Dec 01, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
As they have in years past, the West Genesee and Bishop Ludden girls basketball team would each get early tests when they played in last weekend’s Bill Middleton Tip-Off Tournament in Baldwinsville.
In fact, the Wildcats and Gaelic Knights squared off against each other in last Friday’s opening round — and WG would win, 64-59, using a furious fourth-quarter comeback as the centerpiece of a 3-0 opening-week effort.
With hot shooting in the first quarter, Ludden roared to a 20-10 lead, then maintained that double-digit margin throughout the next two periods, answering every time the Wildcats pushed to get closer.
But in the fourth quarter, Alyssa Sutherland seized control. Proving impossible to contain, WG’s senior forward poured in baskets from everywhere, and that seemed to inspire the Wildcats’ defense, too, as it clamped down amid a closing 23-3 run that produced victory.
By the time she was done, Sutherland had a career-best 31 points, with Allie Kotula, Erica LaComb and Lexie Myers adding eight points apiece.
Ludden had a bit more balance, though Ashley Cianfraglia led the way with 20 points. Michelle Roesch worked her way to 11 points, while Kayla Kibling got 10 points. Natalie Barletta (eight points) and Bella Knapp (seven points) also had solid showings.
Moving on to Saturday’s championship game, West Genesee did not need any kind of rally against host Baldwinsville, taking out the Bees 49-37.
Already with a 16-8 lead, the Wildcats held the Bees to just two points in the second quarter, created a 25-10 halftime margin, and never got caught.
Sutherland cooled down a bit, but still had 17 points to garner tournament MVP honors. Katie Kolinski and Deanna Apps earned seven points apiece, with Carly DiCocco contributing six points. Lauren Brower (12 points) and Maggie Monnat (11 points) both led the B’ville effort.
As for Ludden, it earned third place by dominating the consolation game against Utica-Notre Dame, beating the Jugglers 67-41.
A 17-6 second-quarter spurt broke the game open. Barletta assumed a larger role, too, as she picked up 18 points. Cianfraglia was close behind, with 17 points, while Roesch finished with 13 points.
Both teams fared quite well a season ago. WG went 16-6 and pushed eventual state final four participant Corcoran to the wire before a 41-35 defeat in the Section III Class AA quarterfinals.
Ludden went even further, going 15-8 and reaching the Class B-2 championship game before a Kiley Evans 3-pointer in the final seconds led to the Gaelic Knights taking a 42-39 defeat.
From that team, just two players graduated — but they were important ones. The departures of leading scorer Molly Byrne and Bridget Musto gave returning players like Cianfriglia more responsibility.
As for WG, it saw a strong senior class depart, and head coach Jeff Ross said his team would depend a lot on Sutherland to pull the younger players through some early-season challenges before everyone got comfortable together.
That was certainly the case in last Tuesday’s season opener against Auburn. Sutherland carried her team through much of the night, yet it took her teammates stepping up down the stretch to help the Wildcats beat the Maroons 59-48.
Only once did WG trail in this game, 7-6, but that didn’t lessen the danger. The Wildcats stretched its margin to 25-15 in the second quarter, but Auburn used a 7-0 run to make it tight, and it went to halftime 30-25.
At one point in the third quarter, with Sutherland building her total to 25 points, WG had a 48-35 advantage. Again, Auburn roared back with eight unanswered points, cutting the margin to 48-43 midway through the fourth quarter.
Here, Sutherland’s teammates finally assumed a larger role. Myers, DiCocco, Apps and LaComb all hit on baskets as part of a 9-0 run, and the team’s defense blanked Auburn for more than five minutes to put the game away.
Apps and Myers each had eight points, with DiCocco adding seven points and LaComb finishing with six points. Auburn, in defeat, got 20 points from Kelly Grinnell.
WG went for four in a row in a rematch with B’ville Tuesday night in Camillus before a Friday trip to Rome Free Academy. Ludden has its home opener Friday against Jordan-Elbridge.