That basket cut the Spartans’ deficit to 22-18 heading into the third quarter.
Elliott scored all five of her points in the first 1:27 of the third quarter. She hit a long two-pointer and then hit a three-pointer from the baseline, that basket making the score, 27-18, with 6:33 left in the third quarter.
But Unatego stayed close.
When Cassidy Newman scored inside with 1:40 left in the quarter, the Spartans trailed, 31-26.
Marissa Woodard’s putback 20 seconds into the final quarter made it a three-point spread.
UV responded with four straight points. Corrine Izard, who suffered a left ankle injury with 6:11 left and did not return, hit two free throws with 6:34 left and Off scored inside with 4:52 to play to make it 35-28.
Manzanero, who scored 26 points in Unatego’s 55-52 regular season loss to UV, hit a free throw with 4:35 to play and Kayla Talbot swished a 12-footer with 3 ½ minutes remaining as Unatego closed to 35-31.
But Manzanero fouled out with 3:13 left.
That started a 4-0 Storm run that all but ended things. Off hit 1 of 2 free throws after Manzanero’s fifth foul, Anderson did likewise with 2:28 left and Anderson ended the run on a pull-up jumper with 2:14 to play.
“It’s huge for the program,” Backus said of winning the UV’s first MAC title in girls basketball. “These girls have been hard-core basketball for the last three to four seasons, so it’s nice to see them get rewarded. It kind of sets a standard for the younger girls.”
The third-seeded Storm will take a 14-game winning streak into a Section Four Class C quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Harpursville or No. 11 Watkins Glen on Friday.
“It’s going to bring us a lot of confidence,” Anderson said of Saturday’s win. “Key players stepped up today and they know they can do that in the future.”
Rob Centorani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-432-1000, ext. 209.