February 18, 2008


Cavanaugh shoots down Dragons’ scoring record


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
SUNY Cortland’s Sara Cavanaugh (23) eyes the basket in the second half against SUNYIT Saturday at Corey Gym. The senior became the college’s all-time scoring leader in 77-64 victory.

Sports Editor

Among those offering post-game congratulations to new all-time career scoring leader Sara Cavanaugh, SUNY Cortland President Erik Bitterbaum asked an innocent question.
Bitterbaum wanted to know if the senior forward was well aware that the 3-pointer she made some six and a half minutes into the opening half of Saturday afternoon’s 77-64 women’s basketball win over SUNY Institute of Technology was indeed the record-setting shot.
“Oh yes,” smiled the senior forward with a giggle.
Cavanaugh was not trying to make too much of this pursuit to overtake the school record of 1,424 points scored by Kiki Seago, who excelled for the Red Dragons from 1989-93. But she felt the pressure during this quest, especially earlier in the week when a nine-point performance at Keuka College — with Seago in attendance — left Cavanaugh five points shy of the record.
So it was almost with relief when she made back-to-back 3-point shots in the early going at Corey Gymnasium to finally secure the record. That was part of a 17-point, 11-rebound effort by Cavanaugh that helped the Red Dragons get past the SUNYIT Wildcats.
“Yeah, there was a little pressure in the last couple of games,” admitted Cavanaugh, the lithe six-foot forward who brought a knack for scoring to college following a stellar scholastic career at Hastings High School.
“Anyone has to have it in their head when you’re trying to break a great record set by a great person,” said Cavanaugh. “I was trying not to know how many points I needed and then I saw that it was 14 when I read an inter-net article and that was it.”
This sports management major from Hastings-on-Hudson now has 1,436 points for the Red Dragons, who are 18-4 overall with three games left in the regular season before heading into the SUNY Athletic Conference playoffs as the defending champions. She has made quite an impact since for the Red Dragons with her shot blocking and rebounding with her ability to score points inside or from long range. Her eight 3-pointers made in a game at Geneseo last year is a school record.
Cavanaugh was a second team SUNYAC all-star who averaged 13.0 points and 5.2 rebounds as a freshman. She was a first team SUNYAC all-star who averaged 13.3 points and 8.7 rebounds as a sophomore. She was the SUNYAC Player of the Year while averaging 14.8 points and 7.3 rebounds as a junior.
And during her career at Cortland, the Red Dragons have 86 wins against a mere 19 losses. That success is why Cavanaugh feels this individual accomplishment is really a team honor.
“I’ve played with some great players for four years, so it’s not an individual thing. You have to give credit to all the people I’ve played with,” Cavanaugh said. “I’m happy to break the record and I have to thank all the players I’ve played with.”
“OBVIOUSLY SHE IS a great player and now she’s the all-time scoring leader. She showed some nerves against Keuka, so it was good to get this out of the way so she could just play,” said Cortland coach Jeannette Yeoman. “We got a great game out of her tonight, which is a good sign heading into the end of the regular season and then the playoffs. She showed leadership and poise, and that’s what we need out of our senior.”
Cortland needed Cavanaugh and more to finally shake free of a determined SUNYIT squad that had been embarrassed in a 103-62 loss to the Red Dragons in Utica last month. Coach Jessica Skelton had just eight players on hand but got the most out of them all, including getting 29 points off the bench.
“We mentioned that,” said Coach Yeoman of possible Cortland overconfidence because of that earlier rout. “Just because you do it the first time doesn’t mean you’re going to do it the second time.”
The Wildcats (3-10 SUNYAC, 8-13 overall) would make a dozen 3-point shots to stay in the game, Stacey Phelps coming off the bench to make 6-of-13 treys while leading the visitors with 18 points. Guard Jennifer Vergis added 13 points.
Cortland — which got 18 points and 17 rebounds from Jessica Laing, 11 points and seven assists from guard Kristin Ciccone and 10 points and eight rebounds from forward Ali Canale — seemed on the verge of pulling away from the Wildcats on a couple of occasions. But the Red Dragon lead was only 37-34 at halftime and with 11:18 left to play — after Annmarie Spaulding hit a 3-pointer and Phelps buried back-to-back bombs — their lead was a perilous 55-52.
CORTLAND WENT ON a decisive 13-4 run over the next six minutes to pull away for keeps. Cavanaugh scored nine of those points and added an assist during that stretch.
Laing, Canale and Amanda Lustig made six straight free throws to hike the lead to 74-60 with 2:33 left and allow the home crowd folks — part of a “Think Pink” occasion to heighten breast cancer awareness — to finally breathe easy.
“We’ve got to play hard,” said a disappointed Yeoman afterwards, Cortland to host Elmira College in a 7 p.m. non-league game before returning its attention to conference pursuits. “That has been the situation all year, we haven’t played hard for 40 minutes.”




