Regardless of how far Oneonta High’s girls basketball team advances this season, it’s unlikely it will face better team that it met Sunday.
The Yellowjackets stayed even with a Penfield squad that returned all five starters from last season’s team that lost in the Class AA state final for one half before falling, 61-40, in a non-league game at Onondaga Community College.
“They were long and strong and difficult,” OHS coach Matt Miller said of Penfield. “They’re probably a top-five team in the whole state regardless of class and we played with them for three quarters. We had a rough night shooting and they made us shoot terrible, but we had a lot of clean looks we didn’t make.”
OHS junior Mariah Ruff scored 13 of her game-high 20 points in the first half, which ended in a 24-24 deadlock. Ruff’s output could have bigger if not for a 4-for-10 showing from the free throw line.
“I thought Mariah handled their pressure well,” Miller said of his standout point guard. “She only had two turnovers. The pressure didn’t bother her. She was able to get by people when she wanted to and when she got to the basket, she was able to draw contact and get a shot up. I think Mariah was probably the best player on the floor and they have a couple of kids getting D-I looks.”
Miller added that entering the game, taking care of the basketball was the top priority for his team. He said the Yellowjackets attacked Penfield’s press so well in the first half that the Patriots went away from it in the second quarter.
“They play 90 feet and trap like crazy,” he said. “We passed out of traps instead of dribbling. We turned some of their pressure into layups.”