ONEONTA — A 32-point second half pushed second-seeded South Kortright past No. 3 Franklin, 50-29, in a Section IV Class D girls basketball semifinal at SUNY Oneonta’s Dewar Arena, Wednesday, March 4.
Azalyn Brunson deposited a game-high 15 points with eight coming in a 15-point fourth quarter for the Rams. Brunson also nabbed 13 rebounds to secure a double-double for SK.
“In that first quarter I think she got a couple extra possessions on the offensive glass and she was able to stick those in,” Rams coach Josh Burroughs said of Brunson. “And then in that second half, we were able to find her in that low block, high post area and she was able to go to work.”
South Kortright’s offense took some time to get going as it registered 17 points in the first half, but still led the Purple Devils, 17-12, at the midway point.
Four 3-pointers from the Rams in the third quarter, two each from Carli Pardee and Lauren Schmid, set the tone for the rest of the half as SK finished with 17 points in the third.
“We were a little more patient in our sets,” Burroughs said. “I thought the first half we had a little bit of those game jitters being up on the big college court.
“I’d say Lacey Eckert carried us in that third a little bit,” Burroughs continued. “Pardee came in and hit some big shots for us in the third, she had sat out with some foul trouble in the first half. Brunson did a nice job in the fourth quarter for us getting to that mid-range and hitting some of those mid-range shots and some of those foul shots.”
Eckert earned 12 total points and 10 boards while Pardee and Schmid each netted eight points in the victory.
South Kortright outscored Franklin, 15-7, in the fourth quarter to round out the win.
The Rams pressured Franklin’s Kayla Campbell and Marissa Campbell all game, often putting two defenders on Kayla as soon as she touched the ball.
Kayla recorded 12 points as the Purple Devils’ top scorer, but was clearly impacted by the tight coverage from the Rams.
“Kayla is one of the top players in the area,” Burroughs said. “We’re not going to stop her from scoring, we just wanted to make her work hard for what she got. Watching their last few games, Marissa had stepped up and hit some big shots the last few games for them, so we wanted to key in on them a little bit and make their possessions tough.”
Marissa finished the contest with eight points and no triples.
South Kortright hit five 3-pointers total as Emily Andersen (three points) joined Pardee and Schmid on conversions from beyond the arc. Franklin did not register any 3s.
The Rams concluded with 16 field goals and an 11-for-16 clip on free throws, while the Purple Devils made 11 field goals and went 7-for-14 from the charity stripe.
SK advances to the section final for the third time in the last four seasons. Last year, the Rams beat Franklin for the section title.
South Kortright (19-3) will meet fourth-seeded Stamford at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at Dewar Arena.
“We’ve been trying to build consistency all season and I think our balance is one of our keys that has us on this stage,” Burroughs said.
South Kortright 50, Franklin 29
Franklin…. 8 4 10 7 – 29
South Kortright…. 11 6 17 15 – 50
FRANKLIN: Marissa Campbell 3 2-4 8, Alyssa Nowhitney 2 1-2 5, Maddy Ackley 2 0-0 4, Kayla Campbell 4 4-8 12, Meredith Shivers 0 0-0 0, Paige Dutcher 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 11 7-14 29.
SOUTH KORTRIGHT: Emily Andersen 1 0-0 3, Carli Pardee 3 0-0 8, Lauren Schmid 2 2-2 8, Lacey Eckert 4 4-6 12, Azalyn Brunson 4 5-8 15, Sonia Reeves 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 16 11-16 50.
Three-point field goals: F 0; SK 5 (Pardee 2, Schmid 2, Andersen 1.)