The Wolverines needed overtime to defeat Geneva.
GROVE CITY, Pa. — After 40 minutes of basketball, Grove City and Geneva couldn’t decide the issue as the two teams were deadlocked at 57-all.
However, in overtime, the Wolverines outscored their guests by an 11-7 margin to walk away with a 68-64 win.
“I just tried to keep the kids as loose as possible,” GCC coach Steve Lamie said. “I just wanted them to relax and play the game. I thought Geneva had our number in the first half.
“They were taking a lot of our little counters away from us, but then we started figuring it out and as a result, we started playing better.”
Leading by as many as 13 in the second half, the Golden Tornadoes (1-4) couldn’t hold on to the advantage and that didn’t sit well with coach Jeff Santarsiero.
“I thought we made some poor decisions offensively and took some quick shots,” Santarsiero said. “I think that was the key in that stretch, but give them credit; Grove City is a great team.
“I told the guys at halftime they would make a run because of their upperclassmen, some of who started for four years.”
Lamie also felt senior leadership made the difference.
“We had some seniors step up and they are very good,” Lamie said.
The first dozen minutes were about as close as they could have been with Grove City holding an 18-15 lead after five lead changes and two ties.
But that is when the Golden Tornadoes took control of the game as they closed out the first half with 17-7 run for a 32-25 halftime lead.
Turnovers were a factor in Geneva holding its seven-point lead as GCC was guilty of 10 turnovers to just four for the Tornadoes.
“Coming into this game, we had been a little less patient on offense,” Santarsiero said. “We made some adjustments and I thought our defense was pretty good in the first half.
“We got some key rebounds and started boxing out a little better, and even though they hit the shot at the end [of the first half], I was comfortable where we were.
“As for the second half, we came out and let them get their feet a little wet and you can’t do that against a Grove City team because they’ll just take the air out of the ball and run their stuff.”
Lamie also felt the turnover deficit in the first half was beneficial to the Tornadoes.
“That [the deficit] was frustrating for us,” he said. “When they were switching our screens, we had a difficult time figuring out how to score.”
With his team trailing by four heading down the stretch in regulation, Wolverine senior Ryan Gibson put his teammates on his shoulders as he scored the final four points of the second half to send it to overtime.
Gibson, who finished with eight points, only scored two of his total prior to his last-second heroics.
“I didn’t really feel like I needed to take charge. All I did was to look for my shot,” explained Gibson. “We got some easy layups in transition and that is the way I get a lot of my points. They were pressuring [Andy] O’Keefe, I saw some openings and was able to get some points.”
For Grove City (4-1) , Andy O’Keefe led all scorers with 21 points, O’Keefe joined in double figures by Caleb Orchard with 14.
Justin Nardi led the Tornadoes with 14 points, Dave Phillips (12), Bryan Hill (12) and Richard Colick (10) also hitting double figures.