DAVENPORT _ Maybe if it happened in another gym against a lesser opponent, South Kortright's performance Tuesday could be overlooked.
But to do it in Davenport against a Davenport squad with one loss ... well, you simply can't dismiss it.
A question posed to Wildcats coach Ray Preston that started, "Can you ever remember ..." never got any farther. Preston, Davenport's girls basketball coach for the past 32 seasons, shook his head and said, "No."
South Kortright won by 50! These experienced Rams, many of whom played on a Class D state final four team two years ago and started last season 18-0, dominated from start to finish in a 67-17 Delaware League victory that was every bit as impressive as the final score suggests. That Preston can't remember one of his teams absorbing a more lopsided loss speaks volumes.
Not only did SK have a size advantage, it was also more athletic, more aggressive and deeper.
"I've got a lot of respect for Ray and his program," SK coach Josh Burroughs said of Preston, who has 588 victories and will be inducted into the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame in March. "Every year, he's competitive. So if you were going to tell me we were going to look at a 50-point victory, I would have said you were crazy."
Even those in the near-capacity crowd seemed stunned.
The Rams (11-1, 10-0) led, 21-3, after one quarter and extended it to 39-9 by halftime. It almost looked like a varsity team playing a JV squad.
"We were stunned because we played a team that's fundamentally sound and has a good coach," said senior forward Nikki Holdridge, who scored a game-high 20 points to go along with 12 rebounds. "We weren't expecting a 50-point game at all.
"Even at halftime, we were up 30 and we said, 'They have Mr. Preston in there and you never know.'"
Turns out, there was nothing to worry about.
Davenport (11-2, 9-1) committed 31 turnovers _ 22 coming on steals by the Rams, who contested every pass and dribble on this night and hounded the Wildcats into a 6-for-44 shooting performance from the floor.
At first, it looked as if the 3-2 zone trap _ that started at three-quarter court _ was employed merely to slow the Wildcats down and force them into a halfcourt game. But on this night, it appeared the Wildcats had never seen a press _ certainly not one as active as SK's _ and continually dribbled into double teams or made haphazard passes that turned into layups on the other end.
"We were surprised because Davenport usually takes care of the ball," said Burroughs, whose team's unbeaten season ended a year ago with a sectional semifinal loss to Jefferson. "We knew they wanted to force the tempo a little bit, but tonight the steals were there and we were able to score in transition off that."
About three minutes into play, it seemed as if Davenport had the advantage. Sam Maidens scored from the close range and drew the second foul on SK center Robin Ward, with 4:54 left in the first quarter. Ward's second foul sent her to the bench.
Maidens missed the free throw that would tied the score at 3.
With the 5-foot-11 Ward on the bench for the remainder of the quarter, the Rams still went on a 18-1 run.
Holdridge hit a free throw but missed the second. Tallulah Guadagnino rebounded the miss and was fouled. She went 1-for-2 from the line to make it 5-2 with 3:45 left in the quarter. Holdridge, a 5-10 forward in her third varsity season, rebounded her miss and scored with 3:10 to go in the period.
Then Britney Northrop had one of her six steals and turned it into a transition layup with 2:51 left in the quarter. Twenty seconds later, Holdridge scored in transition and the score was 11-2.
A Maidens free throw with 2:01 to go briefly stopped the run.
Then Kayla Craft scored in transition off the glass 11 seconds later. Northrop, whose 16-point night came on 7-for-9 shooting from the field, hit a three-pointer from the left baseline, Holdridge scored on a third-chance putback and was fouled for a three-point play and Craft hit a floater along the baseline after a steal _ the latter making 21-3 nine seconds before halftime.
"To be very honest, they're the class of the section," said Preston, who graduated Daily Star Player of the Year Sam Meyerhoff off last season's team that advanced to the Class D state semifinals. "Barring injury, I expect them to go a long ways. They have the total package."
Craft finished with 10 points and three other Rams had at least five.
"All year long, we've preached balance," Burroughs said. "The more balance we have, the tougher we are to stop. We can score all over the floor."
Added Holdridge: "We knew we were going to be bigger, so we were like, 'Let's take advantage of that.' We went up strong with our layups, we fought through contact and we got a lot of offensive rebounds because we expected that contact."
South Kortright 67, Davenport 17
SOUTH KORTRIGHT (11-1, 10-0): Courtenay Chambers 3-9 1-1 7, Becca Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Nikki Holdridge 8-16 4-7 20, Ashley Moeller 2-5 1-2 5, Tallulah Guadagnino 1-5 1-2 3, Britney Northrop 7-9 0-0 16, Nikki Sebastian 0-2 0-0 0, Kayla Craft 5-9 0-1 10, Robin Ward 3-5 0-0 6, Sabrina Spaulding 0-2 0-0 0. TOTALS: 27-62 7-13 67.
DAVENPORT (11-2, 9-1): Katie Swantak 0-8 0-0 0, Brittany Chase 2-4 2-2 6, Sarah Haight 0-1 2-4 2, Melissa Sperry 0-0 0-0 0, Katie Brown 1-7 0-0 2, Sam Maidens 2-8 1-3 5, Lauren Hotaling 0-11 0-0 0, Brittani Pietrefesa 0-2 0-2 0, Katie Goss 1-3 0-0 2. TOTALS: 6-44 5-9 17.
South Kortright 3 6 6 2 _ 17
Davenport 21 18 12 16 _ 67
Three-point field goals: S 2 (Northrop 2).
Rob Centorani can be reached at email@example.com or 607-432-1000, ext. 209.