SYRACUSE Put to a big test, the Bishop Ludden girls basketball team passed it when it went to Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena for the “More Than a Game” Holiday Classic, which raised more than $8,000 for Golisano Children’s Hospital.
In Friday's opening round in Pool A, the Gaelic Knights faced Wayne, from Section V. Accustomed to close games, Ludden found itself in another one of them, but again pulled it out, edging the Eagles by a 53-51 margin.
They traded baskets in a closely-fought first half, Wayne sneaking out in front before the Gaelic Knights tied it, 21-21, going into the break.
Ludden then outscored the Eagles 12-9 in the third quarter, and spent the rest of the game nursing that slim margin and getting a big effort from senior Nicole Granteed, who finished with a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds.
In support, Danielle Rauch managed nine points, plus six assists and three steals. Gemma O’Kane got 11 points, with Sara Hayes adding nine points and seven rebounds and Stephanie Brazell managing six points.
The Pool A final Saturday afternoon pitted Ludden against Indian River, no. 17 in the state Class A rankings, who shut down Oneida 34-23 in its opening-round game. Again, it was close, but with a superb fourth-quarter effort, the Gaelic Knights stopped the Warriors 44-36.
From the time IR opened the game on a 16-7 run, it looked to be in control. Even as Ludden ate away at that margin over the next two periods and clamped down on the defensive side, it could not get the sustained run it needed to pull in front.
All of that changed, though, in the fourth quarter, when the Gaelic Knights, led by Granteed, held the Warriors to just two points, and that lights-out defense led to more chances on the other end and enough baskets to secure the victory.
Granteed, named the MVP in her division, had another double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds. O’Kane managed eight points, with Brazell adding six points. Telicia Jackson paced IR with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
With these wins, Ludden improved to 7-1 and now got a week to rest, recuperate and prepare for a Jan. 6 neighborhood showdown with unbeaten, state no. 4-ranked Westhill.