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February 19, 2013

Seniors lead Storm to first MAC title

ONEONTA — Jordan Anderson and Amanda Off left their fingerprints all over Saturday’s Midstate Athletic Conference girls basketball final.

Jenn Elliott’s contributions for Unadilla Valley were less conspicuous.

But all three seniors helped the Storm to their first league championship as UV beat rival Unatego, 44-34, before a large turnout at Oneonta State’s Dewar Arena.

“It’s a piece of history and I’m glad to be part of it,” point guard Anderson said after scoring a game-high 17 points.

Anderson led UV’s up-tempo offense superbly, Off powered her way to 13 points and Elliott spent the majority of her afternoon chasing Unatego standout Casey Manzanero around the gym.

Manzanero became the fourth Unatego player to score 1,000 varsity points, but thanks in large part to Elliott’s defense, Manzanero was limited to eight points.

It’s not that Manzanero and backcourt mate Sarah Mannina shot poorly but that the Unatego seniors didn’t shoot much at all. With Elliott chasing Manzanero and Taylor Davis following Mannina in the Storm’s triangle-and-2 defense, the Storm kept the ball away from the Spartans’ top offensive threats.

“I’m surprised how many looks they didn’t get,” UV coach Brandi Backus said of Manzanero and Mannina. “They’re the ones who were going to carry the team, so we knew if we got hung up on a screen, we had to get out on them. They’re the ones who will burn you. Our plan tonight was to make the other girls beat us.”

Offensively, UV (15-1) struggled for most of the afternoon to get its fastbreak going, but one surge during the first half played a big role in the victory.

After falling behind, 10-2, the Storm went on a 16-1 run to take lead for keeps.

“You’re not going to hold a team of their caliber down the whole game,” said Unatego coach Greg Bonczkowski, whose fifth-seeded team will take a 14-4 record into its Section Four Class C first-round home game against No. 12 Moravia on Tuesday. “All they need is a long rebound or a turnover on our part and it’s off to the races.”

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