It marked OHS’ second STAC title and its first since a 42-34 win over Seton Catholic Central in 2009.
It also marked the Yellowjackets’ third straight appearance in the final — the previous two ending with losses to Binghamton
High. During that span, OHS has faced Horseheads each year — the first two coming in STAC semifinals.
Two years ago at OHS, the Yellowjackets beat the Blue Raiders, 49-47, in overtime. Last year, OHS bunched eight points into game’s final minute to beat host HH, 61-55, as Ruff and Webster scored 19 and 14 points, respectively.
“We both have the same group of kids,” Miller said. “We both had kids playing as freshmen and sophomores and they’ve kind of grown up together, so it doesn’t surprise me, but I’m certainly glad to be on the three-win side of that.”
Following a see-saw first half that ended with OHS holding a 25-23 lead, the Yellowjackets started the second half with 5-foot-10 senior Kelsey Baker (10 rebounds) on the bench with three fouls. Things got worse when 6-2 senior center Natalie Vanderlaan-Meyering was whistled for her third foul with 5:16 left in the third quarter.
The Blue Raiders (15-3), the top seed for the upcoming Section Four Class AA Tournament, had size everywhere, including 5-11 guards Tess Wicks and Marlea Nolan, 6-0 forward Jen Chalk and 6-1 center Amanda Schiefen.
Still, OHS (17-1) raced to an eight-point lead early in the third quarter. After Wicks made a putback to tie the score at 25, Oneonta answered with an 8-0 run that took less than a minute.
Webster hit a three from the right wing off a pass from Ruff and then swished one from the opposite baseline about 15 seconds later. Next came a steal that led to a fastbreak layup by Ruff, and the Yellowjackets had a 33-25 lead.
The margin was still eight when Ruff came up with yet another did-she-really-just-do-that? special. With the shot clock running down and two defenders on her, Ruff crossed over from left to right before hitting a three-pointer from the key. It made the score, 42-34.