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.