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February 18, 2014

Laurens girls advance to play top seed

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The Daily Star

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Maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t your typical play-in game scenario where the winner can celebrate a sectional victory before being run over by the top seed.

Perhaps 16th-seeded Laurens’ 52-35 Section Four Class D play-in girls basketball victory at home Monday over No. 17 Stamford might have made the tournament’s top seed a tad nervous.

“We’ve already played (second-seeded) South Kortright and (third-seeded) Franklin, so I’m glad we’re somewhere where they don’t know what they’re walking into,” Laurens coach Dean Marble said of Wednesday’s first-round game at No. 1 Southern Cayuga. “I think they’re in a good frame of mind.”

As well Laurens should be.

The Leopards (10-8) have won six of their last seven games — the lone loss coming against defending sectional champion and unbeaten Franklin — and started Monday’s game by outscoring the Indians, 15-1, in the first quarter.

Five Laurens players scored in the quarter, including four apiece from Claire Fraser and Courtney Sherry.

“We were moving the ball really well and got some good looks off of that,” Marble said of his team’s start. “Our defense had a lot of energy and they were cold. Of course, we were on them, but they were missing shots. Nothing went in for them.”

Laurens extended its lead to 24-8 by halftime.

“We’re way better than we were in the first half of the season and maybe the first two-thirds of the season,” Marble said. “We still aren’t shooting well. When they start making some of these shots, that’s when we’ll start having fun.”

Stamford (9-10) outscored Laurns, 19-13, in the third quarter to pull to 37-27. Heather Dunning and Kimi Freer scored six and five points, respectively, in the quarter.

But Charlotte Lee scored all six of her points in the final quarter as Laurens pulled away.

Lindsay Laing had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Laurens, which received six points and 15 rebounds from Taylor Kessler.

Marble said a key reason for his team’s turnaround was a commitment to conditioning after Laurens suffered a loss to Cherry Valley-Springfield that dropped its record to 4-7.

“I’m not as well liked as I was,” Marble joked in reference to holding more demanding practices. “I told them after the CV-S loss that the biggest lesson in my first season is I allowed them to get into bad shape. I told them the good news is we can fix that and the bad news is I’ll never let it happen again. We even run to the water fountain now.”

Southern Cayuga (15-2), a member of the Interscholastic Athletic Conference, advanced to the Section Four Class D semifinals last season before losing to Franklin, 70-36. Purple Devils standout Jordan Beers scored 38 points in that game.

“I have a video of them,” Marble said of SC. “They were here tonight, so they have a video of us. We gave them a good show in the first half.”

Freer had 15 points and Dunning finished with nine for Stamford.

Laurens 52, Stamford 35

SECTION FOUR CLASS D

Play-in game

17-STAMFORD (9-10): Nora Hager 1 1-1 3, Hailey Jutrzenka 1 0-0 2, Heather Dunning 4 1-2 9, Lyzi Smith 0 0-0 0, Taylor Roddy 2 0-0 4, Brandy Fane 1 0-0 2, Caitlin Moser 0 0-1 0, Kimi Freer 3 9-12 15, Gabby Rion 0 0-0 0, Becky Alberti 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 12 11-16 35.

16-LAURENS (10-8): Kayla Johnson 1 0-0 2, Marion Pollack 0 1-2 1, Lindsay Laing 5 0-0 10, Jessica Hadlock 1 0-0 3, Taylor Kessler 2 2-4 6, Courtney Sherry 4 1-2 9, Amanda Cruz 2 0-0 5, Claire Fraser 3 0-1 6, Shalyn Tilley 2 0-0 4, Charlotte Lee 3 0-0 6. TOTALS: 23 4-9 52.

Stamford 1 7 19 8 – 35

Laurens 15 9 13 15 – 52

Three-point field goals: L 2 (Hadlock, Cruz).