Once again, the Bishop Grimes girls basketball team stares down a massive challenge as it goes after the best in the Onondaga High School League Liberty division in 2012-13.
The Cobras, coached by John Cifonelli, could not quite break the .500 mark a season ago, falling to Utica-Notre Dame in the opening round of the Section III Class B-1 playoffs.
From that team, three senior starters – Amelia Heiselman, Erannan Shattuck and Lauren Vaughan – departed, but a strong returning cast gives Grimes a reason to think it can offer a bigger challenge to league favorites like Westhill, Bishop Ludden and Skaneateles.
For its season opener, the Cobras went to East Syracuse-Minoa and proved sharp in most phases of the game, overwhelming the Spartans, especially in the first half, as Grimes prevailed by a score of 52-40.
All through the first two periods, the Cobras applied full-court pressure, forcing ESM turnovers that led to baskets on the other end. That translated into a 16-7 edge through one quarter and a 28-16 halftime margin.
When ESM tried to make a run in the third quarter, back-to-back 3-pointers from Jordan Vaught and Tina Hoag restored the cushion, and it was 44-29 with one period left. The Spartans never got much closer, despite Grimes’ late free-throw struggles.
Remarkably, no Cobras player hit double figures, but six had at least six points. Kennedy Yearby had eight points and eight rebounds, while Vaught augmented her eight points with three steals and three assists.
Hoag put together seven points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists, with Teresa Shattuck and Megan Driscoll also managing seven points. Megan Costello added six points.
For ESM, Gabrielle Eure posted a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, with Stephanie Edmonds adding 10 rebounds to go with four points. Danielle Ventrone contributed seven points.