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Benet’s Elise Stout, Emma Hlavin hand Geneva first loss of season

Benet’s Elise Stout and Emma Hlavin don’t get many headlines. But that’s OK with them.

“Stout is a high-effort, high-energy kid and she and Hlavin have sort of settled into roles,” Benet coach Joe Kilbride said. “’If I score, great. If I don’t, great. Let’s just go work our butts off and win.’ You really need people to buy into that, and those two are leading the charge.”

The duo’s unselfishness was on display Saturday against Geneva at the Montini Christmas Tournament. Stout had nine points, eight steals, six assists and four rebounds and Hlavin added five rebounds, an assist and a steal to lead Benet to a 69-52 victory.

Benet (15-0) advances to play Montini in a semifinal Monday at 6:30 p.m.

Stout and Hlavin helped ignite an 11-1 run to start the game, and by the time Hlavin found Kathleen Doyle for her only assist with 2:46 remaining in the first quarter, the lead had swelled to 25-10. Stout’s assist to Emily Eshoo extended the advantage to 29-12.

Benet led 46-26 at intermission.

“We wanted to play a tempo game with them and try to make them get up and down,” Kilbride said. “We’ve been doing a pretty good job all year of getting out early, jumping on people and trying to create pace. We were able to do that today.

“Our big three (Emily Schramek, Doyle and Eshoo) get a lot of attention, but honestly (Katie) Jaseckas, Hlavin and Stout are all shooting over 50 percent from the floor. (Morgan) Thomalla is giving us good production as well.”

Geneva (11-1) got good production from 6-foot senior Abby Novak, who finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Novak helped the Vikings get within 52-38 with 2:31 remaining in the third quarter. But that was as close as Geneva would get.

“Abby has played two games back-to-back that are lights out,” Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. “Honestly, she’s capable of that every single game. She’s playing huge for us. That’s what we need.”

What the Vikings did not need was to fall so far behind so fast.

“We started off too slow against a team like that,” Meadows said. “I’m kind of mad about that myself. We talked about it at the walk-through. We just had to be more focused to start that game. It was huge game for us. We knew that going in. We just had to have a better start.”

Eshoo scored 24 points, Doyle added 17 and Schramek had 14, all in the first half, for Benet, which eventually extended to a 65-42 lead with 5:18 remaining on a basket from Eshoo following Stout’s steal.

“We came out pretty strong in the first half,” Stout said. “We had a little lull in the third quarter, but we knew we’d have to keep up the pressure to the extreme and keep getting loose balls and diving on the floor to get every play we can.”

Freshman Margaret Whitley added 11 points for Geneva, which played its second straight game without 6-2 sophomore Grace Loberg. The Wisconsin volleyball recruit is participating in a U.S. Junior Olympic training camp in Colorado Springs.

“That’s a good team, and with Grace they’re more formidable,” Kilbride said. “Even without her, that’s a good team. You could see in the second half, the third quarter became a slower game. They were able to use their bigs. We fouled too much and sort of made it a halfcourt game.

“Even though we had a pretty good lead, I didn’t really feel comfortable. Even with a 17-point lead with a couple minutes to go, it just didn’t feel like that much of a margin.”