Chittenango Jamesville-Dewitt's girls basketball team jumped ahead early and never looked back in beating Carthage, 53-30, Thursday night in the Section III Class A semifinal at Chittenango High School.
With that win, the top-seeded Red Rams (19-1) square off with no. 3 seed Cortland (17-3) in next Thursday’s Class A championship game at the Carrier Dome. J-D swept the Purple Tigers in regular season play.
J-D hit the ground running and shooting. Kayleigh Cavanaugh provided the individual early spark, dropping in eight first quarter points to give the Red Rams a 16-6 lead.
“Our game plan was to try and contain the outside but they dribble penetrate and kick it to the outside so effectively and they’re all shooters,” Carthage coach Randi Smith said. “And when they come out like that hitting from the outside it’s kind of hard to focus on one or two of them.”
“We made shots early,” J-D coach Rob Siechen said. “That extended the run so we could just worry about the defensive end.”
The no. 4 seed Comets (14-4) played a better second quarter but were still down double digits, 29-18, at the break.
J-D effectively put the game on ice in third quarter. Sparked by the long distance shooting of Stephanie Mannion and Katie Maroney, the Red Rams outscored Carthage, 13-2, expanding the margin to 42-20 heading into the final quarter.
Siechen felt the game fit a similar pattern to many this year in which the Red Rams methodically took teams apart.
“How we play defense all the time … we’re going to pressure you,” he said. “We’re playing ten people so we know we’re going to run so no one is going to be on the floor more than three or four minutes. So we try to tire the other team out.
“And you saw it in the second half,” Siechen added. “They got fatigued.”
Nine of J-D’s 10 players scored. Cavanaugh led the way with 14 points, while Mannion had 10 points. Cydney Goodrum dropped in eight points and Maroney had six points.
Now comes the third meeting with Cortland. In both of those previous wins over the Purple Tigers, the Rams made sure that Maggie Brown was contained - something that no. 2 seed New Hartford couldn't do, Brown notching 26 points and 14 rebounds in a 43-35 win over the Spartans in the other semifinal.