Feb 22, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
For the third year in a row, the Fayetteville-Manlius girls basketball team saw its season halted one win short of an appearance in the Section III Class AA title game.
Itching to appear in this year’s final in the Carrier Dome, the no. 2 seed Hornets led for long portions of Tuesday night’s AA semifinal against no. 3 seed West Genesee at SRC Arena, only to fall victim to a late Wildcat surge that led to a 52-46 defeat.
These two sides had first met Jan. 31 in Camillus, a game where F-M won 49-41, overcoming Kiley Shoemaker’s foul trouble with strong defense that forced WG into a cold-shooting night.
Three and a half weeks later, the rematch proved even closer. After trailing through most of the first quarter, the Wildcats seized a 19-15 lead midway through the second period as Vicki Graveline, with nine points, and Melissa Fumano, with six points, set the early pace.
F-M, led by Shoemaker’s nine points, charged in front 20-19 by halftime, and in the third quarter the margin grew to 31-26. The Hornets had chances to move even further ahead, but could not – and would rue those missed chances later.
In fact, after Alexis Rios hit a 3-pointer with 3:13 left in that period, WG would not allow another Hornet field goal for the next nine-plus minutes, during which time it went on an 18-2 run that stretched deep into the fourth quarter.
On the defensive side, the Wildcats’ pair of senior guards, Emily Tripodi and Kara Datellas, joined with sophomore Marissa Hudgins as they locked down on Rios, Charlotte Beers and Lauren Getman, wearing them down with pressure and forcing a series of turnovers and bad shots. Tripodi finished with four steals as Hudgins had nine rebounds to go with her six points before fouling out.
Meanwhile, Graveline sparked the spurt with a jumper and 3-pointer on consecutive possessions that tied the game, 31-31, and when Datellas executed a steal and layup early in the fourth quarter, WG went ahead for good.
Graveline would finish with 19 points and six rebounds, while Fumano had 17 points as the pair combined to hit a season-best six 3-pointers. Datellas helped in the clutch, getting all of her nine points (she also had four assists) in the fourth quarter.
Despite all this, F-M would make a furious late surge. Trailing 45-33, the Hornets used full-court pressure to go on an 8-1 run to move within 46-41 with 1:30 to play, but after another F-M steal, the Wildcats stole it back and Graveline made a crucial basket.
Shoemaker, who finished with 16 points, fouled out in the closing seconds after the Hornets closed the gap to 49-45, and the Wildcats used four more free throws to seal it. Beers, despite all the pressure on her, finished with 11 points, while Rios finished with seven points.
F-M finished with a 16-3 record, and will see Shoemaker, Rios and Beers depart. They will be tough to replace, but the presence of Getman, Madison Beck, Erica Assimon and Rachel Miller, among others, should keep the Hornets in contention in 2012-13.