnovers. The girls did a great job in the second half of capitalizing on those mistakes that Geneva made.”
After Geneva scored to get within 3 at 21-18, Lakeview went on its run to blow the game open.
Calli Schmitt led the Bulldogs during the outburst, scoring 6-consecutive points for a 27-18 lead. Marissa Naples had a blocked shot and fed Schmitt for a hoop, then Schmitt had an offensive rebound and put back for another score.
Alli Pavlik put in another basket, then she capped the run with a steal, a pass to Abby Pavlik, who fed Jensen Silbaugh for a basket to give the Bulldogs a 37-18 advantage with less than a minute to play in the first half.
“We like to run the ball; we like to make the game 100 miles per hour,” she said. “In the first quarter, we came out and did that. We finished it out, so I’m proud of (my teammates).
“They’re a really good 3-point shooting team. When they started making 3’s, we really had to pick it up. Once we get our momentum going, we can’t stop.”
Alli Pavlik dominated play for Lakeview, finishing with 19 points and eight steals.
“Alli Pavlik is a phenomenal player,” Lewis said. “That’s par for the course with her. She generally is our firecracker and starts everything off for us.”
The Eagles made an attempt to get back in the game in the third quarter behind sophomore Lindsey Mayle.
Mayle scored the final basket of the second quarter, then kept it going in the third. She hit on consecutive layups, then ended the quarter with a 3-pointer to pull her team to within 41-30.
“That pumped us up,” Mayle said of her performance in the third quarter. “We were energized for the fourth quarter. Everyone was definitely giving more energy, I think. We were just trying our best to come back and try to win it.”
Mayle scored seven points in the third and paced Geneva with 19 overall.
“I just tried to keep my team in the game; we tried to come back,” she said. “We were down at halftime, we wanted to give it our all; fight for every loose ball and go to the rack to try and get some fouls or dish off and get some layups.”
“She has put in the hours in the gym,” Barbo said. “Anything she gets this year is a testament to her hard work. She can do that any night of the season.”
Any hopes Geneva had of a comeback evaporated early in the fourth quarter. Schmitt had a pair of baskets sandwiched around a steal and a coast-to-coast layup by Naples for a 47-30 lead.
“We turned it over just from making weak passes, weak cuts,” Barbo said. “I felt like aside from them getting easy points in transition off of steals, we gave them second and third fourth shots almost every possession in the first half.”
Schmitt had 15 points and seven rebounds for the Bulldogs.
“Calli had a lot of put backs,” Lewis said. “She was solid for us tonight. She played like a senior.”
Moments later, Abby Pavlik had a basket, Addison Becker scored, and Pavlik followed with a steal and layup to give Lakeview a 53-32 lead to close Geneva out.
Barbo said Geneva needs to get tougher and change its mental makeup from this point forward.
“I felt like we were pushed around tonight and we took it,” she said. “That can’t happen.”
Cleveland is a freelance writer from Warren.