WATERLOO — On Tuesday night the Waterloo and Geneva boys varsity basketball programs squared off in a game for the ages. On Wednesday night, history almost repeated itself as the girls programs took center stage. This time the visiting Panthers escaped with a 55-50 victory.
“We’ll take any win no matter how we get it,” Geneva coach Ed Collins Jr. said. “The first game we played against Waterloo we went to overtime with them. To kind of remark what coach (Michael) Bree said after the first game, I think it’s two even teams. All of these kids battled tonight and went at it, we’re lucky to come out on top — so we’ll take it.”
Both teams started slowly, but the Indians claimed a narrow 12-11 lead after the first thanks in large part to eighth-grader Jazzmyn Lewis who sparked them early en route to a 16-point night.
Geneva began to gel more as a unit in the second quarter as China Aimes found a good rhythm. The junior would finish with 16 points and helped the Panthers reverse the one-point deficit and claim a 28-27 halftime lead.
A bit of history was then made in the third quarter as Geneva senior captain Lauren DeVaney scored her 1,000th career point. The game was momentarily paused, and the crowd gave her an ovation. She would go on to score a game-high 20 points for the Panthers.
“She came up with us halfway through her seventh grade year,” Collins said. “We had a couple players get hurt so we pulled her up. She played four games her freshman year because she got injured in school, then missed the whole year. So to still have this accomplishment and achievement is good, because we’ve never been a program about making one kid a focal point. We’ve always been about five kids.”
“She works hard, but her teammates are also responsible for that 1,000 points,” Collins continued, “because they’ve done a great job of giving her the ball in places to score. I give her credit for how hard she works, but she always gives credit to her teammates as well — and I think that’s what makes her the player she is.”
The game came down to a nail-biting conclusion just as the boys game did the night before. Lewis bagged a big 3-pointer with 12.4 seconds remaining to cut the Panthers’ lead to 53-50. However, with 1.3 seconds remaining DeVaney was fouled. The newly-minted 1,000-point-career-scorer went to the free throw line and hit both foul shots to put the game away.
For Waterloo, sophomore McKenzie Barber added 12 points and nine rebounds.