Beaver Falls, PA – It’s common place for coaches to reevaluate teams as the season goes along. For Geneva head coach Jeff Santarsiero, he certainly is not pleased with his team that came into action on Saturday having won just nine of its first 21 games. However, on Saturday, the Golden Tornadoes began their remaining stretch of eight games on the regular season schedule with an 80-71 victory over Franciscan University. The win helped Geneva improve to 10-12 overall and will hopefully give the Golden Tornadoes something to build on with just seven conference games remaining on the schedule.
“We told our guys that our season starts today,” said Santarsiero. “There is no use in looking back at what has happened. All we can do is move forward and we will take a victory any way we can get it.”
Santarsiero’s team certainly didn’t play its most crisp game of the season, but it did pick up a victory. Geneva defeated Franciscan by 30 points in the season opener, but needed a much harder effort on Saturday to secure the victory. “We are talking about a team in Franciscan that picked up a couple new guys at the break. They have gradually gotten better this season and we expected a different looking team than the one we faced in November.”
Geneva led by as many as 21 points in the first half and took a 43-26 lead into the locker room. Franciscan was able to cut Geneva’s advantage down to just five points with less than ten minutes remaining in the game. Geneva, however, was able to hold on thanks to contributions from several players.
“Justin Nardi played a great game,” said Santarsiero. “When he controls the game and get run the offense, we are a very good team. It was also nice to see Kyle (McDermott) get more involved offensively.” McDermott scored 11 points despite foul trouble throughout the game. Bryan Hill continued to sparkle in his freshman campaign with a team best 16 points, including five three-point field goals. Jermaine Ferguson added 11 points in the victory.
“We will build from this and get ready for our next challenge,” said Santarsiero. “Every game is big from here on out and we have to turn our attention to Notre Dame for Wednesday night.”
Geneva will welcome the first-place Falcons to Metheny Fieldhouse on Wednesday before hosting Seton Hill University next Saturday night.