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February 18, 2013

Yellowjackets are STAC champions

Ruff, Webster key 57-56 victory in OT

VESTAL — From start to finish Sunday, Oneonta High junior Mariah Ruff put on a show at Binghamton University’s Events Center.

One big shot in overtime by teammate Minnie Webster fell into the show-stopper category, though.

Webster’s three-pointer with 4.1 seconds left in overtime — off a pass from Ruff — lifted the Yellowjackets to a thrilling, 57-56 victory over Horseheads in the Southern Tier Athletic Conference girls basketball championship game.

“I had a feeling,” Webster said of the final shot winding up in her hands. “(Ruff) looked like she had people all over her and I just knew it was going to kick to me and I knew I had to shoot it.”

The senior’s shot from the left wing encountered ever-so-slight contact with iron as it passed through the rim. Following a last-second, half-court heave by Horseheads’ Ellie Leszyk that fell way short of the basket, Webster’s teammates lifted her onto their shoulders and carried her off the court.

Though Webster’s shot placed an exclamation point at the end of a wildly entertaining title game, Ruff’s game-long excellence shouldn’t be forgotten any time soon by the many fans who witnessed it.

From those two NBA-range three-pointers she swished early in the second quarter, to the numerous dribble-draw-and-dish assists — three of the no-look variety — to those powerful legs that helped her spring for deflections and rebounds, Ruff possibly played her best game in an OHS uniform.

The final count showed 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists — numbers that may have necessitated Ruff’s trip to the office of Binghamton University women’s basketball coach Nicole Scholl about 10 minutes after the game.

“I thought she did a great job of managing the tempo of the game, her shot selection was great and she obviously got some people open,” OHS coach Matt Miller said of Ruff. “I thought she played unbelievably well. There was just an intensity and energy about her. She’s a gamer. The bigger the stage, the harder she plays and you could see that tonight.”

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