February 16, 2013
Groton falls in title tilt
Tioga gals roll in ‘Small’ final
DRYDEN – Drawing on the experience of four straight trips to the Interscholastic Athletic Conference Overall Small School Championship basketball game, Tioga Central girls made short work of Groton Central on Friday at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
Fifth-year varsity player Callie Patsellis scored a game-high 16 points, including four 3-pointers, as the South Division champion rolled to a 50-20 victory over the North Division champions.
It was the third overall title in four years for the Tioga County powerhouse who defeated Southern Cayuga in 2010, Moravia in 2011 and now Groton. Marathon derailed the Tioga Express last season.
“We hit a lot of threes early, that’s all we shot,” Tioga coach Joe Robinson said. “If anything, that made them come out on us and that allowed us to either drive to the basket or pass the ball inside to our forwards. The hot start certainly helped.
“I think this title was expected of them,” he added. “This group won the JV Championship as freshmen and again as sophomores. They have been here in the title game as juniors and seniors. We didn’t get by Marathon last year so they were hungrier for it this year.”
As both teams struggled in the first couple of minutes, it was Groton (12-5) who took a 2-0 lead on a steal and full-court drive by Ruthanne Forehand. Those two points with 6:16 left in the first quarter by the senior would be her only two points of the night. Tioga (15-4) shutdown the Indians’ top scorer who averaged 12.2 points/game coming into the championship contest.
Patsellis hit her first 3-pointer one minute later, but the senior was just heating up.
Ironically, Groton senior Kylene Hall dropped in an offensive rebound with five minutes left in the quarter for a 4-3 Indians lead. Those were her only points of the night as well.
“I did bring Callie (Patsellis) up in eighth grade,” Robinson said. “She played some games in the IAC tournament and in sectionals. She has a lot of experience under her belt. She even had 10 or 12 points in the state finals and a freshman.”
Tioga senior Hannah Manwaring hit back-to-back treys in a 25-second span as the Tigers took a 9-4 lead and the rout was on. Patsellis buried a 3-pointer from the left elbow and Emily Schweiger got two on an offensive putback as Tioga enjoyed a 14-4 lead after the first quarter.
“Tioga had a great shooting percentage in the first quarter, in fact, the first half,” Groton coach Jen Case said. “You could see why they average 40 percent from the 3-point line. A lot of credit goes to them because they play great basketball.
“They have been in four straight years and that does help,” she added. “Our program has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Tioga has that big-game experience and we don’t. That leads to playing with poise and confidence. This is something that we can learn from for years to come.”
The Tigers opened the second quarter with an 11-0 run. Schweiger bucket began the run and Patsellis drilled her third trey. Manwaring worked in the paint for two more baskets for the 21-point cushion with 5:22 left in the first half.
Jenna Zimmer stopped the run with a free throw and teammate Steffanie Preston made one of two tosses from the foul line as well.
Tioga responded with a 3-ball by Patsellis and a lay-up by Siera Beebe to reach the 30-point mark.
Robinson was now rotating his nine-player roster more liberally to keep fresh leg on the longer, wider court.
“This court is so big and so long that players are tired by the middle of the first quarter,” Robinson said. “It really is a big impact on the game. You could tell everyone was tired by the end of the second quarter. The whistle wasn’t even blowing by they were headed down the court because it was taking longer to get there.”
By the time, Tiffany James got Groton two points off an offensive rebound with 16 seconds left in the half, Tioga had a 30-12 cushion.
“We really rushed our shot on offense,” Case said. “The pace of the game kept getting faster and faster. That played right into what Tioga wanted. The court is longer and once we got the one shot it wasn’t always our strongest shot. We just were not disciplined enough to know when to slow down the pace and give everyone a breather. We were a little out of control.”
The second half saw Groton continue to struggle offensively, but the Indians were limiting Tioga to more one-shot opportunity by grabbing the first rebound off the missed shot. The Indians just could not into the deficit. The Tigers scored 10 points in each quarter of the second half. The Indians just four points each quarter.
Manwaring finished with 14 points for Tioga, who actually had its five JV post-season call-ups on the floor in the final minute of play.
Preston and Zimmer led Groton offensively with five points each.
Groton has just a few days to regroup. The Indians are the seventh-seed in the Section 4, Class C Tournament and will host 10th-seed Bainbridge-Guilford Tuesday at 7 p.m. on the Richard Court Gymnasium hardwood.
“One of our accomplishments was to get a home sectional game,” Case said. “I think we will bounce back. The girls are excited about being home for a sectional game. We will focus on that and focus on moving on through sectionals.”
In the Boys’ Overall Small School title game, North Division Champion Moravia picked up its third title in four years with a 55-51 victory over South Division champion Odessa-Montour.
The Blue Devils (15-2) overcame a 30-25 halftime deficit with 20 points in the third quarter to take a 45-40 lead that they would never surrender again.
Odessa-Montour (14-4) did close to within two points in the final minute, but Chase Walker sank two free throws to seal the victory.
Walker scored 14 points to lead the Blue Devils’ offense, Chandler Benson and Dylan Powers each netted 12 points while Jared Lyon added 10 points to the winning attack.
Morgan Shutter led Odessa-Montour with a game-high 18 points.
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