Beaver Falls, PA – The stakes will be raised beginning next year when Geneva joins Westminster in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference. But for the two long-time rivals, they weren’t waiting around for one more year to play another thriller in the long-time history that dates back to 1898. In the most recent chapter, Geneva rallied from 13 points down to come away with an 83-80 decision at Metheny Fieldhouse on Saturday night.
Westminster opened a 13 point lead at 32-19 on Ryne Murray’s jump shot with 9:30 remaining in the first half. The Golden Tornadoes rallied late in the half to pull back within one point at 42-41 after 20 minutes of play. “We really came on strong defensively late in the half,” said head coach Jeff Santarsiero. “That was a big part of the game and of our season and our guys really responded well.”
Geneva finally took its first lead at 54-52 on a Ryan Burns lay-up with 12:07 to play in the game. The Golden Tornadoes extended their lead to 11 points at 63-52 with 6:38 left to play. To Westminster’s credit, it continued to work and rallied back to tie the score at 76 when Murray canned a three-point field goal at the 1:14 mark. Zac Northen, Burns and Bryan Hill all made key free throws down the stretch to preserve the victory. “I couldn’t be more proud of these guys,” said Santarsiero. “They really responded well after a disappointing loss the other night. We got back to what makes us successful and that is simply working hard.”
Greg McDivitt picked up his fourth double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Kyle McDermott added 19 points, while Ryan Burns was huge off the bench with 14 points on 6-7 shooting from the field. For Westminster, Craig Hannon scored 22 points to lead five Titans in double figures.
Geneva will enjoy a week off before playing a pair of games at the Malone College Tournament beginning with a game against St. Francis, IL on Friday night. Geneva won’t return home until a date with Penn State Beaver on December 16th.