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La Salle-Peru senior Noah Lamboley dribbles up court during the Cavaliers’ 53-46 loss to Geneseo in a Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division game Friday in La Salle. Lamboley reached 1,000 career points. NewsTribune photo/Chris Yucus
The La Salle-Peru boys basketball team knew it was in for a tough task against Geneseo on Friday since the Cavaliers lost to the Maple Leafs by two points earlier in the season.
Senior Noah Lamboley scored the 14 points he needed to reach 1,000 career points, but the Cavalier defense couldn’t hold up against Geneseo’s inside-outside game as L-P fell 53-46 in the Northern Big 12 Conference West Division game in La Salle.
“It was pretty special to do it at home,” said Lamboley, who led the Cavaliers in scoring. “I’m glad I got it. I’m still here to play team ball. I was just having fun out here with the team. It’s a great accomplishment and I got to do it in front of my mom — that’s a good thing.”
Lamboley is the second player to score his 1,000th point in the last two seasons as Jens Soderholm accomplished the feat as a Cavalier last season.
“Noah deserves every bit of what he gets,” L-P coach Jim Cherveny said. “He puts in a lot of work both here at practice and I know him and his dad spend a lot of time shooting and it’s paid off. What I hope to see is that trickle down to some of our younger players seeing the amount of time and effort you put in pays off in the long run. Noah is one of those role models for our entire program.”
The battle between L-P and the Maple Leafs began as a perimeter vs. inside battle as Lamboley and sophomore Brady Huebbe shot from the outside for the Cavaliers, while 6-foot-7 junior Drew Himmelman pounded it in the paint for Geneseo.
The chess match led to ties after the first quarter (11-11) and the second (24-24), and had five ties between the start of the game and the beginning of the second half.
By halftime, Lamboley scored 10 points, Huebbe had eight of his game’s 11 points and Himmelman had 14 points and five rebounds of his game’s double-double of 27 and 11.
“Himmelman had a really nice game for them,” Cherveny said. “It’s hard to stop and contain him. You just do your best by sending two or three guys at him and he still had a phenomenal game. He’s really come around this year for Geneseo.
They had some kids make some big outside shots too.
“It made it tough for us to defend because we’re focusing on the inside and (Himmelman) kicks it back out, makes a good basketball play and they hit a 3. They had a lot of good counters for our defense.”
Geneseo’s outside scoring came from senior Ethan Radue, who hit two 3-pointers in the first half and one more in the second half to finish with 16 points.
Only 10 Maple Leaf points were not scored by Himmelman or Radue.
“Their game plan was solid of helping, but once we figured out to reverse the ball — and we’re an outside threat — they had to come out on us,” Geneseo coach Brad Storm said. “Those guys couldn’t stay in there and sag on Drew the entire time because we got some guys that can do some other things on the perimeter. We just had to be patient and pick and choose our times to go in there.”
The Maple Leafs began the third quarter on a 6-0 run, and after L-P scored four of the next six points, Geneseo went on a 5-0 run to pull ahead 37-29.
L-P (9-14, 2-7 NIB 12 West) got within three points after Huebbe hit a 3-pointer and Luke Dresbach made a layup, but Geneseo replied quickly with a 3 from Greg Rusk to give the Maple Leafs a 42-36 lead heading into the last eight minutes.
Lamboley converted on a three-point play to cut the lead to 42-39 and hit his 997th and 998th points, but once again Geneseo (12-13, 2-5 NIB 12 West) had the answer.
It continued this way until a 5-0 Geneseo run in the last 1:09 of the game closed the Cavaliers’ window of opportunity to steal the conference victory.
“They’re a good team and have the big 6-foot-7 kid,” Lamboley said. “He’s a tough guy to guard when you don’t have anyone that size. We worked hard, we played good, but we just couldn’t come out with this one. We come out here and battle every night, give it our all, but we fell a little short this time.”
Notes: The sophomore team defeated Geneseo 65-49 as four players finished in double-digit scoring. Jake Doyle scored 19 points, Christian Soderholm had 15, Kobey Fusinetti added 14 and Ryan Atilano pitched in 10 points for the Cavaliers.