While offense and flashiness garner praise and headlines, it’s been proven time and time again that defense wins championships.
The Jamesville-DeWitt girls basketball team gave that old adage another measure of truth to in Friday afternoon's state Class A semifinal at Hudson Valley Community College, limiting No. 1 state-ranked Harborfields to 20 percent shooting in a 44-30 victory that earned the Red Rams its first trip to the state championship game in school history.
Both the Rams and Tornadoes had similarly ugly first quarters, as their offenses struggled and their defenses shined.
Harborfields’ leading scorer and rebounder, Donasja Scott, was held to zero points in the quarter, while J-D’s Alyssa Robens and Carly O’Hern endured struggles of their own, posting a combined 6 points in the frame.
The Tornadoes held an 11-10 advantage entering the second quarter. Then, Maddy Frank and the J-D defense took full control of the contest.
Frank was averaging 4.8 points per game in the playoffs to this point, but she dropped in eight points in the second quarter alone en route to a post-season-high 11 points.
“Maddy got us going,” J-D Coach Rob Siechen said. “We wanted her to be aggressive on offense today. We thought that she could get around her defender today, and she did.”
“I just told myself, ‘you’ve got to go to the basket and go as hard as you can,’” said Frank.
Combined, Frank and eighth-grade sensation Meg Hair earned all 11 of J-D's points in the frame. Meanwhile, the J-D defense held the Tornadoes without a point for the final 7:31 of the half, and a 13-10 deficit flipped into a 21-13 advantage.
In the opening minutes of the third quarter, J-D’s usual suspects - O’Hern and Hair reasserted themselves on the offensive end and, in turn, the lead grew further.