February 01 , 2007


Plenty of smiles for Purple Tigers

Frosh Tennant ignites romp over Homer


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Cortland High’s Courtney Tennant fires a jumper over Ashley Brown (30) and Stephanie Hartquist (21) of Homer Central last night at Shafer Gym. Tennant scored 15 points in 71-40 Purple Tigers victory.

Staff Writer

“Coach gave me a shot and put me in during the first quarter for the first time this season,” Courtney Tennant was saying Wednesday night as the last vestiges of the Shafer Gym crowd trickled out after the latest Cortland High-Homer Central girls’ basketball game.
“I stepped up, my nerves going crazy, and I hope I impressed him.”
The coach in question, Dick Penoyer, smiled when told what Tennant had said. Of course, the Purple Tigers head man had a lot to smile about in the wake of his team’s 71-40 romp over their neighbors to the north.
“Courtney Tennant — what a game she had, a freshman coming out and playing that much for the first time,” Penoyer said of his 6-0 forward, who scored 15 points (having totaled 30 in her first 14 games this season) and 10 rebounds in the rout.
 “All of the kids played well, really. We’re down to nine players, but I wasn’t concerned,” he added, Fawn Lolar and Emily VanGorder both done for the year with a non-basketball injury and illness, respectively. “The other kids will be getting a lot of playing time. They play well every day in practice, and will be able to do it in games, too.
“We set the goal, recently, to score 15 points a quarter. We haven’t played well in the last four or five games, but tonight we did a much better job of moving the ball and shooting. They did the things they’d been practicing. All of the kids seemed to have more confidence tonight.”
The opposite was true of Homer, as Coach Brenda Nobles saw it. “We didn’t come out with the intensity we needed,” she said quietly. “I think we were a little intimidated by Cortland. We haven’t had any success against them in so long.
“We only had three players score, and we have to get points from more kids than that to be successful,” she added. “Tennant hurt us badly. It started when she came in for Natalie Khazzaka (who was hit hard while attempting a 3-point shot with 3:23 left in the first quarter and had to leave the game temporarily) and hit all three free throws. She played a really nice game all-around.”
Junior point guard Shannon Finucane led Cortland, which improved to 10-4 in OHSL Freedom Division play and 13-5 overall, with 18 points, while junior forward Amanda Lawlor added 17.
Junior guard Stephanie Hartquist led all scorers with 20 points for the Trojans (now 5-7 in the league and 6-10 overall), while senior center Hillary Simon added 19 and moved into fourth place on the all-time Homer scoring list with 608 points.
While Cortland was in control after three quarters with a 52-34 lead, it was Finucane who pushed the game in the direction of a total blowout, knocking down a trio of 3-pointers to start the fourth as the hosts scored the first 13 points of the stanza.
“I hasn’t been shooting at all, then I shot one up and it went in,” CHS’s scoring leader said with a smile. “I just wanted to keep shooting. The big key in this game was Courtney stepping in for Fawn. She had some big shots in the game and played good defense on Hillary, helping the team.
“Everyone is stepping it up; Kim Hall, Alena Turturro and Tiffany Griffin all played well, too. Homer had beaten Mexico after we lost to that same team, which was a little bit of a bruise, but we didn’t put our heads down,” added Finucane. “We just pushed forward and made the best of what we have. That loss to Mexico was our first game without Fawn. I’d like to play them again.”
“My teammates found me underneath, and I tried to post up as much as I could,” Tennant said of her big game. “Shannon is always telling me to get big, and coach has told us in practice that all the rookies had to step up with the injuries and sickness. We had a couple of rough spots, but now we’re more focused and back on line.”
“I didn’t think that it would be any easier for us with Fawn out,” Nobles said. “She’s a good player, but Cortland’s a good team, with a lot of good players. They’re still going to win a lot of games. I thought Finucane had a good game too, and her threes in the fourth were big. Hillary had a monster game for us, and Stephanie kept us in the game in the first half with 15 points.”
Finucane also had eight assists and five steals in the game, while Lawlor and Deanna Bishop complemented Tennant’s board work with eight rebounds apiece as Cortland had a 36-26 advantage in that category. Simon led Homer with eight boards.
Simon scored the first basket of the game before Cortland scored the next six points to take the lead for good. The hosts led 20-11 after the first quarter and took a 37-24 lead into intermission. The closest the Trojans got thereafter was nine, at 37-28 as Simon and Hartquist had the first two baskets in the third quarter.
Nobles’ observation about her team’s lack of success against Cortland is borne out by the fact that Penoyer has compiled a 14-1 record against the Trojans in his six seasons as CHS’s head coach. Wednesday’s win was his 13th in a row in the rivalry, the last Homer victory coming early in the 2001-02 season.
The game began with a moment of silence for Army Pfc. Shawn Falter of Homer, who gave his life for his country in Iraq and whose funeral took place Wednesday. The national anthem followed.
HOMER JVs scored a 29-22 victory over the Purple Tigers to improve to 3-12, led by Ashley Crossway’s 14 points and nine from Jessica Rigg. Cortland, now 2-14, got nine points from Caitlin Cottone.
Both Cortland squads are back in action Tuesday against Phoenix in the regular-season home finale, the JV game slated for a 6 p.m. tipoff. Homer’s squads host Fulton on Friday, the JVs getting underway at 5:30 p.m.


