Feb 22, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Going into Tuesday night’s Section III Class AA semifinal, the consensus was that top seed and defending state champion Cicero-North Syracuse would handle its neighbors from Liverpool with relative ease and proceed to the Carrier Dome for the final against West Genesee.
What no one, perhaps even the Northstars, could imagine was how one-sided it would get.
C-NS nearly pulled off a first-half shutout, playing lights-out defense on the no. 5 seed Warriors and leading by a 39-2 margin at halftime on its way to a 63-19 victory at Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena.
Though more than a week had passed since the Northstars had lost 68-63 to New York City power Christ the King in its regular-season finale, it was still mad at how the defense had allowed so many opportunities.
Consequently, C-NS was going to make sure that never happened once the post-season started. And following an 89-25 destruction of Rome Free Academy in the quarterfinals, the Northstars now turned its attention upon a Liverpool side that had rallied past CBA 40-39 in overtime to get this far.
It didn’t take long for the game to turn into a C-NS defensive clinic. Every time a Liverpool player tried to move the ball anywhere, the quartet of Abbey Timpano, Sarah Bowles, Cara Gannett and Brittany Paul was likely to steal it, leading to a fast break and a basket on the other end.
Warriors head coach Mike Olley said that Stewart’s presence alone takes away half of the court, allowing her teammates to swarm to the ball the moment it gets put into play and cause all those turnovers and easy points.
Breanna Stewart did most of the finishing on the offensive end, notching 11 points as C-NS blanked Liverpool 20-0 in that opening period. In the first four minutes of the second quarter, the margin grew to 35-0 as Stewart worked her total to 21 points.
Not until Stewart and Bowles went to the bench did the Warriors finally get a basket, on Rachael Windhausen’s layup with 2:05 left in the half. Still, the damage had been rendered, and the only question left was how much more Stewart would play.
As it turned out, Stewart logged in six more minutes during the third quarter, where she had a block, steal, assist and 3-pointer.
By the time she sat for good, the Connecticut-bound senior had added 28 points to her Section III all-time scoring mark (now at 2,188), plus eight rebounds, three steals and two assists. Timpano had put up 10 points, while Paul settled for eight points.
Stewart and her Northstars mates get one more chance to perform in front of a local crowd next Friday when it plays West Genesee for the Class AA title in the Carrier Dome. Game time is 7 p.m.
WG (16-4) came from behind to knock off no. 2 seed Fayetteville-Manlius 52-46 in the other semifinal and feature a potent scoring combination in junior Vicki Graveline and sophomore Melissa Fumano, who combined for 35 points against the Hornets.
Yet C-NS bashed them 89-31 on Jan. 20, further proving that it’s a heavy favorite to win a fourth consecutive sectional crown and earn back-to-back state titles, too.
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