Jan 15, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Now you can place the Cazenovia girls basketball team in the proverbial driver’s seat in the race for the OHSL Liberty division title.
In one of the season’s most exciting games Monday night, the Lakers went to Bishop Ludden, took the Gaelic Knights to overtime, and rode yet another star turn from Kiley Evans to earn a 61-55 victory.
In a matter of two days, the entire league race turned around — some of it before Cazenovia even took the court.
Ludden had won seven in a row and were in first place before, on Saturday, being dealt a shocking 53-51 defeat from Westhill, a once-powerful team languishing at the bottom of the standings that Cazenovia had beaten 50-29 earlier in the week.
This had put the Lakers on top — but to really confirm that status, it had to beat the Gaelic Knights a second time on the road, this after Cazenovia had won the first meeting Nov. 29 at Buckley Gym.
In every manner, this game lived up to the build-up. Hot shooting in the first quarter propelled the Lakers to an 18-12 lead, and though it cooled off for the rest of the first half, it still took a 25-21 advantage to the break.
Energized again, Ludden spent an active third quarter catching up, and the two sides were even, 38-38, with one period to play.
They would spend the entire fourth quarter in a tense, delicate dance, points grudgingly allowed by both defenses. Both sides had chances to win it at the end of regulation, but the game remained knotted 47-47, so four minutes of overtime were needed.
To this point, Evans had enjoyed a solid showing — 15 points, plus her usual amount of contributions in all facets of the game.
But here in OT, when it counted the most, Evans took over. She hit numerous big shots, including a 3-pointer from NBA range, to push Cazenovia ahead to stay. In all, Evans had 10 of the Lakers’ 14 points in that extra period, finishing with 25 points that mostly came from four 3-pointers and five successful free throws.
Each of the starters played vital roles, too. Molly Dougherty’s recent strong play continued as she got 12 points, while Carrie Stevens, with 11 points, also broke in double figures. Kassie Kleine (eight points) and Rachel Hardke (five points) made valuable defensive contributions.
For the most part, Ludden relied on its stars, as Ashley Cianfraglia set a season mark with 20 points (including all four of her team’s successful 3-pointers) and Molly Byrne added 18 points.
Now the trick for the Lakers (10-2, 6-1 league) is not to get too complacent — which shouldn’t be a problem, since on Friday it meets a Solvay squad that beat Cazenovia in overtime on Dec. 11, the team’s only league defeat to this point in the season. Ludden plays at Hannibal Thursday night.