McGraw boys find way to pull away from Lions

While the final result met with his approval, McGraw Central boys’ basketball coach Ben Albright wasn’t too pleased with the way his team got there.
The Eagles trailed host Cincinnatus 11-9 after one quarter, rallied for a 24-22 halftime lead and went from there to score a 48-40 Central Counties League victory.
Host Brookfield whipped DeRuyter 79-43 in another league game, while Stockbridge Valley beat host Madison 58-48. In a Center State Conference girls’ crossover game, visiting Cincinnatus from Division 4 fell to Division 2 Sherburne-Earlville 77-23.
McGraw 48, Cincinnatus 40: “We played pretty good defense throughout, but our problem in the first half was that we weren’t patent offensively. They packed in a tight 2-3 zone, and we’d used 10 seconds and shoot from outside instead of working to get inside and driving to the basket. We’re capable of hitting from the outside, but I like to see_us go to the basket and get teams in foul trouble.
“We talked at halftime about swinging the ball around the outside and being patent, and we were able to get some holes for easier shots and get to the basket.”
The Eagles, now 5-6 in league play and 8-8 overall, outscored their hosts 14-7 to take a 38-29 lead into the fourth and were in control thereafter. Evan Emery led the way with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Ryan Russell had 11 points and also had 12 rebounds. All told, McGraw out-boarded Cincy 35-23.
The Red Lions (2-7 league, 4-11 overall) were led by Cameron Blanchard with a game-high 20 points.
Cincinnatus won the JV game,_47-19.
The Eagles host Madison Friday on their Senior Night, while on_the same night the Red Lions_visit DeRuyter on the Rockets’ Senior Night.
Brookfield 79, DeRuyter 43: After breaking out to an early lead, the Rockets, now 2-8 in league play and 2-15 overall, saw the host Beavers explode for a 26-14 lead after one quarter from which they never looked back It was 42-22 Brookfield at halftime, and the_winners, (9-1 league, 15-2 overall) carried a 65-30 lead into the fourth quarter.
DeRuyter coach Kim Brown felt that a key factor in the game was the fact that Brandon McClure picked up his second foul late in the first quarter. “As Dustin’s coach, I felt he got picked on,” Brown said. “His athleticism allows him to do things on the floor that others can’t do. Defensively he blocks shots from all different angles, but last night he was penalized for his ability. He is a great equalizer for us if opponents get into the lane; however, without his ability on the floor we seemed to become stagnant.
“Give Brookfield credit. We threw several defenses, and they continued to make shots, If I were to guess, I would have to say that they made more than 60 percent of their shots. It’s hard to beat teams that shoot that well.”
Brown also noted that DeRuyter only shot two free throws through the first three quarters to 20 for Brookfield. “We were aggressive for the most part offensively,” he said. “We just didn’t get rewarded for our efforts. By no means are we 36 points worse than Brookfield. Unfortunately, we were dealt those circumstances.”
Brandon Davies led five Beavers in double figures with 18 points and also had 11 assists. Dusty Thall added 16, while Dan Plows added 13, Brandon Cook 11 and Joe Bishop 10. Brandon Meacham had 14 points and Jacob Newton 13 for DeRuyter.
Sherburne-Earlville 77, Cincinnatus 23: The hosts rolled to a 25-6 lead after one quarter and never looked back as five players scored in double figures, led by Erin Dowdall with 15 points. Karli Harris added 14 for the winners (13-4 overall), while Samantha Crandall had 11 and Adrienne Cross and Danielle Greene 10 apiece. Kim Wehner paced Cincy (1-14) with eight points, while MacKenzie Heath had nine rebounds. Danielle Mulhern and Michele McUmber had seven caroms apiece as S-E had a 39-32 rebounding advantage.
“We played a rough game against an outstanding team,” Red Lions coach Katy Wagner said. “The ladies passed the ball well, Savannah Ward having seven assists.”
Cincy hosts Hamilton Friday in a CSC Division 4 contest.


Dryden takes care of business on mats

DRYDEN — Dryden Central boys used the early momentum of two early forfeits and four pins to build a big lead and rolled to a 48-28 Interscholastic Athletic Conference wrestling win over visiting Odessa-Montour Wednesday.
In other IAC action, Candor crushed Elmira Notre Dame 60-12.
“I told the kids right before the match that Odessa came to wrestle and to not take them lightly,” said Dryden coach Larry Hinkle. “They did as I asked,”
The match started at 215 pounds and Tony Clarke put the Purple Lions (4-4 IAC, 5-12 overall) on the board quickly by pinning Chris Hoffman in 50 seconds. Casey Marquis (103) and James Gleason (112) received forfeits as Dryden increased its advantage to 18-0.
Odessa-Montour received a forfeit at 119, but Dryden answered with three more pins and a 36-6 lead. Josh Scott pinned Wyatt Bowen at the 1:40 mark of their bout at 125, Anthony Jerome (130) and Levi Relyea (135) followed by each sticking their O-M opponent in 35 seconds.
The visitors narrowed the gap to 36-24 with two matches remaining, but senior Rex Hollenbeck sealed the Purple Lion victory at 160 pounds by pinning Jared Worwell at the 3:44 mark.
Bryan Pyle (171) got the final Purple Lion points with a fall in 40 seconds.
“If we were to give a coach’s award this evening, it would go to Levi Relyea,” said Hinkle. “Levi has been fighting a cold, but wanted to wrestle. As usual, he really came through for us. This eighth-grader is really going to go places. We_are always impressed with his_performance.” 
“Rex Hollenbeck looked the best that he has all year,” Hinkle continued. “He was just putting one move after another to get his wins. Freshman Josh Scott hit his kid with a textbook headlock to secure his win and Anthony Jerome did what he does best-WIN!”
Dryden will return to IAC action Friday as the Purple Lions host Groton at 7 p.m. It will be Senior Night for the Purple Lion matmen.