J-D girls survive double OT, eliminate ESM

Many different times, it appeared that the East Syracuse-Minoa girls basketball team would earn its biggest win in years - and end Jamesville-DeWitt's season at the same time.

Yet the Red Rams kept rescuing itself, past regulation and two overtimes, and knocked off the Spartans 57-53 in Friday night's Section III Class A quarterfinal.

It marked the second pulse-pounding finish of an ESM-J-D game on the Red Rams' home court. The first, back in December, had seen the Spartans burned at the buzzer by Alyssa Gratien's 3-pointer.

Now it had more meaning. Both ESM, the no. 6 seed, and J-D, the no. 3 seed, had plenty of senior experience on their respective rosters, and every bit of that poise would be needed here.

Familiar with each other, the two sides stayed close to each other in the first half, ESM nudging in front 22-21 before the break.

Then J-D made its biggest move, holding the Spartans to six points in the third quarter to take a 32-28 lead and nearly getting away.

But the Spartans did not fold. Instead, it snatched back the lead in the fourth quarter, led by Becky Teschler, who finished with a team-high 16 points.

With time running out in regulation, ESM was up 43-40 - but again, the Rams saved itself against the Spartans with a clutch 3-pointer, this one from Theresa Hernandez, and it went to overtime.

The first four-minute OT saw ESM again move ahead, only to again squander it, Gratien's 3-pointer keying the latest J-D rally.

Only in the second extra period did the Rams pull ahead for good. it took a basket from freshman reserve Kayleigh Cavanaugh, plus five combined free throws from Jessica Kramer and Gratien, with Gratien getting the clinching points.

Kramer and Hernandez both had big nights, as Kramer earned 22 points and Hernandez gained 16 points before fouling out in the first OT.

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