Dec 30, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Three local high school girls basketball teams found themselves on the big stage at Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena last weekend, all of them gathering to raise more than $8,000 for Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in the “More Than A Game” Holiday Classic.
Yet of them, only Christian Brothers Academy could reach the final, having done so last Friday by overcoming a first-quarter shutout to defeat Bishop Grimes 48-39.
Playing without Tina Hoag in the lineup due to a sprained ankle, Grimes turned up the defense in the first quarter, and CBA could not make a single shot.
The only comfort came from the fact that the Cobras were just as cold. Thus, the Brothers only trailed 5-0 when Natalie Nardella’s 3-pointer fell less than a minute into the second quarter.
Once that shot fell, many others followed, and Nardella led the charge, getting seven straight points at one juncture as CBA, once embarrassed, ran to halftime guarding a 19-12 lead.
Grimes did a lot better in the second half, getting within three at one stage, but the absence of Hoag proved important as, other than Jordan Vaught (who had 14 points), no Grimes player scored in double figures. Megan Costello had seven points, with Teresa Shattuck adding six points.
Meanwhile, the Brothers’ Julie Cuomo made sure the Cobras didn’t catch up, scoring 12 of her 16 points in the second half to complement Nardella, who led both sides with 19 points. Both of Nafysa Williams’ baskets in the late going proved important, too.
Just before that, Fayetteville-Manlius took on Rochester Mercy (Section V), and that proved to be a thriller, too, but the Monarchs did just enough to beat the Hornets 63-60.
F-M played a solid first half, steadily making its way to a 28-22 lead. All of that confidence vanished, though, when Mercy put together a 22-13 burst through the third quarter, and held on late despite a Hornets scoring surge.
Madison Beck, with 18 points, paced F-M, with Erika Stube chiming in as she got 15 points. D’Jhai Patterson-Ricks had 10 points, while Erica Assimon (eight points) and Lauren Getman (seven points) got close to double figures.
So it was F-M against Grimes in Saturday night’s consolation game, and that game would belong to Vaught, who personally pushed the Cobras past the Hornets 52-47.
All through the first half, F-M threatened to pull away, gaining a 22-12 lead early in the second quarter, but Vaught helped Grimes get back within four, 24-20, by halftime, and had 15 points by the time the third quarter was done. And that was just the warm-up.
Beck, who had 12 points, fouled out early in the fourth quarter, but the Hornets hung tight as Patterson-Ricks and Getman, who finished with 13 points apiece, pushed F-M to leads of 41-38 and 43-41, only to have Vaught answer with big 3-pointers.
To cap it off, who scored 17 of her team’s 20 points in that final frame, hit the go-ahead free throws with 50.4 seconds left after Patterson-Ricks had tied it, 47-47. After an empty F-M possession, Vaught sealed the victory by making three more foul shots in the closing seconds, giving her 32 points for the night.
Following all that, CBA would face Mercy in the championship game, and it was tight until the fourth quarter, when the Monarchs started hitting outside shots and pulled away for a 59-47 win.
The Brothers’ strategy against a big Mercy frontcourt was to get sophomore center Jayla Myles in foul trouble – and she did, sitting for long stretches, which helped CBA overcome a 6-0 deficit and gain a pair of brief leads late in the first quarter.
Mercy reclaimed the lead and stayed there until Nardella’s basket at the end of the third period inched the Brothers in front 38-37, and her basket produced a 41-39 edge early in the fourth quarter, but that would be CBA’s last lead.
But thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers, the Monarchs used an 8-0 run to push in front for good, and closed the game with a 20-6 push.
Nardella, in defeat, produced 20 points and made the All-Tournament team, as did Cuomo, despite Mercy holding her to a season-low six points, the same total as Paige Nicholson, Rosalee Winderl and Claire Pierret.
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