Ludden wins, gets South Jefferson in B-1 semis

In a single moment of grand opportunity, the Bishop Ludden girls basketball team has a chance to do what no one in the Section III Class B ranks had done since 2002 -- beat South Jefferson in the playoffs.

That will come in this Saturday's B-1 semifinal at Sandy Creek, when the no. 4 seed Gaelic Knights take on the top-seed Spartans, who are pursuing a seventh straight sectional title.

To get this chance, Gaelic Knights first had to handle no. 5 seed Watertown IHC in last Tuesday's B-1 quarterfinal in Geddes. With Bella Knapp proving to be unstoppable, Ludden fought past the Cavaliers 69-56.

Both sides wanted to run, and did so. But the Gaelic Knights proved more productive in this cause, seizing a 17-11 lead by the end of the first quarter.

The two sides traded plenty of baskets over the next two periods, a back-and-forth battle that proved entertaining, but IHC could do little to change Ludden's margin.

With the home fans still nervous, Knapp and Kayla Kibling hit on lots of free throws down the stretch to secure victory.

All night long, as the Cavaliers ganged up on Ashley Cianfriglia, Knapp found her range and kept on converting baskets, nine in all. That, combined with solid foul shooting, meant Knapp had 26 points, a new career high.

Michelle Roesch didn't stay quiet, either, earning 13 points, while Cianfrglia still managed eight points, a number Kristen Ryan matched. IHC's Adrianna Spicer did all she could to keep her team close, earning 29 points, including four 3-pointers.

The Ludden-South Jefferson winner will play Westhill or Cazenovia next Tuesday at Jamesville-DeWitt for the Class B-1 championship.

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