With patience – and plenty of defense – the Bishop Ludden girls basketball team got even with Cazenovia for its early exit from last winter’s Section III Class B playoffs.
The Gaelic Knights trailed the Lakers for most of last Tuesday night’s game at Buckley Gym, but got crucial baskets down the stretch and held on for a 36-34 victory.
Cazenovia had won that playoff encounter 50-40. And it looked like the same result in the early going as the Lakers’ defense clamped down on Ludden, creating an 11-4 first-quarter advantage.
Yet Cazenovia could not sustain that advantage as the Gaelic Knights started to hit shots in the second period, closing the gap to 19-16 by the time they reached the half.
They stayed that way until the fourth quarter, when Ludden, led by Gemma O’Kane and Danielle Rauch (10 points apiece), inched out in front, 35-31, before Maggie Johnson’s basket cut the lead in half, to 35-33, with 1:30 to play.
Ludden made a free throw to get the margin back to three, but the Lakers still had a chance – and with 7.9 seconds left, Audrey Burbidge was fouled taking a three-point shot.
Now the Gaelic Knights took a time-out to try and freeze Burbidge. It seemed to work, as Burbidge only made one of the first two shots, and as the third attempt fell off the rim, Ludden pounced on it and was able to run out the clock.
Nicole Granteed and Sara Hayes offered Ludden five points apiece. Burbidge, in defeat, led both sides with 11 points, while Johnson had nine points and Kelsi Fredericks finished with six points.
Back at home Thursday night, the Gaelic Knights took on Phoenix, and in a game that was tough and physical from the outset, a big third-quarter surge made the difference as the Gaelic Knights defeated the Firebirds 53-38.