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January 23, 2014

OHS girls get jump on Tornado

ONEONTA — The spotlight isn’t big enough for Mariah Ruff, especially when just about everybody else is scoring, too.

Division I-bound Ruff scored 11 of her game-high 22 points in the first quarter Wednesday night, leading host Oneonta High to a 60-51 girls basketball victory over Southern Tier Athletic Conference rival Norwich.

Brie Baker, Meg Burns, Rachel Wessells and Madison Miller also scored inside the first eight minutes, helping the Yellowjackets (11-1, 9-0) to a 20-6 lead after one period.

“If we want to go to the next level, we have to start getting some consistency and some production from some other kids,” said OHS coach Matt Miller, who received 10 points from Brittney Herrick and seven apiece from Baker and Abby Picinich. “There are kids who can step up and score for us, and this was a confidence-booster for some of those kids.”

Breanna Cashman hit a three-point field goal from the top of the key 3 minutes, 12 seconds into the game to give Norwich its final lead, at 6-5.

Ruff soon sparked Oneonta’s 15-0 run to close the first quarter with a three-point play, following her own miss for an and-one putback with 3:28 to go in the first. Ruff then penetrated to set up Madison Miller for a close basket and made two free throws before Wessells turned a steal into a short lay-in for a 14-6 cushion.

Baker dropped in a three-pointer from the right corner and Ruff did the same from the left wing to cap the first-quarter scoring for the Jackets, whose full-court press forced seven turnovers over the final two minutes of the period.

“It’s important to come out strong,” said Ruff, who will play for St. Bonaventure next season. “I thought we did a pretty good job of that. I thought we did a great job. A lot of people stepped up and we played good basketball.”

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