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Canastota girls earn Madison Tournament title

Eight games into its season, the Canastota girls basketball team remains flawless, the last two wins earned in the course of the Madison Holiday Tournament.

Back on Dec. 27, the Raiders played in the opening round against Stockbridge Valley and dominated from start to finish in a 56-20 rout over the Indians.

Again, Canastota's defense had a stellar effort, never letting Stockbridge score more than six points in any single period. A 22-point first-quarter outburst was, as it turned out, all the offense the Raiders needed.

By herself, Liz McGinley, with 22 points, outscored the entire Indian roster. Alexis Havens and Shea Foster each had eight points, while Brianna Quaglia and Holly Marsh got six points apiece.

Having roared through the first round, Canastota would find the footing a bit more treacherous in last Monday's final against the hosts from Madison.

In fact, it turned into the Raiders' closest game of the season, dragging into overtime before the visitors could finally subdue the Blue Devils in a 44-38 decision.

Just as it did early against Stockbridge, the Raiders used its defense to seize the lead, holding Madison to just two points in the first quarter.

Through the next two periods, Canastota stayed out in front, only to hit a serious slump in the fourth quarter that allowed the Blue Devils to catch up. By the end of regulation, it was tied again, 36-36, and the teams went to overtime.

Having won so many times in a one-sided manner, Canastota had to show some new poise in the four minutes of OT. And it did so, holding Madison to just two points in that frame and going in front for good.

Whenever she got the chance, McGinley carried the offensive load, pouring in 25 points, a new season high, as Havens got seven points and Quaglia added six points. Taylor Jeffries, with 10 points, and Caitlyn Smith, with nine points, led Madison's push.

Canastota now enters a quiet portion of its schedule, playing just once in a span of 15 days -- next Monday's visit from Westmoreland.

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