So much for a rebuilding season at Oneonta High.
Reigning Daily Star Player of the Year Mariah Ruff scored a game-high 30 points and Brittney Herrick grabbed 16 rebounds Tuesday, leading the Yellowjackets to a season-opening 53-46 girls basketball victory at Southern Tier Athletic Conference rival Norwich.
“I think they’re our toughest Class B opponent in Section Four,” OHS coach Matt Miller said of Norwich, which rallied from a 16-point deficit in the second half but failed to overcome a program that graduated nine seniors from last season’s Class B state finalists. “They’ve got a lot of experience and are pretty big. I knew this was going to be a tough test for our opener.”
Ruff scored 20 points in the first half, which ended with OHS ahead, 28-19. She finished with eight field goals, including all three of Oneonta’s three-point field goals, and made 11 of 14 shots from the foul line.
Herrick, who took last season off to concentrate on volleyball, scored six points in her first game since helping OHS to the Class B state quarterfinals in the 2011-12 season.
“We lost nine seniors, four were starters and two came off bench and gave us a lot of minutes,” Miller said. “You’d think this would be a year we might have to rebuild, but that’s not the case. I think we’re going to be in pretty good shape this year.”
Brieanna Baker also scored six points for OHS, which received five from Meg Burns.
Bri Cashman’s 14 points paced Norwich, which received 12 from Kassidy Seary.
OHS, which has won six straight Section Four championships, hosts the Anthony C. Drago Tournament on Saturday and Sunday. The Jackets open against STAC rival Owego at 4:15 p.m. Saturday. Our Lady of Lourdes and Cicero-North Syracuse play the other first-round game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.