Gielczyk: Scottville’s Geers Shining at Hope

Mason County Central graduate Madison Geers is currently averaging 10.4 points per game as a senior at Hope College.

After an outstanding high school career at Mason County Central in Scottville, there were several options open to Madison Geers.

She went to Hope College, a Division III school, with the desire to become a nurse, as well as play basketball, and she’s done an exceptional job at both.

On course to graduate in May with a degree in nursing, Geers has also been an integral part of the Flying Dutch women’s basketball team’s amazing run to a 16-0 record, 7-0 in the MIAA.

“We’re excited about the whole person in Madison Geers,” says her coach, Brian Morehouse. “Just how she has grown, matured and moved forward throughout her four years in basketball.

“She’s shown improvement every year, this year being no different. As obviously taken on a bigger leadership role as a junior and a senior, and is currently a captain doing a wonderful job.”

Geers is averaging 10.4 points a game overall, and 10.7 in the MIAA, and contributed 12 in a 58-51 win over Calvin on Saturday, Jan. 13.

The Flying Dutch are ranked No. 2 in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association poll, and No. 3 by D3hoops.com.

A 5-foot-9 senior guard, Geers is an 84.2 percent free throw shooter and has made 16-of-49 attempts from behind the 3-point line in 16 games for a 32.7 percent average. She has logged 351 minutes on the court this season.

“I think her shooting has improved every single year, as well as her strength,” Morehouse said. “This year it doesn’t show up quite as much, simply because she battled a shoulder injury early in the season.

“That hurt her shooting early in our season, but she’s shot the ball well since getting strength back in her shooting shoulder and she’s really come on. She is one of our top defenders.”

Geers doesn’t commit foolish fouls on defense, and has not fouled out of any game this season. She plays with intensity, but plays smart, too.

Morehouse says the area where she’s improved the most, though, is her passing game. She has a positive assist-to-turnover ratio, with 25 assists and only 23 turnovers. Which is a solid statistic for a shooting guard.

With her experience in the Flying Dutch’s system both on offense and defense, Geers has been a good mentor to the younger players and been a tremendous leader from that standpoint as well.

Geers has played big in big games, with her smooth pull-up jumper and 3-point shot, while providing a settling influence with her calm demeanor when the pressure is on being trademarks of her season so far.

“The freshmen that we have are so competitive that they’ve really pushed the upperclassmen into competing each day,” Geers said. “They want to learn so much, and they just be the best they can be.

“It makes it really easy to just lead them. They’ve been stepping up when they need to, and playing their roles.”

As a freshman, the game was just so fast for Geers that she admits that it was hard for her to keep up, and she couldn’t even think about the next move she was going to make.

Now, the game has slowed down for her, and she feels calmer out on the floor. She can think through things, and not get flustered.

“Especially being older, you have to lead,” said Geers. “Especially a team that’s so young. They really look up to our seniors and captains to lead them. They want to be led. Just knowing they want me to be a leader really helps me to step up when I need to step up.”

Geers worked on being more aggressive on offense this year.

In the previous three years, Geers says it wasn’t necessary for her to be a big offensive threat.

She would score, and do what was needed for the team to succeed. But, with such a young team, her role has changed offensively.

“Being such a young team, they kind of just need somebody to be more offensively aggressive,” Geers said. “In the off-season I worked on my jumper game, I’d work on my three.

“I was kind of coming up with combination moves to get to the basket as well. So, I think just knowing I need to be offensively more aggressive was a big mindset when I came in this year.”

Geers thinks the biggest improvement has been her confidence in her ability, and that’s been a difference.

“The ball has been going in,” she added. “I worked so incredibly hard this summer that I feel confident. Not that I didn’t feel confident in the last three years, but my confidence has gotten so much better because you know it’s your last season and  you want to give it your all. I know when I shoot it that the shot is going to go in.”

She added that she’s also worked to better her defense and rebounding this year.

“We have one of the toughest defenses in D3,” Geers said. “We play a team defense, and each of us has to play our piece and guard our own. It helps that our team understands the concept of our defense.

“I think our defense is coming together, and it’s very tough to play against our defense. I really focus on rebounds. It doesn’t matter how good our defense, if you don’t finish the play, there’s no point to our defense.

“I’ve really focused on going in and boarding hard this year. Not letting teams run the stuff they want to run is a big part of our defense. We want teams to call a timeout because they can’t run anything because of our defense. Our team is very conditioned. We push it as hard as we can, as long as we can.”

Geers averages 4.1 rebounds a game, and has 26 steals.

As the Flying Dutch reach the halfway point of the season, Geers is just hoping that they continue to take forward strides and don’t hit a plateau.

“This team is shooting for the stars,” she says. “We can accomplish anything, if we continue to improve and compete in practice. As a senior, my last year, I’ve always dreamed of a national championship.

“With this team, I don’t want to expect anything less.”