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Caz: What a season!

What a season!

Caz Girls basketball, 20-3, goes furthest in school history

By Willie Kiernan

republican@cnylink.com

The Cazenovia High School girls basketball team soared higher than any in school history. Unfortunately, after winning the sectionals over Bishop Ludden in dramatic fashion last Wednesday on a three point basket by Kiley Evans with five seconds on the clock, they fell four points short in the finals against South Jefferson.

A So. Jeff player, Linsey Niles made a pair of free throws with four seconds remaining Saturday to lift her team to a 43-39 victory over Cazenovia in the Section III Class B girls basketball final. Cazenovia led 24-23 after three quarters but couldn't finish it off. Kiley Evans and Molly Dougherty finished with 11 points each for Cazenovia. Katie Mullins added 10. Carrie Stevens had 7. Rachel Hardke had 2.

It was heartbreaking, but what a season, 20 wins to only three losses.

"They are just good kids," said Cazenovia Athletic Director Mike Byrnes. "The juniors and seniors have been targeting this season since they were little girls."

Paul Harney has coached the team for five years. Before that, he coached in Oneonta for five years.

"The seniors, Rachel Hardke, Carrie Stevens and Molly Dougherty, are the heart and soul of this team," Harney said. "They are probably the best captains I've ever had. They've known me so long they read me like a book."

Harney raved about his seniors in practice last Friday.

"In terms of everything, control, player problems; they take care of it," Harney said. "Team chemistry has as much to do with our success than anything. They hang out together; they go see other games together; they have sleepovers. Our team chemistry is outstanding. Any parent would be proud of these kids."

The practice was intense. The girls went from passing and lay-up drills to calisthenics drills to hip-hop to a group circle stretch to the 11-girl fast break drill.

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