Sidney Santos quietly leads surging Geneva

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It’s hard to imagine where Geneva would have been without Sidney Santos.  Last season, the 6-1 power forward/center turned point guard moved outside when Michaela Loebel was lost for the season to a knee injury. Santos guided the Vikings to the sectional semifinals before they fell to top-seeded WW South.

Fast forward one year. Loebel is hurt again early in the season, and Santos, who quietly admits she was looking forward to being the distributee rather than the distributor, is again thrust into the all-too familiar role at the point.

Santos’ numbers may not jump out at anyone. Last year, she averaged eight points and five assists per game. But Geneva coach Sarah Meadows, whose team was 23-5 heading into last night’s sectional semifinal, knows that numbers do not tell the whole story.

“Sidney goes out there and does whatever she has to do to make our team successful,” Meadows said. “She doesn’t care about scoring. She’s so unselfish. She’s such a team player. I can’t say enough about her.

“She is the glue to this team, and if we don’t have her we crumble, we fall apart,” the coach added. “She is vital to this team.”

Santos would have been a four-year varsity starter at Geneva had she not been derailed by her own injuries as a freshman and sophomore. Those injuries prevented her from playing high school basketball with her sister, Ashley, who is now at Marquette.

“Missing the first two years was rough,” Santos said. “Growing up, Ashley and I always wanted to be ‘The Santos Sisters’ and in the paper and things like that. But missing those years, honestly, it’s made me stronger mentally. It made me love the game more. I appreciate the game more.”

She also appreciates the support she gets from her teammates.

“Although I have to play point guard, everyone steps up as well,” Santos said. “With the way they support me, they all made the transition easy. I could not in a million years have done it with another team.“

Santos has willingly scaled back her offensive game. She still can bury the three-pointer or drive the paint and nail a pull-up jumper. But with weapons like 6-foot-2 freshman Grace Loberg and junior Janie McCloughan, she does it with less frequency.

“I try to put shots up before and after practice (to stay sharp),” the Oakland (Mich.) University recruit said. “But I would rather have the assist and win the game than score 50 points and lose.”

Geneva hasn’t lost much lately. The Vikings carried an 11-game winning streak into Tuesday’s sectional semifinal against WW South. Santos has been a big part of Geneva’s success – on and off the court.

“She’s a great kid,” Meadows said. “She does everything she supposed to do. She makes people around her better, she really does, whether it’s on the basketball floor or walking in the hallway at school. She is just an all-around great kid.”

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