Local girls basketball fans may have a whole lot to look forward to this winter within the OHSL Liberty division, given the way teams like Jordan-Elbridge, Westhill and Bishop Ludden have started.
Of course, it’s the Eagles that carry the most recent success, led by senior center Molly Hourigan, who is on her way to Holy Cross next year to play Division I hoops.
Before that, though, Hourigan will try to lead J-E to a Section III Class B title that just eluded them the last two seasons, with defeats in the 2009 finals (to South Jefferson) and 2010 semifinals (to eventual champion Cazenovia). It would do so without six departed seniors from those squads, including Kali Davis, Natalie Andrianos, Kelsey Richardson and Ella Thorpe.
For the opening test, J-E visited Nottingham, from the Class AA ranks, and Hourigan was up to her usual tricks as the Eagles fought past the Bulldogs 37-31.
Nottingham did not make it easy in any way, leading 19-16 after a low-scoring first half. But J-E’s defense clamped down further, holding the Bulldogs to two points in the third quarter as it moved out in front and held on late.
Through it all, Hourigan nearly got another triple-double, finishing with 20 points, along with 10 rebounds and nine blocked shots. Fellow senior Ashley Foote chimed in with eight points, while Amanda Wheeler put up six points.
Elsewhere, Westhill and Bishop Ludden also secured non-league wins.The Warriors were already 2-0 after early wins over Fulton and CBA, but made it three in a row Thursday night by going to East Syracuse-Minoa and fully controlling the contest in a 54-43 win over the Spartans.
All through the first three periods, Westhill relied on a balanced attack to baffle ESM. It led 30-18 at halftime and outscored the Spartans 19-9 in the third period before easing up in the late going.