Pucello reaches milestone; Ludden rips Marcellus

As another Friday night in local girls basketball began, the main story was how Bishop Ludden and Marcellus would both respond to defeats earlier in the week.

The answer came soon enough - the Gaelic Knights blanked the host Mustangs in the first quarter and rolled to a 54-35 victory - but a larger story soon unfolded in Solvay's game at Jordan-Elbridge.

Tessa Pucello put together a career-best effort of 39 points and passed the 1,000-point milestone, carrying the 4-10 Bearcats to a 54-44 win over the playoff-bound Eagles.

All season long, the big problem for Solvay was that Pucello (and to a lesser extent, Abbey Jones) was not getting much help on the offensive side, limiting the Bearcats' chances to beat the OHSL Liberty division's better opponents.

So against J-E, Solvay aimed to strengthen its defense to hang with the Eagles - which it did, holding the Eagles to a handful of field goals in the first half as it went to the break with a 19-14 lead.

J-E tried to rally, as Kali Davis scored 11 points, Amanda Wheeler earned eight points and Natalie Andrianos got seven points.

But the Eagles badly missed center Molly Hourigan - and her absence allowed Pucello to flourish in the paint and pile up 11 field goals.

When she wasn't converting, Pucello was getting fouled, and the free throws soon piled up - 17 of them. Pucello kept on going until, with eight seconds left, she hit the two foul shots that put her past the 1,000-point mark.

Solvay still could reach the Section III Class B playofs - and with three games left in the season, Pucello should get the 34 points necessary to become the Bearcats' all-time leading scorer.

Bishop Ludden already has a 1,000-point player in junior Ashley Cianfriglia, and she would add to that total at Marcellus - and play a little defense, too, to help her side complete a regular-season sweep of the Mustangs.

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