The Daily Star
---- — STAFF REPORT
This time, it went in Horseheads’ direction.
The girls basketball teams from Oneonta High and Horseheads met in the Southern Tier Athletic Conference playoffs for the fourth straight year Wednesday and the host Blue Raiders rallied for a 55-52 semifinal victory in overtime.
It marks third time in four years the squads have needed overtime to decide things. Last season, the Yellowjackets won the STAC championship with a 57-56 win against the Blue Raiders on a three-pointer by Minnie Webster with four seconds left in OT.
A year earlier, OHS scored eight points in the final minute to beat Horseheads, 61-55, in a STAC semifinal. In 2011, the Jackets downed HH, 49-47, in OT in the semifinals.
“It’s an absolute battle when we play each other,” OHS coach Matt Miller said.
The Yellowjackets’ streak of three straight STAC finals appearances ended. OHS lost to Binghamton in 2011 and 2012 championship games.
Miller said his squad held an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter Wednesday.
“We played well in stretches,” Miller said. “Unfortunately, in the fourth quarter we struggled. I have to shoulder the responsibility. I didn’t do a good job. I could have put the kids in better spots. We had horrible time in the last minute-and-a-half. We were up six and we had a lot of trouble inbounding the ball.”
Amanda Schiefen, a 6-foot-1 left-hander, forced overtime by hitting a shot in the lane with one second left.
“We knew they would go to her,” Miller said of Schiefen, who also forced overtime in last year’s STAC final by hitting a shot in the lane off an inbounds play late in regulation. “We put (Mariah) Ruff on her, but she got loose. She caught it high and forced OT. She’s a tough kid.”
Schiefen, who finished with a team-high 14 points, also hit two key free throws late in overtime that helped the Blue Raiders seal the victory.
Ruff, who’ll play Division I St. Bonaventure next season, scored a game-high 16 points for the Yellowjackets. Ruff also had her varsity high of 18 rebounds to go along with seven assists.
Maria DiMartin contributed 14 points, and Brittney Herrick had 10 points and 10 rebounds for OHS.
DiMartin scored eight points as OHS outscored the Blue Raiders, 15-3, in the third quarter to take a 36-29 lead into the fourth quarter.
“She played her best game in an OHS uniform,” Miller said of DiMartin. “They were doubling on Mariah, so we were trying to run our offense to Maria’s side and Mariah did a good job finding her.”
Horseheads (14-3) will play Owego in the STAC final at 6 p.m. Friday at Binghamton University’s Events Center.
“I feel good (about the way we’re playing heading into sectionals), but this loss hurts a lot because of the position we were in,” Miller said. “Horseheads is a very good team.
“We can take a ton of positives out of this game,” he continued. “The kids have to put this loss in perspective and not let it set us back mentally.”
Miller said the Yellowjackets (15-2) will have the No. 1 seed for the Section Four Class B tournament. OHS is in search of its seventh straight sectional title.
Depending on how many teams qualify for sectionals, Miller said OHS could open the tournament Tuesday or Wednesday, and possibly play a doubleheader with Oneonta’s boys team.
Harpursville 52, Delhi 37
Mike Staples and Alex Specht scored eight points apiece for host Delhi, which lost in the championship game of the Midstate Athletic Conference 5-8 tournament.
The Hornets outscored Delhi, 24-11, in the fourth quarter to pull away from a two-point game.
Jon Andrews scored eight of his 13 points and Devon Dean had seven of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter for Harpursville.
“I was proud of our effort for three quarters, but the game isn’t 24 minutes long,” Delhi coach Warren Kelly said. “We struggled shooting the whole night and when our defense stopped being as consistent as it was the first three quarters, the flood gates opened up. When (the Hornets) got opportunities, they took full advantage.”
Brandon Mole grabbed 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs (10-8), who will begin play in the Section Four Class D tournament Tuesday.
“Gosh, there are so many good teams in Class D,” Kelly said. “I think there are eight different Ds that could win it. I’ve been watching a lot of good teams. There’s a lot of quality out there.”
Walton 49, Oxford 44
Jared Beach scored 13 points as host Walton won the MAC 5-8 consolation game.
Beach also grabbed nine rebounds and had seven assists for the Warriors, who finished the season at 8-10.
The Warriors, who took a 13-point lead into halftime, were outscored, 28-20, in the second half but held on to the lead.
Oxford cut the lead to four points with 10 seconds left.
But Cameron Murphy grabbed a defensive rebound and was fouled. Murphy hit 1 of 2 free throws to cap the scoring.
Colin Adam contributed 11 points for the Warriors.
Kevin Davis led the Blackhawks with 13 points.
SKIINGSection Four State Qualifier
Windham’s Aiden Cohane and Sophia Jaeger swept the giant slalom and slalom races for boys and girls, respectively, during the Section Four State Qualifier at Belleayre Mountain.
Cohane won the giant slalom in 72.63 and placed first in the slalom in 64.17. Cohane’s teammate, George Sheridan, placed second in both races in leading the Warriors to the team title.
Cohane and Sheridan will be joined by Windham’s Joe Pelham, Malcolm Seamans and Tristen Jaeger, and Margaretville’s Riley Ancona at the state meet, which will be held Feb. 24-25 at Bristol Mountain.
On the girls side, Jaeger won the giant slalom in 74.52. Her winning mark in slalom was 73.40.
Windham’s Mattie Seamans finished second in giant slalom (76.18) and Roxbury’s Kailie Vanloan was runner-up in slalom (81.47).
Jaeger, Seamans and Vanloan qualified for the state meet, as did Windham’s Natilie Vining, Sydney Shuster and Sonam Sherpa.
Windham’s boys and girls teams finished unbeaten this season and both will compete for state titles.