Geibel boys basketball coach Ed Kroupa had plenty to smile about Wednesday.
Kroupa’s widest grin came after the Gators finished what they started by beating Fort Cherry, 61-46, in the King Coal Lions Club Championship at Carmichaels.
Mike Noonan paced Geibel (6-3) with 18 points, all but two of which came in the first half.
The Gators owned the first two quarters, building a 16-4 lead after eight minutes, and then pushing the advantage to 38-20 by halftime.
Despite scoring just seven third-quarter points, Geibel led by 17 with eight minutes to go.
Fort Cherry (2-7) used a 10-0 run to start the fourth quarter and pulled to within 45-38 with 3:26 remaining, but Geibel scored 12 of the next 14 points to put the game out of reach.
“Again, we played three quarters of basketball,” Kroupa said. “We’re still working to become a complete team. What pleased me most tonight was that we regrouped (after Fort Cherry’s run), and we finished the game strong.”
Trey Holmes added 15 points for Geibel, and Aaron Agostini had 13, of which all but three came during the second quarter.
Noonan scored the Gators’ first eight points and finished with 10 in the quarter.
Agostini followed that by scoring 10 of the Geibel’s 12 points in the second quarter.
Geibel’s biggest lead of the first half was at 30-11 after a Holmes’ layup.
The key to the Gators’ first-half success was forcing Fort Cherry into turnovers. Through two quarters, the Indians turned the ball over 17 times.
“We’re trying to put in a new system defensively, and we’re trying to play an up-tempo offense,” Kroupa said. “We have to eliminate the spurts where we get a little erratic.”
Geibel didn’t score until the 3:17 mark of the final quarter, but the Gators finished strong at the free throw line, hitting 10 of their final 11 attempts.