Junior guard Kayla Warycha kept the Rams on top by scoring eight points in the last 3:04 of the third quarter.
Warycha first drew a foul on Kassie Jeffers while grabbing an offensive rebound and hit both of the ensuing free throws. She followed with two stop-and-pop field goals from free-throw range, then drove the lane to tag Sam Maidens with a blocking foul. That led to two more free throws as SK took a 43-28 lead with 47.1 seconds to play in the third.
“She can do that,” SK coach Josh Burroughs said of Warycha, who finished with 10 points. “She’s been playing with us for two years, so she can do that. It was just that process of getting the confidence out there. We thought if they were going to play us the same way as they did last time, those girls (Warycha and Laing) were going to get the open looks and take that shot or take that drive if it’s there.”
Rockefeller’s final three came early in the fourth quarter, when she scored eight of her 15 points. SK scored its other fourth-quarter points at the foul line as Laing went 3-for-4, Hanselman hit 2 of 2 and Sam Acuna made 1 of 2 free throws.
“Burroughs kind of yelled at us in the locker room at halftime and told us to get our heads out of our butts,” Rockefeller said. “Some games are tough, but we pull through.”
Burroughs improved to 119-11 in his sixth season with the Rams, who have won the last four Delaware League crowns and are looking to win their third straight Section Four Class D championship.
“He’s our biggest motivation,” Laing said. “If we didn’t have him as our coach, we wouldn’t be this good.”
The Rams earned the No. 2 seed for sectionals and will host o. 15 Downsville (8-8) in the opening round at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Preston’s next chance to own the state record for all-time victories comes at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, when his third-seeded Wildcats host No. 14 Stamford (10-7).
“You have to respect him,” Burroughs said of Preston. “He gets the most out of his players every year and he prepares his team so well.”
Dean Russin can be reached at email@example.com or 607-432-1000, ext. 215.