The tantalizing prospect of both of the area’s girls basketball defending Section III large-school champions meeting head-to-head made Wednesday’s game between Jamesville-DeWitt and West Genesee an attractive match-up.
But this was a rare instance where the contest matched the expectations, a fast-paced and exciting battle that came down to the final seconds before the Red Rams held on to beat the Wildcats 59-57.
This was the season opener for J-D, the reigning two-time state Class A champions who returned all but two players (Julia Kelner and Angela Bussone) from last year’s roster. WG had played twice, going 1-1 as it beat CBA but lost to Bishop Kearney.
Unlike many Rams opponents, the Wildcats were not intimidated one bit, pushing the pace from the outset. WG led 14-7 at one point in the first quarter before J-D fought back and took the lead, 21-19, on Meg Hair’s last-second jumper.
All through the next two periods, the Rams tried to get away. It led by as much as eight in the second quarter before WG cut into that margin and only trailed by five, 33-28, at halftime.
It was the same in the third period, only here J-D grabbed a 42-32 lead before the Wildcats went on a 13-1 run, capped by Catie Cunningham’s 3-pointer that put WG in front 45-43 early in the fourth quarter.
Back-to-back baskets by Hair would get the Rams ahead for good, but the issue remained in doubt until the final minute. Jamie Boeheim’s lay-up, and Hair’s free throws with five seconds left, allowed J-D to hang on.
All told, 13 of Hair’s 19 points came in the second half as Boeheim got 14 points, with Gabby Stickle producing 11 points, Andrea Sumida nine points and Sydney Baker six points.
WG’s sister tandem of Mackenzie and Madison Smith both stood out as Mackenzie had 20 points and Madison added 15 points. Cunningham had 10 points before fouling out as Haley Collins had six points.