Mar 02, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Eleven minutes is, in the course of normal events, not a long stretch. But in basketball, it’s more than enough time for events to turn – and for a championship chase to get stopped cold.
Such was what the Jordan-Elbridge girls basketball Eagles endured in Tuesday night’s Section III Class B semifinal at Onondaga Community College, where it took a 40-30 defeat to Cazenovia mainly because it went more than 11 minutes without scoring a point.
It was, in many ways, reminiscent of the first meeting between J-E and Cazenovia on Jan. 13, a 52-39 loss where the Eagles went into a late-game drought after junior center Molly Hourigan went out with a leg injury.
Now, the stakes were a lot higher – namely, a berth in the sectional finals against Utica-Notre Dame. And the Eagles were a lot more confident, too, having beaten Cazenovia 50-40 in the return match on Feb. 17, the only loss the Lakers had suffered all season.
Hourigan would have a strong first half, recording eight points while, with her defensive presence, she shut down any of Cazenovia’s attempts to go inside.
The Lakers countered with timely 3-pointers from Ashley Stec, Taylor Malmsheimer and Colleen Dougherty. But when Stec picked up her third foul early in the second quarter, Cazenovia appeared in trouble, especially since Hourigan only had to worry about Stec’s fellow forward, Ellen Burr, in the paint.
Given all this, no one could have imagined that, when Natalie Andrianos hit a short jumper to tie the game 20-20 just before halftime, it would be J-E’s last points until the fourth quarter.
The Eagles were completely shut out in the third quarter. Burr played Hourigan straight-up and never allowed her the chance to make her patented inside moves. Meanwhile, Stec moved outside and, along with Dougherty and Malmsheimer, took away Kali Davis, who had recorded 23 points in the Class B quarterfinal win over Bishop Ludden but had just one field goal on this night.
Only the fact that J-E played its own strong brand of defense kept the game within reach as Hourigan, now saddled with four fouls, finally broke the drought on a basket with 5:33 to play. She scored again a minute later, and the Eagles only trailed 28-24. A win was still quite possible.
But the Lakers used back-to-back baskets from Stec and Burr to double the margin, and though J-E pulled back within 34-30 on an Andrianos jumper with 27 seconds left, Cazenovia went six-for-six from the free-throw line to put it away.
Hourigan, despite the drought, led both sides with 15 points as Andrianos added eight points. Malmsheimer led Cazenovia with 12 points as Stec, Burr, Dougherty and Raeanne Clabeaux got seven points apiece.
J-E finished its campaign at 17-3, and though Hourigan, Grace Dungey and Amanda Wheeler returns next year, six seniors – Andrianos, Davis, Kelsey Richardson, Ella Thorpe, Erin McLaughlin and Liz Herrling – depart, their legacy a two-year mark of 32-9, as good as any in the program’s history.