Feb 20, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Two local girls basketball teams – one accustomed to this stage, the other not as much – are set to square off in the Section III Class B semifinals.
Westhill, the familiar face, is the no. 2 seed, looking for its first title since 2003. Jordan-Elbridge, the newcomer, has risen from the no. 6 seed to reach this point.
Both are looking to prevail in Friday’s game, to be played at 6 p.m. at Chittenango High School, and advance to the March 6 final at Utica Memorial Auditorium against South Jefferson or Clinton.
They got here through Class B quarterfinal wins on Friday night – the Warriors completing a season sweep of no. 7 seed Bishop Ludden 45-30, the Eagles going on the road to rip no. 3 seed Sherburne-Earlville 60-23.
Ludden was looking to avenge two regular-season defeats to Westhill. In both of those earlier meetings, the Warriors did an effective job containing the Gaelic Knights’ perimeter shooting.
In some aspects, that changed in this third encounter, as Ludden got half of its points from five 3-pointers — two each from Ashley Cianfriglia and Bella Knapp, one from Lauren Roy.
But it took quite an effort to get those open looks as guards like Emily Haggerty, Anna Ross, Maggie Trpodi and Sam Peebles took turns offering resistance, gradually wearing down each of the Gaelic Knights’ guards. Three key players — Kayla Kibling, Natalie Barletta and Kristen Ryan — were kept entirely off the board.
On the offensive end, Westhill was steady on its way to a 25-17 halftime lead. Then it put the game away in the third quarter, holding Ludden to five points and stretching the margin out to 38-22.
Haggerty, with 17 points, led the charge, as Anna Ross had eight points in her playoff debut. Kathryn Christensen also had eight points and Kayla Stirpe threw in six points. Cianfriglia, Knapp (11 points each) and Roy (eight points) accounted for all of Ludden’s offense.
Meanwhile, J-E took a long road trip — more than 100 miles, to be exact — to meet Sherburne-Earlville. The Marauders, Center State Conference II regular-season champions, had eliminated Adirondack 64-50 in the first round.
But all of that proved unimportant against J-E, who got yet another dominant effort from center Molly Hourigan Hourigan, plus fine perimeter work and lights-out defense, to dominate the proceedings.
Once it got past the after-effects of the bus ride, the Eagles took over, stretching out a 12-8 first-quarter lead through a 16-5 blitz in the second quarter.
Nothing the Marauders tried seemed to work. Either the ball got taken away by J-E’s group of ball-hawking guards or, if it went inside, Hourigan would grab the missed shot — or simply swat it away.
Just as she did in the first-round win over Watertown IHC, Hourigan had a triple-double, backing up her 12 points with 16 rebounds and 10 blocks, and she got to roam free because of the way J-E converted from the outside.
Kali Davis continued to be on a roll, nearly matching S-E by herself as she poured in 20 points, a new season mark, while Liz Caspari finished with 13 points and Grace Dungey threw in eight points.