By Dean Russin
The Daily Star
---- — ONEONTA — Jordan Beers loves her job.
Junior point guard Beers finished with game-highs of 29 points and 16 rebounds Saturday, helping the Franklin girls basketball team to a 56-48 victory over Schenevus in the Tri-Valley League championship game at Oneonta State.
“It’s a lot of hard work,” said area scoring leader Beers, who extended her school record for all-time varsity points to 1,756 while leading the Purple Devils to their second straight league title. “I’ve been (playing basketball) my whole life and I enjoy it, so I’m going to continue doing it.”
Beers started the scoring with a pull-up jumper 28 seconds into the final en route to 10 points in the opening quarter, which included two of her three three-point field goals. Despite her efforts, though, Schenevus (11-5) held a 15-14 lead with 55 seconds left in the period after Ceara Marlow scored on a putback.
Franklin (16-0) closed the period with back-to-back inside baskets from Marisa Cawley and Mara Stalter, sparking a 15-0 run that ended when Schenevus’ Sierra Bentley hit a deep, baseline shot with 3:30 left in the first half. That spurt featured another three-pointer, another pull-up swish and two free throws from Beers, whose 20 first-half points helped Franklin to a 35-24 lead at the break.
“Jordan’s by far the best girl in Class D basketball,” said Schenevus coach Tim Walke, whose team lost despite double-digit scoring efforts from Taylor Spranger (14 points), Sarah Mellor (11), Bentley (11) and Marlow (10). “She can do it all.”
Walke personally delivered that message to Beers before she hobbled off the court after the game.
“He says he has a lot of respect for me and likes the way I play,” said Beers, whose left ankle was heavily taped because she rolled it during Wednesday’s regular-season finale, a 49-17 rout of Gilbertsville-Mount Upton. “That means a lot, hearing it from an opposing coach.”
Beers added that she developed a blister on the bottom of her left foot but said she’ll be fine when the Purple Devils open the Section Four Class D Tournament at 7 p.m. Tuesday as the No. 1 seed.
“To repeat (as Tri-Valley League champions) is amazing,” said Beers, whose team will host 16th-seeded Milford (10-7) in the first round of sectionals. “It’s always been what I wanted. And we won sectionals in soccer, so that’s obviously what I want to do in basketball.”
Beers, who averages 25.1 points, certainly won’t be alone in her title quest as junior center Cawley and senior guard Haley Downin are among the Purple Devils’ weapons.
The tall, lanky Cawley altered several Schenevus shots and locked down the paint on the defensive end Saturday. She blocked four shots and finished with 11 points, including seven in Franklin’s 14-6 third quarter.
Downin’s athleticism played a key role, too. Headed to Division I Binghamton University to play soccer this fall, Franklin’s goalkeeper contributed 10 points, five rebounds, two three-pointers and non-stop hustle at both ends of the floor.
“It’s a real compliment to (Beers) when every team we play has to design something to try to stop her,” Franklin coach Mike Dutcher said. “Give the team credit because we understand that. Jordan can’t be five people, so we have to get people in position where she can get open.”
Beers had all seven of the Purple Devils’ points in the fourth quarter, when Schenevus scored 18. The Dragons closed on a 7-0 run, after Beers made a left-handed lay-in for a 56-43 lead with 1:25 to play.
“Hopefully, we’ll see them again,” Walke said.
Spranger also grabbed 10 rebounds and hit four threes for the Dragons, who are seeded eighth for the Section Four Class D Tournament. Schenevus will host No. 9 Hancock (8-10) of the Midstate Athletic Conference at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the first round of sectionals.
Dean Russin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-432-1000, ext. 215.