Dec 04, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
With fellow starters fouling out and the outcome slipping away, Jamesville-DeWitt girls basketball star Brittany Cohen made sure her team did not leave the court with a defeat in last Saturday night’s final of the 17th annual J-D Tip-Off Tournament.
To that end, Cohen made big shots at the foul line, and behind the three-point arc, to help give the Red Rams a marquee early-season win, a 66-60 decision over Class AA powerhouse Oswego.
In all, Cohen finished 33 points, 10 of them coming in overtime. She somehow did this without a single conventional field goal, hitting on five 3-pointers and 18 of the 20 free throws she attempted to earn tournament MVP honors.
Cohen, and her teammates, needed to be great against Oswego, who had made the Section III Class AA title game each of the last two years and, in forwards Cari Reed and Nikki Carroll, possessed one of the best frontcourt tandems in the area.
Sure enough, the Buccaneers grabbed a 19-9 lead by the early part of the second quarter. But with Cohen, Amanda Koenck and Alyssa Gratien all hitting on key 3-pointers (the team finished with 10), the Red Rams caught up and forged a 30-30 halftime tie.
Taking it even further, J-D went up, building a lead as large as seven in the third quarter before Oswego fought its way back, aided in no small part by the Rams getting into foul trouble.
In fact, Molly Maroney fouled out late in regulation as Oswego tied it, 50-50, then got into a last-minute exchange of free throws — Cohen for the Rams, Carroll for the Bucs. Both sides came up empty on possessions in the last seconds of regulation, so it went to four minutes of OT.
Early in that extra period, Gratien and Megan Maycumber joined Maroney on the bench, and even though J-D exchanged baskets, it would need something from its reserves to keep Cohen from shouldering the entire burden.
Enter Jessica Kramer, a sophomore reserve forward. With her team down 59-58 with less than a minute left, Kramer scored and was fouled with 35 seconds left to give J-D the lead. Kramer missed the free throw, but the rebound came back to her and she hit an open jumper to make it 62-59. Four Cohen free throws sealed the win.
Koenck wasn’t that quiet, finishing with 13 points, as Gratien added nine points before fouling out. In defeat, Reed led the Bucs with 20 points, as Carroll earned 19 points.
All this followed a one-sided opening-round game against Oneida on Friday night, where the Red Rams pummeled the Indians 53-23.
J-D held Oneida to a single free throw in the first quarter, held a 20-5 lead by halftime and never got caught. Cohen led the way again, with 13 points, as Gratien contributed 11 points and Maycumber added six points.
The tournament merely concluded an interesting opening week for the Red Rams that included a trip to Westhill that was downright shocking in its one-sided nature.
Accustomed to beating teams by huge margins as it built one of the most powerful programs in Central New York, the Warriors ended up on the receiving end of one of those beatings as J-D blasted its way to a 68-26 victory.
Just the week before, the Warriors lost its possible starting center, Kayley Arsenault, for the season with a torn ACL.
Knowing this, the Rams honed in on high-scoring guard Carly Cooper and shut her down, holding her without a point in the first half. Cooper finished with just four points.
By then, J-D had run far away, backing up a 38-17 first-half blitz with a 15-2 outburst that covered the third quarter.
Koenck, with 17 points, was one of four Rams to reach double figures. Cohen had 14 points, while Gratien had 11 points and Maycumber put up 10 points. Leah Porter was close behind them, earning nine points. No Westhill player had more than the seven points put up by Valerie Golembiowski.
The tournament wins left the Rams at 3-0 and quite exhilarated, for it showed that its narrow defeat to CBA in last year’s Section III Class A final had made the players believe that greatness was within reach.
So following the postponement of Tuesday’s game at Homer, J-D is set to go to Glens Falls Civic Center on Saturday and face Malone, the Section X powerhouse that knocked off CBA in last year’s Class A regional finals.