Solvay basketball teams fall out of playoffs

Both of Solvay's basketball teams made their exit from the stage of the Section III Class B playoffs Friday night.

The no. 13 seed girls Bearcats' unforgettable climb from 3-10 to the brink of the semifinal round finally ended when Clinton beat them 51-46 in overtime.

Having already shocked Canastota in the first round, Solvay now zeroed in on Clinton, who won the Class B-2 title a season ago. There, things looked bad at first, then turned around in the second half before the Warriors got the final word.

Clinton threw all of its defense at star forward Tessa Pucello, and that worked in the first half as she got just two points. With its star rendered ineffective, Solvay slumped, but though the Warriors worked its way to a 23-14 halftime lead, it was far from safe.

Sure enough, Pucello roared to life after the break, matching baskets with Clinton in the third quarter, then anchoring the resistance as Solvay held the Warriors to a scant five points in the final period.

The Bearcats inched closer and, near the end of regulation, Pucello hit on another basket to tie it, 40-40, giving her 18 points for the half and 20 overall, and forcing overtime.

Yet that momentum did not carry over into the four extra minutes. Instead, the Bearcats kept committing fouls -- and Clinton, especially Kara Ladd (who had all nine of her points at the foul line), kept converting free throws, nine of 14 in all, enough to end the Bearcats' season.

Cierra Garner, with nine points, and Amanda Bigness, with eight points, helped Solvay's cause. Clinton had more balance, thanks to Ladd, Kati Griffiths (12 points), Kate Thompson (11 points), Nicole Sook (10 points) and Kalla Nowakowski (eight points).

While all this went on, the Solvay boys team, a no. 11 seed who stunned Marcellus in the first round, went into Friday's Class B quarterfinal against no. 3 seed Skaneateles, another team that beat the Bearcats twice in the regular season. The Lakers beat Lowville 72-25 in an opening-round game stretched out over two days due to a power outage -- though the delay had no bearing on the outcome.

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