Photo by BCH PhotosCooperstown-s Samantha Fox looks to pass after grabbing a rebound from Tioga-s Kara McDuffee during Saturday-s Class D state quarterfinal at Cicero-North Syracuse. Cooperstown guard Lindsay Valentine is at right.

CICERO _ It was as easy as 1-2 for the Cooperstown girls basketball team Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse.

There actually was a three, too _ Jenny Potrikus' long-range shot that bounced in after hitting the back of the rim and the top of the backboard early in the second quarter.

But there's no doubt that the undefeated Section Three champion Redskins won a Class C state quarterfinal against Tioga in overtime, 39-37, behind its two biggest weapons.


"What are you going to say? Six-foot-3 and 6-foot, what are you going to do about that?" Tioga coach Joe Robinson said of Cooperstown seniors Samantha Fox and Jen Wehner, respectively, who combined to score 30 points. "I don't care how big you are, it's tough to defend them."

It's equally difficult when they're the ones on defense.

The two biggest plays of the extra period came courtesy of Wehner and Fox, in that order.

Wehner scored the decisive points for the Redskins (25-0) off a well-timed interception, breaking when the ball left the fingertips of Tioga's Kara McDuffee on a pass from the left side intended for Stephanie Daniels at the top of the key.

Wehner yanked the ball out of the air with two hands en route to an uncontested layup for the final margin with 41 seconds to play.

"I get kind of mad every once in a while," said Wehner, who went 0-for-4 from the foul line and scored two points in the second half. "It energizes me."

Wehner was hobbled by a double-ankle twist in the second quarter, the result of an awkward landing while trying to save a ball from going out of bounds. She showed no ill effects on her three-quarter-court sprint to the go-ahead points, though.

"It was bothering me really badly, but I don't give into the pain unless I can't get up," said Wehner, who scored all four of Cooperstown's overtime points to finish with a game-high 17. "I know it's going to hurt, but I'm still going to do it."

Wehner then missed three foul shots in a five-second span, and McDuffee rebounded the last with 22.6 seconds left to give Tioga a chance to tie or win.

The Tigers moved the ball to the right before getting it back into the hands of McDuffee, a lanky, athletic, freshman guard who scored 16 points in her first state-tournament appearance.

Fox was locked in, though, stalking McDuffee from the moment she touched the ball at the top of the key. Her eyes following McDuffee's entire route around the left side, Fox slid to the left block and spiked the ball into the floor.

"I just sort of went for it," said Fox, who scored 13 points and altered several of Tioga's attempts from the floor by simply getting in the way. "It was pretty much all of it or none of it."

It was definitely all of it, but Tioga recovered the ball before it went out of bounds and called a timeout with 3.8 seconds to go. Inbounding from the left side, the Tigers sent the ball straight to McDuffee at the top of the key for a buzzer-beater that fell short of the rim.

"It was gut-wrenching," said first-year Cooperstown coach Mike Niles, who will take the Redskins to a Class C state semifinal against Section One's Haldane at 12:30 p.m. this Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.

"When the buzzer sounded, I was more relieved than happy," he continued. "I can't believe we let (McDuffee) get that much space. That was really too good of a look to give up."

Wehner scored six points and Fox had five in the opening quarter, which ended with the Redskins ahead, 11-8. Each team scored 10 in the second period, and Cooperstown extended its lead to 30-22 in the third by holding Tioga to four points in the period.

The Tigers trailed the entire second half until Jesse Robinson, who drew a foul on Wehner with a strong inside move, sank two free throws inside the last minute of regulation. Each team missed twice inside the last 15 seconds to set up the extra period.

"I guess we were lucky," Niles said. "A little luck is good. You've got to have it to be 25-0."



Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse

4-TIOGA (16-7): Kara McDuffee 8 0-1 16, Jesse Robinson 2 5-6 9, Stephanie Daniels 3 0-0 6, Marissa Miller 1 0-0 2, Julie Chambers 1 0-0 2, Kacie Hoyt 1 0-0 2, Korin Eckstrom 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16 5-7 37.

3-COOPERSTOWN (25-0): Jen Wehner 8 1-8 17, Samantha Fox 5 3-8 13, Jenny Potrikus 1 0-0 3, Laura Rowley 1 0-0 2, Kaitlin Cring 1 0-0 2, Abby Hull 1 0-0 2, Lindsay Valentine 0 0-0 0, Ashley Rowley 0 0-0 0, Emily Davidson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16 5-7 37.

Tioga8 10 4 13 2 _ 37

Cooperstown11 10 9 5 4 _ 39

Three-point field goals: C 1 (Potrikus).


Dean Russin can be reached at or 607-432-1000, ext. 215.

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