Nov 27, 2006 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
As a new girls basketball season began, West Genesee and Bishop Ludden made the short trip north to play in Baldwinsville’s annual Bill Middleton Tip-Off Tournament.
They both arrived with good feelings about a new season. WG vastly improved in 2005-06 under first-year head coach Jeff Ross, going 11-11 before falling to eventual champion Rome Free Academy in the Section III Class AA quarterfinals.
Ludden, also under a new coach (Jill Blasi), did even better, parlaying a 12-7 regular-season result into the sectional Class B-2 title. South Jefferson beat the Gaelic Knights in the overall Class B title game on its way to a state championship.
Both teams brought back most of its ’05-06 rosters, though Ludden saw its outstanding senior center, Shannon Sangster, graduate.
And as it happened, WG and Ludden would meet each other in last Friday’s opening round at B’ville, with the Wildcats hanging on to beat the Gaelic Knights 45-42.
Sparked by its new eighth-grade point guard, Ashley Cianfraglia, Ludden led throughout the first half, only to see WG establish its paint presence late in the half and tie it, 24-24, before the break.
When Cianfraglia drew her fourth foul in the third quarter and went to the bench, Nicole Monroe took over. The Wildcats’ junior forward had eight of her 20 points in that frame, and when Carly Detor’s 25-foot shot beat the buzzer, WG built its lead to 39-31.
Eventually, the margin grew to 11 late in the game before Ludden (aided by the fact that Chrysa Lyons and Liz Wierbinski both fouled out) made a belated push.
Cianfraglia, despite her foul trouble, had 11 points, just behind senior teammate Katie Sierotnik (12 points), while Bridget Musto had nine points and Molly Byrne put up seven points.
In Saturday’s consolation game, Ludden would bounce back, knocking off the hosts from Baldwinsville in a 45-36 decision.
From a 10-6 first-quarter deficit, the Gaelic Knights used its defense to take over, giving up just 12 total points in the second and third periods and seizing the lead for good.
Musto, who finished with 12 points, gained All-Tournament team honors. Jenny Jeffrey stepped up with 10 points, with Cianfraglia earning nine points and Byrne gaining eight points.
WG would not have as much fortune in the finals against Utica-Notre Dame, watching a late comeback fall just short in a 42-38 loss to the Jugglers.
For much of the game, UND’s zone defense locked up the Wildcats’ forwards, and with less than five minutes left, WG trailed 35-24.
But Monroe, with six of her 15 points, helped WG go on a 14-5 run to close within two, 40-38, in the homestretch, before eighth-grader Tiffany Albert sank a pair of free throws with 13.7 seconds left to seal it. Monroe and Amanda Cizenski both joined Musto on the All-Tournament Team.
WG hosts its own tournament this Friday and Saturday, while Ludden opens OHSL Liberty division play Wednesday night at Marcellus.