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Chillicothe Times-Bulletin - Chillicothe, IL
  • IVC basketball beats Geneseo and Princeton

  • After falling to St. Bede at home, 63-54, Jan. 11 to snap a three-game win streak, Illinois Valley Central's basketball team put that loss in the rearview mirror.
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  • After falling to St. Bede at home, 63-54, Jan. 11 to snap a three-game win streak, Illinois Valley Central's basketball team put that loss in the rearview mirror.
    The team beat Geneseo, 58-45, Jan. 15 on the road.
    "That was a good win," coach Joe Mintus said. "That was a good bounce back win coming off that loss to St. Bede. I thought our kids were a little embarrassed by that. We struggled to start the game but we played hard the whole game. We just didn't have the intensity we needed to kick start our defense in the first half and they jumped on us."
    IVC started the game on a roll, racking up points by passing through Geneseo defenders to create high-percentage shots.
    Defensively, the team did not start stellar but found a way to hold a 13-11 lead after the opening quarter.
    In the second quarter, the Ghost defense fell apart and allowed Geneseo to go on an 18-8 run.
    Nothing Geneseo did went wrong for eight minutes as they blasted through the lane to score at the post but also knocked down shots on the perimeter.
    IVC trailed, 29-21, at halftime.
    "We came out in the second half and we looked like a different team," Mintus said. "We played with a lot of intensity and played like how we practiced coming into that game."
    In the third quarter, the giant awoke and IVC dominated Geneseo in all facets to go on a 25-5 scoring binge.
    AJ Johnson, who led the team with 15 points for the game, popped shots over Geneseo defenders and also used his speed to blow by the defense.
    Reilly Owens got in on the action by slinging passes to open teammates and sinking shots when he was repaid in kind.
    Down the stretch, the Ghosts did not do anything spectacular offensively or defensively, but did enough to keep Geneseo from making a comeback.
    The team then headed to North Central Illinois Conference rival Princeton Friday and won, 68-49.
    "That was probably our best overall game of the year just for the fact that we played hard and with the intensity level I look for for four quarters," Mintus said. "We really played hard on defense and caused Princeton to turn it over a lot."
    IVC established its offensive dominance early with Owens accurately deciding when to slash through the lane or knock down the shot from the perimeter.
    Owens led the team with 15 points.
    IVC led, 33-23, at halftime.
    The third quarter was close, with both teams trading points back and forth.
    Page 2 of 2 - Johnson juked Tiger defenders to score on tough mid-range shots.
    In the final quarter, the Ghost offense could do no wrong and charged to the win.
    The Ghosts dropped the final game of the week to Rockridge Saturday, 70-51, in the Great Western Shootout at Abingdon.
    "I thought we played hard that whole game," Mintus said. "The first quarter we really played well and got on them quick. I don't think they know what to expect but they got their legs under them and came back on us in the second quarter."
    Both sides were on fire early as neither defense could do much to slow the other's offense.
    Owens, again with the hot hand, fired in shots over Rockridge defenders to spur the offense.
    Rockridge, in the second quarter, awoke offensively and exploded for 25 points.
    Whether it was sinking shots at the perimeter or driving to the hoop, Rockridge could do no wrong.
    At halftime, the Ghosts trailed 38-25.
    Rockridge did not slow down in the third quarter and put another 19 points on the board.
    The Ghost offense never lagged particularly but did not look stellar enough to keep up with Rockridge's offensive onslaught.
    "I thought we really got better this week," Mintus said. "We were 2-1 with three long bus rides on the road. I thought it was a good week. We knew that Rockridge would be good, and that is a tough game to play less than 24 hours since your last game."
    The team next plays at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at home against East Peoria.
    "I like our intensity level on defense," Mintus said. "We are starting to pick up that intensity that you need to win.
    "I don't like losing, and I know that our team doesn't like losing, but I think that the St. Bede loss might have been good for us. I think it woke the team up. I know it woke me up. I think we may have been getting a little too comfortable before that."
    The team next plays at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at home against East Peoria.
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