Onondaga Cazenovia is one of the few girls basketball teams to interrupt South Jefferson's decade-long run atop the Section III Class B ranks, having done so in 2009.
But it would not happen in 2013. The Spartans played like an unbeaten top seed and defending champion should in pounding the Lakers 58-28 in Saturday night's Class B semifinal at Onondaga Community College's SRC Arena.
South Jefferson (19-0) never trailed and limited the no. 4 seed Lakers to only five second-half points.
"That’s why (South Jefferson) wins all the trophies,” Cazenovia coach Chris Carpenter said. “They took it to us physically and we didn’t have anything for them.”
The Spartans' hot outside shooting was the story of the first quarter. South Jefferson dropped in five 3-point baskets to grab a 19-12 edge after eight minutes.
“We’re a team that has to make threes,” Spartans coach Pat Bassett said. “We’re not very strong inside. I’m sure we got beat on the glass tonight but we made enough threes to win.”
Cazenovia looked like it was about to be run out of SRC Arena after an 11-0 Spartans run gave South Jefferson a 30-14 lead. But the Lakers responded with a 9-2 spurt just before halftime to trail 32-23 at intermission.
What Cazenovia didn’t know was that it was about to be stuck on 23 points for the next 13-plus minutes. The Lakers didn’t score in the third quarter, and it wasn’t until Lizzy Bigsby’s three-point play with 2:43 left before the scoreboard moved.
“We came out in the second half and we didn’t have the physicality we needed,” Carpenter said. “They put it to us. There’s nothing more I can say.”
Maggie Carpenter and Kelsie Fredericks led the Lakers with six points. Bigsby and Audrey Burbidge had five points apiece. It didn't help the Lakers that two key starters, point guard Kristie Kleine and forward Sally Langan, missed the game.
Still, Cazenovia finished 18-3. That was more than Chris Carpenter could have hoped for before the year started.
"(It was a) great season,” he said. “It was a group that only won five games last year and they didn’t really have great expectations. They came out, worked hard and had a great year. Eighteen wins is a super year.”