The Daily Star
---- — STAFF REPORT
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.”
But Penfield outscored the Yellowjackets, 20-3, in the third quarter.
OHS used a box-and-one to slow Penfield post player Margot Hetzke, who was held to five points in the first half. But Miller said the Patriots adjusted after halftime.
“They got some layups (off of our box-and-one) and we got out of it and went to a 2-3 zone. (Lucy) Covley hit two threes (when OHS switched to zone). They just did a good job of making shots.”
The combination of the Yellowjackets going 3-for-18 from three-point range and Penfield’s ability to keep the ball out of the hands of OHS’ forwards hindered Oneonta’s offense.
“I give them credit for taking our post players away,” Miller said of a Penfield lineup that included three girls who stood 5-foot-11 and another at 5-10. “They denied post entry passes and when we did it get in, they doubled us.”
Covley and Hetzke finished with 18 and 15 points, respectively, for Penfield (12-3), which suffered two losses in a top-flight tournament in South Carolina and another to unbeaten Gates Chili.
The Patriots overwhelmed Section Four power Horseheads on Saturday, taking a 21-point first-quarter lead en route to a 62-33 victory.
Natalie Vanderlaan-Meyering contributed six points for the Yellowjackets (12-1), who will host Chenango Valley on Friday on Senior Appreciation Night.
“It’s not too often you lose a game and come away with a good feeling, but I felt good that we competed for three out of the four quarters,” Miller said. “It’s a big confidence boost for our kids.”
Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton sophomore Julia Knapp earned the lone victory among local competitors in the Quinney/Hurley Invitational on Saturday at Cornell University.
Knapp won the 55-meter hurdles in 8.76 seconds.
Knapp’s time is approaching some select company in this area. University at Albany senior Ashley Mahlmeister ran an 8.33 as a senior for Sidney in 2009.
In 2006, then Sidney senior Katelyn Guerriere earned a state title in the 55 hurdles with a time of 8.46. Guerriere also went on to compete at the Division I level, running for James Madison University.
Knapp also finished third in the long jump at 16 feet, 4 ¼ inches.
Sidney’s Samantha Mullineaux placed second in the shot put with a distance of 34-11 ½.
On the boys side, Oneonta High’s Ben Gollin and B-G/A’s Pedro Aparacio earned a pair of third-place finishes. Gollin finished third in the 1,600, crossing in 4:32.58.
Aparacio was third in the shot put at 42-6 ½.
Oxford 59, B-G 52
Andrew Golden’s game-high 32 points paced host Oxford to a Midstate Athletic Conference victory.
Cameron Heggie contributed 14 points for the Blackhawks, who led 34-21, at halftime.
Austin Bauerle scored 21 points to lead Bainbridge-Guilford, which received 15 points from Corbin Palmer.
Frontier League Championships
Cooperstown placed fifth out of 15 teams in Saturday’s Frontier League Championships at Holland Patent.
The Redskins received second-place finishes from their 200-yard medley relay team and from Sean Mebust.
Aaron Idelson, Matt Frevele, Luke Zenir and Sean Mebust comprised the relay team that touched in 1 minute, 59.97 seconds.
Mebust completed the 100 freestyle in 52.08 seconds.
Cooperstown, which went 7-1 during its dual meet season, will next compete in sectionals. The diving competition is Feb. 9 and swimming begins Feb. 14.
Senior setter Katie Booan broke Cooperstown’s record for all-time assists Saturday, when she helped the host Redskins to a second-place finish in their five-team tournament.
All-tournament selection Booan amassed 47 assists to finish the day with 1,315 at the varsity level, surpassing the Redskins record of 1,273 set by Kim Armstrong from 2006-09.
Earlier in the week, Booan broke Armstrong’s record of 36 assists in one match with 37 against Sauquoit Valley.
Erin Hascup contributed 33 digs Saturday, Caroline Leonard had 17 kills and Brooke Liner finished with 16 kills for Cooperstown, which finished 6-2 after splitting games against tournament champion Stockbridge Valley (7-1) and third-place Jordan-Elbridge (4-4). Mohawk (2-6) and Blessed Virgin Mary Academy (1-7) also competed.
The Redskins (8-3) play at Hamilton today and visit Sauquoit Valley on Wednesday, then close their regular season this Saturday with a home match against Hamilton.