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Local Sports

February 20, 2012

Franklin girls power past Worcester

ONEONTA _ Jordan Beers and Jessie Terrano got into a shootout Saturday night at Oneonta State.

Unfortunately for Worcester, they both play for Franklin.

Area scoring leader Beers had a game-high 18 points and Terrano scored 17 to lead the Purple Devils to a 45-36 victory over Worcester that marked their first Tri-Valley League girls basketball championship since 1984.

"It means a lot," said Beers, a 25.7 points-per-game scorer who is 15-for-15 in double-digit efforts this season. "It's always been my dream to come here and play. I hated coming here every year and watching other teams play and saying, 'Oh, I wish that was me.'"

Terrano started her 13th game in double figures with a three-point play that opened the scoring 32 seconds into the final. After rebounding a missed three-pointer by Morgan Clark, Terrano dribbled to the other end for a transition layup. Terrano then hit a free throw as Clark fouled her on the play.

"We've had a lot of energy all week," said Terrano, who banked in a three-pointer and made another transition layup during Franklin's 11-0 run to open the title game. "I was just ready to come out and win. We were really pumped."

Terrano said getting a chance to play at O-State for the championship had everything to do with her power surge.

"The only thing I can compare this to is, when we were all getting ready to go out, it felt like I was waiting for a roller-coaster ride," she said. "Lots of adrenaline."

Terrano scored eight points in an 11-3 first quarter for Franklin, which had all the momentum despite getting one point from Beers in the first eight minutes.

"It's just getting into the flow of the game," Beers said of her slow start. "We knew they were going to come out with some sort of defense (designed to slow her). We just tried to wear them down so I could get my open shots. Then everybody else hit their open shots, so they had to pay attention to them."

Mariah McNeilly hit a wide-open shot from the left baseline off a pass from a penetrating Beers to make it 13-3 early in the second quarter. A foul shot by Cassie Sklenka brought Worcester's deficit back into single digits, but Beers swished a shot from the left side with her feet on the three-point line to make it 15-4.

"As long as we're winning, I don't care what happens," said Beers, whose first field goal came with 6:53 left in the second period.

Less than a minute later, Terrano used Marissa Cawley as a decoy to extend Franklin's lead to 18-4. Terrano dribbled to the top-right of the three-point line and pointed at Cawley, who seemed sure she would receive a pass for an open look about 10 feet closer to the basket. Terrano then squared up for a nothing-but-net three, drawing a first-pump from Cawley and forcing Worcester to call a timeout with 6:05 left in the half.

"She's a First Team All-Star and she proved it tonight," Franklin coach Mike Dutcher said of Terrano, who scored 13 points in the first half. "If there are any doubters, she proved it tonight. She's legit."

Karli Pochkar's putback pulled Worcester (13-3) to 18-6, but Beers scored the next six points. Beers followed her one-handed runner along the left baseline with a contested pull-up jumper from the right side and a fall-away in the paint to make it 24-6 with 2:57 to go in the half.

"We played a box-and-one on her with a little bit of a floater," Worcester coach Corey Pier said. "It worked, but when other people started making shots and we didn't put the ball in the basket, we had to open it up a little more where she was going to get more shots."

Said Terrano: "She always gets her points. We've just been working hard all practice and we've been hitting shots when we need to."

Franklin (14-1) maintained a double-digit lead until Pochkar scored the final points on a late putback.

Worcester's last possession ended with a steal by Cawley, who quickly found Beers.

"I wanted the ball in my hands in the fourth quarter, but we had a nice lead so I didn't have to rush in and shoot," said Beers, who scored seven points in the final period. "I just felt very comfortable out there."

Beers dribbled out the clock, taking a pseudo victory lap after beating two defenders at half-court. Although she had a clear path the basket, Beers dribbled along the baseline to the left side of the court, chucking the ball up while leaping to start a celebration in front of Franklin's bench.

"I couldn't believe it," Beers said. "I didn't even know there were 10 seconds left when I had the ball. I just heard the fans cheering, so I was like, 'Oh, we must have won.' I was just so happy."

Franklin will attempt to ride the momentum of its first league crown since a 42-41 defeat of Cherry Valley in 1984 into the Section Four Class D Tournament, which begins Wednesday.

The Purple Devils are the No. 2 seed and will host No. 15 Roxbury (7-9) of the Delaware League at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

"We're going to go in like it's the start of the season and see what we can do," Beers said.

Third-seeded Worcester, which pounded Franklin with a 63-39 victory during the regular season, opens at home against No. 14 Morris (7-8) at the same time.

Should the seeds hold, Franklin and Worcester would meet in a Feb. 29 semifinal back at O-State.

"We'll be ready," Pier said. "We won't be sitting back Wednesday night. I've seen everybody on our side that we're going to play. If we play like we can play ball, we'll be fine. We'll hopefully get a chance to play Franklin again right here."

Franklin 45, Worcester 36

TRI-VALLEY LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP

Saturday at Oneonta State

FRANKLIN (14-1): Jessie Terrano 7 1-2 17, Kristin Heidenreich 1 0-0 2, Mariah McNeilly 2 0-0 4, Jordan Beers 7 4-7 18, Angie Willert 0 0-0 0, Mara Stalter 0 0-0 0, Marissa Cawley 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 19 5-9 45.

WORCESTER (13-3): Morgan Clark 6 1-2 13, Karli Pochkar 3 0-0 6, Jillian Perillo 0 0-4 0, Ashley Doroski 0 0-0 0, Cassie Sklenka 1 1-2 3, Jessie Thompson 0 0-0 0, Grace Harrington 2 0-0 4, Nicole Sawyer 1 4-4 6, Jamie Thompson 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 15 6-12 36.

Franklin ..... 11 15 10 9 _ 45

Worcester ..... 3 7 14 12 _ 36

Three-point field goals: F 2 (Terrano 2).

Dean Russin can be reached at drussin@thedailystar.com or 607-432-1000, ext. 215.

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