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Local Sports

February 22, 2014

OHS girls ride defense to easy win

ONEONTA — Mariah Ruff just wasn't herself Friday at Oneonta High.

Fortunately for the Yellowjackets, their defense was spot on.

Brie Baker had a game-high six steals and Ruff blocked a game-best four shots as the OHS girls basketball team forced 27 turnovers in a 47-30 Section Four Class B Tournament semifinal rout of visiting Susquehanna Valley.

"I thought we played great defense," said Ruff, whose shot was way off most of the night but managed to finish with game-highs of 14 points and 10 rebounds. "That's what we have to do. Defense is really what's going to win us championships if we're going to win any of them."

Ruff missed all seven of her shots in the first half but rattled in a pair of free throws with 2.8 seconds left before the break to give top-seeded Oneonta a 28-15 lead over its Southern Tier Athletic Conference rivals.

The Jackets (17-2) received points from five other sources while Ruff struggled to find her groove, most notably from Brittney Herrick and Meg Burns. Herrick scored Oneonta's first eight points, all from inside the paint, and Burns had all six of her points in the opening quarter, which ended with OHS ahead, 18-9.

"That was really good because Mariah, our leading scorer, was struggling," said OHS coach Matt Miller, who also received four of Maria DiMartin's seven points in the first period. "I was really happy with the way the team responded to her being in a little bit of a rut to start the game off. We got off to a great offensive start and our leading scorer wasn't really a part of the offense in terms of putting the ball in the basket.

"We've had issues with her scoring too much for us and everybody else kind of taking that Robin-type role to her Batman," he continued. "Today, Brittney Herrick asserted herself and she did a good job in the lane."

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