South Kortright’s girls started their quest for a sectional basketball three-peat Friday with a 63-35 rout of Afton in the opening round of the Pat Grasso Tournament at Laurens.
Freshman guard Tori Rockefeller hit five three-pointers en route to a game-high 25 points for the two-time defending Section Four Class D champion Rams, who jumped to a 39-14 halftime lead.
“She kind of picked up right where she left off last season,” said SK’s Josh Burroughs, who earned his second straight Daily Star Coach of the Year award after leading the Rams to a 22-1 season that ended with a 57-44 state-semifinal loss to Section Five’s Elba last winter. “For her age, she’s comfortable out there.”
Rockefeller certainly found her comfort zone in the second quarter, scoring 16 of the Rams’ 21 points in the period. Afton, which trailed, 18-10, after the first eight minutes, scored four points in the second quarter.
Senior forward Kayla Craft contributed 16 points and seven rebounds for the Rams, who received nine points from senior forward Miquela Hanselman and seven rebounds from freshman guard Sam Acuna.
“Kayla scored seven points in the first quarter, and most of those were in the paint,” Burroughs said. “I think Afton tried to pack the paint a little more in the second quarter. That left the outside open and Tori took advantage of it.”
Payton Cutting’s 11 points paced the Crimson Knights, who received nine from Bailey Sherman in the season opener for both teams.
Afton will play Laurens – a 37-18 first-round loser to Gilbertsville-Mount Upton – in the consolation game at 6 p.m. Saturday. SK and the Raiders will follow in the title game at 7:30 p.m.
G-MU 37, Laurens 18
Mackenzie Talbot scored eight points for Gilbertsville-Mount Upton, which held host Laurens to seven first-half points en route to an appearance in the title game of the Pat Grasso Tournament.