February 15, 2014
Trojans upended in sectional start
Red Raiders spoil Homer’s home game
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Kailee Dimorier (21) of Homer gets the ball knocked away as she is double teamed by Fulton’s Sydney Gilmore (left) and Nicole Hansen (44) during Friday’s sectional contest. Visiting Fulton won, 37-33.
Too many missed opportunities came back to bite Homer Central girls in their first sectional appearance since the 2006-07 basketball season.
A big 3-pointer by Mallory Clark and a clinching free throw by Michaela Whiteman helped ninth-seeded visitor Fulton escape with a 37-33 Section 3 Class A first round victory over the eighth-seeded Trojans.
Fulton (7-11) will advance to a Tuesday night clash at top-seed Jamesville-DeWitt. Homer finishes the season at 8-11 — the school’s best season since that 7-13 2006-07 team — and played a sectional game on their home court for the first time since the 1998-99 season.
It was a game where both teams made more free throws than baskets.
Homer and Fulton each had 10 buckets, including one 3-pointer. Fulton took advantage of 32 trips to the charity stripe, making 16 of them. The Trojans only got 18 free throws, but did sink 12 of them, but 24 fouls they committed proved costly along with 19 turnovers.
“It was a good win, but we didn’t expect it to be easy,” Whiteman said after her Red Raiders prevailed. “We knew our press would help us to get going. We forced the turnovers and got our points from it. That helped us get into the game, so it did work out for us in the end.”
“The girls fought hard,” Fulton coach Derek Lyons said. “It wasn’t the type of game we expected we were going to play, but we adjusted throughout the game and made the plays we needed to make at the end to win the game.
“I’m proud of how my girls played,” he added. “Those Homer girls should be very proud too. They are a very tough bunch of kids. They are young and they are going to be tough for the next few years.”
“There is nothing for these girls to be ashamed of,” Homer coach Chris DiFulvio said. “Anything I can say about this group right now is less than what they really deserve because they are an amazing group.”
Clark got her only second-half points on her trey from the left corner with 6:01 left in the hard-fought, physical game to give Fulton a 33-27 lead. Two free throws by Hunter Hartranft gave the Red Raiders their biggest lead of the night at 35-27 with 3:21 to play. Those were the first points for either team after Clark’s 3-pointer.
Homer put one last rally together.
Trojan senior Lisa Sharpe hit a foul-line jumper and assisted on a lay-in by classmate Kailee Dimorier 30 seconds later. Homer had closed the gap to 35-31.
With both teams struggling to put the ball in the basket, Dimorier got another inside shot to fall with 51 seconds to play as the Trojans were within two points at 35-33.
Fulton called timeout to regroup. The Trojans fouled Whiteman with 26 seconds left and the junior hit the first free throw, but missed the second as Fulton led 36-33.
DiFulvio called a timeout to set up a play for the Trojans, but the ball never reached the basket. Homer was forced to foul again, but Nicole Hansen missed both free throws with 11.9 seconds to play.
DiFulvio tried to call one final timeout, but the officials did not see him. The Trojans gave the ball back to Fulton without a good shot attempt and Gilmore sealed the victory for the Red Raiders hitting one-of-two free throws with 1.9 seconds left.
Whiteman and Gilmore each netted eight points to lead Fulton.
Those final six minutes were typical of how the entire night went for Homer.
Fulton pressed as soon as Courtney Parker gave the visitors a 2-0 lead on a lay-up 14 seconds into the contest. the Trojans struggled to get the ball over the midcourt line and, when they did, a bad pass or violation would give the ball back to the Red Raiders.
The Fulton lead grew to 10-3 before Homer began chipping away. Hannah Casey hit her 30th 3-pointer of the season to get the Trojans to within 10-6, but Fulton maintained enough of an advantage to lead 14-9 by the end of the quarter.
A very physical second quarter saw bodies hitting the court on both sides and tempers started to flare. The Trojans took a brief 17-16 lead with 1:42 left in the halftime after Morgan Hollenbeck hit both ends of a one-and-one.
The only other points in that closing time frame were two free throws by Gilmore to give the Red Raiders an 18-17 advantage with one second left in the half. Homer scored eight points in the quarter and Fulton four, all coming from the foul line.
Homer ‘s only leads in the second half came at 19-8 on a running one-hander by Hollenbeck to open the second half scoring and a jumper by Sharpe for a 21-20 Trojan lead.
After Fulton took a 23-21 led, Madison Dimorier stole the ball and scored on a lay-up to tie the game at 23-23 for the Trojans. Homer never tied or led again.
Sharpe was that spark the Trojan needed in the second half as she scored all of her final-game five points trying to keep her team alive. The senior also pulled down seven rebounds and had three steals.
“We really never hit that big shot, but we stayed with it,” Sharpe said. “I am very proud of my team. I realized at halftime that this could be a my final game and I knew I had to step up for my team like they have been doing all season long. I wanted to make that shot or get the rebound. I wanted to do anything I could to try and get the win.
“I could not have asked for a better team to be on as a senior,” she added. “I look forward to coming back and see how they are doing. We are very young, but they are going to keep getting better and better. This year was just stepping stone to better things for my team. I’m glad a stuck with this team for four years. I lot of girls left and that’s why it’s just Kailee and me left as seniors. I would encourage anyone who wants to be part of a team to play with these girls and be part of something very special. I’m glad I have.”
Kailee Dimorier led the Trojans with her eight points and eight rebounds in her final Trojan game.
“Lisa and Kailee really helped us start something special,” DiFulvio said of his two seniors. “They were a big part of everything we accomplished. They were part of all that off-season work. They helped be part of a team that played a whole season without any real injuries.They were key to that as was our trainer Adam Long who designed our training program.
“We really have a lot of people, too many to mention, that are behind the scenes and deserve a lot of credit for the direction the program is going,” he added.”
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