SYRACUSE Area and state polls have said all year that Jamesville-DeWitt was the team to beat in Section III Class A girls basketball.
On Thursday night at the Carrier Dome, the No. 1 seed Red Rams proved it, beating No. 6 Whitesboro 47-38, giving J-D a third consecutive sectional championship.
Before the contest, J-D head coach Rob Siechen said he was wary of the Warriors. Physicality is something Siechen admits his youthful squad struggles with, while Whitesboro prides themselves on playing in just that fashion.
It showed in the first quarter, as a combination of rough play inside and the nerves of competing for a title in the Dome held both teams under 10 points.
The Rams emerged with an 8-6 lead, but Whitesboro had stifled J-D's typical go-to player, Alyssa Robens, who had scored a team-high 20 points in the Rams' semifinal win over Camden. To further complicate matters, Robens picked up two early fouls, and had to sit out the rest of the half.
“They completely took Alyssa away,” Siechen said.
Fortunately for the Rams, Carly O’Hern was there to make up for Robens' absence, and then some.
O’Hern finished with a game-high 27 points, including five 3-pointers, and largely carried a J-D offense that was, for long stretches, ineffective and turnover-plagued.
“Thank goodness Carly was here,” he said. “She carried us for a while.”
That was certainly the case in the second quarter, O'Hern nine of the 14 J-D points in the frame. She ended the half with 15 points, which was more than the entire Whitesboro team had at that point, the Rams leading 22-14 at the break.
The Warriors didn’t adjust to cover O’Hern after halftime, allowing her to score the first five points of the third quarter. It didn’t matter that Whitesboro eventually shored things up defensively, as J-D outscored them 13-6 to grab its largest lead of the night, 35-20.