SYRACUSE As Nottingham’s Chyanna Canada galloped down the court early in the fourth quarter of Saturday's Section III Class AA girls basketball semifinal at Onondaga Community College's Allyn Hall, only Cicero-North Syracuse's McKayla Roberts of Cicero-North Syracuse stood in the way.
But instead of letting the 6-foot-2 Canada score the easy basket, the 5-foot-3-inch Roberts stood tall and took a hard charge to give the Northstars the ball back.
A teary-eyed Roberts, pulled up by her teammates, gingerly held her right wrist in pain. But as soon as she touched the basketball off the inbounds pass, she immediately returned to her stoic game face.
“I’m sure it hurt, but she’s a kid that doesn’t really let you know if anything hurts,” C-NS head coach Eric Smith said of Roberts. “She could be knocked out and she would wake right back up and continue to compete and not say there’s anything wrong.”
And that’s how C-NS played all game. Despite being shorter than Nottingham at all positions except guard, the Northstars would not let the height difference deter it from playing its game.
A big second half propelled the no. 3 seed Northstars to a 52-42 win over the no. 2 seed Bulldogs, avenging its 56-44 home defeat to Nottingham on Feb. 11 and sending it back to the Carrier Dome again next Friday night to face West Genesee with a sixth consecutive sectional AA title at stake.
It wasn’t an easy win for the C-NS, who was down 22-17 at halftime. As it did in that first meeting, the Bulldogs tried to impose its will, especially in the paint.
Emilee Norris and Elizabeth Miles, C-NS’s big forwards, scored a combined five points on one field goal in the first half, while Nottingham continued to make shots and keep the Northstars from getting inside.