Dec 19, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
With its 5-0 start, the Baldwinsville girls basketball team had displayed a rapid amount of progress from the struggles of recent years, and even hinted that it could challenge some of the more established Section III Class AA contenders.
For the moment, though, the biggest catch of all – five-time defending sectional champion Cicero-North Syracuse – remains elusive, something the Bees found out, up close, in last Wednesday night’s 61-37 defeat to the Northstars.
Even after the graduation of Breanna Stewart, who led C-NS to back-to-back state titles in 2011 and ’12, C-NS had a strong senior class, including Abbey Timpano and Sarah Bowles, left over, and they were good enough to lead the Northstars back to the state final four last March.
Now Bowles and Timpano were gone, and C-NS, just 1-1 on the season, had not played for 10 days, since its second-place finish in the Dec. 7-8 Oneonta Tournament.
It’s a young team, with two sophomores (McKayla Roberts and Samantha Tortora) and a junior (Emilee Norris) in the starting five and plenty of other underclassmen, including an eighth-grader (Amani Free), in the rotation.
Right away, though, it was apparent that, while the Bees have closed a good portion of the gap with C-NS, it remains in pursuit of the Northstars – just like any other local AA challenger
Never trailing, C-NS scored the game’s first seven points and had a 20-7 lead by the early part of the second quarter, and the reasons were twofold.
On the defensive end, the Northstars applied half-court pressure, never letting the Bees’ guards get comfortable. As a result, by the time B’ville did get open shots, inside and outside, it rushed them, leading to crucial misses. Emily Pascale, in particular, was contained, managing just four points, a season low.
Meanwhlie, C-NS was steady and productive from the start on the offensive end, anchored by Roberts, whose deft dribbling skills led to lots of open looks – and conversions.
That was especially true for Elizabeth Miles, as the senior forward produced 10 first-half points to lead both sides, keeping B’ville from making any sustained run, even though it only trailed 29-19 at halftime.
Midway through the third quarter, with the Bees still one spurt away from making it tight, C-NS shut the door by going on a 13-2 run that extended to the final period, in large part due to terrific passing that created easy baskets.
Hope DeFazio, with 13 points, was the only B’ville player to score in double figures. Rachael Miller had nine rebounds to go with her seven points, while Riley Carlucci also had seven points. Miles finished with 16 points to lead C-NS, while Roberts had 12 points.
A night earlier, Baldwinsville’s boys basketball team, looking to improve to 3-1 on the season, made a furious late comeback at Corcoran, only to fall just short in a 54-51 loss to the Cougars.
It looked, for a while, that Corcoran (who had opened with close wins over Oswego, in double overtime, and Central Square) would cruise to its third consecutive victory, as it jumped on B’ville 22-12 during an active first quarter.
Even as the Cougars cooled off in the game’s middle stages, B’ville could not take full advantage, the deficit growing to 45-31, but in the fourth quarter the Bees caught fire as Kyle George’s hot shooting nearly produced a miraculous win.
George finished with 18 points, hitting on four 3-pointers, with Ben DiOrio adding nine points. Cameron Skipworth and Devyn McLeod each had seven points.
Corcoran held on, though, as Marquis Gilbert constantly drew contact, earning 11 of his game-high 23 points at the free-throw line. Marcos Gonzalez added 12 points.
Both B’ville teams take on Liverpool on Friday, with the boys at home on a night where the 2013 state Class AA championship baseball team will be honored.