Cortland’s Morehouse takes title

PHILADELPHIA — Josh Morehouse led three Cortland High wrestlers into the Section 3 Class A Tournament finals, but the Purple Tiger junior was the only champion crowned Saturday at Indian River High School.
Morehouse was the second-seed and went 3-0 on the day, including a 12-5 decision over top-seed D.J. Ingham from Fulton in the 215-pound weight class. He improves to 34-5 on the season, with 19 pins.
As a team, Cortland High placed fifth with 139.5 points and will send nine wrestlers to the Division I Tournament Friday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. The top six wrestlers in each weight class advance along with the top six Class AA wrestlers.
Homer Central had no wrestlers placed in the top-four at the Section 3 Class B Tournament at Sherburne-Earlville High School to advance to the Division II Tournament at C-NS this Saturday. The top four Class B-C-D wrestlers are moving on. The Trojans were 10th in the team standings with 40 points while Phoenix took top honors with 256 points.
Groton Central will send six wrestlers to the Section 4 Division II Tournament after the Class D Tournament at Delhi. The Indians placed ninth in the team standings with 66 points. Harpursville was the team champion with 166 points.
FOR CORTLAND, Morehouse reached the championship match with a pin over Brian Hoffman of New Hartford in 42 seconds in the quarterfinals and he followed with a 13-4 major decision semifinal victory over Josh Watson of Indian River.
Second-seed Dan Foster (40-2) was 2-1, but lost a 9-1 major decision to Fulton’s Matt Bogardus in the 160-pound championship match.
Fourth-seed Coty Cute (39-4) also went 2-1 on the day with a 3-1 overtime decision to upset 171-pound top-seed Marc Giordano of New Hartford in the semifinals before losing by fall in overtime to second-seed Collin Toney of Mexico in the finals.
Eric Reisweber (119, 23-15), Barry Kinney (130, 33-12), A.J. Meldrim (140, 30-10) and Brandon Fitzgerald (152, 34-7) each went 3-1 to take third-place honors while Corby Reynolds (26-13) was 2-2 to claim fourth-place at 145. Garret Morse (15-19) took sixth-place at 125 to advance to the Division I Tournament.
Barklee Sanders (103) and Anthony Stento (112) also competed for Cortland High Saturday.




Shaw state champ

Cortland’s Robert Shaw came through to capture the New York State Elks Club Hoop Shoot basketball championship on Saturday.
Regional champions from throughout the state were on hand at the Homer Junior High School to compete in the free throw shooting contest, as Homer Elks Lodge 2506 played host to the annual event.
Shaw swished 20-of-25 free throws to win the boys’ 12-13 age group, beating three other competitors. With that victory, Shaw advances to the Tri-State Regional being held in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Saturday, March 29. New York State, New Jersey and Pennsylvania champions will contest for top honors then.
Prior to this competition, Shaw won local, district and regional events.
Cortland’s Maggie Brown was also in the state finals, competing in the girls’12-13 age group. Brown, the leading scorer for the Cortland High junior varsity team this past season, finished fourth.




Dragons have to be roadies

SUNY Cortland men could not pull off the upset needed to earn a home game for the upcoming conference hockey playoffs.
The Red Dragons were blanked 3-0 by visiting Oswego Saturday night — including going scoreless in nine power play opportunities — to finish up regular season play in fifth place in the SUNY Athletic Conference final standings.
Senior goalie Ryan Scott turned away 37 Cortland shots for Oswego, the defending NCAA Division III national champions who are currently ranked 12th in the country.
Cortland finishes 6-8-2 in the conference, a point behind fourth place Potsdam. The Red Dragons (11-11-3 overall) will now travel to fourth seed Potsdam (9-12-4) on Tuesday in a 7 p.m. quarterfinal round playoff game.
Had Cortland upset Oswego, it would have been able to host the game at Alumni Arena.
Sixth seed Buffalo State (10-11-4) will visit third seed Fredonia (14-8-3) in the other quarterfinal round game Tuesday. Regular season champion Plattsburgh (21-4) and second seed Oswego (17-5-2) have byes and will be semifinal hosts.
Owego held a slim 39-37 edge in shots taken, as Cortland junior goalie Mike Mistretta turned aside 36 shots.
After a scoreless first period, Oswego freshman Joe Hall scored what what proved to be the game-winner at 3:03 of the second period. Oswego sophomore Brad Dormiedy possessed the puck after a Cortland turnover in its zone, skated in on Mistretta and a fed a pass to the right side of the net where Hall lifted a wrist shot for his sixth goal of the season.
After the Lakers killed off a two-man Cortland advantage midway through the period, Peter Magagna added a goal at 18:10 on a rebound for a 2-0 lead.
Tony DiNunzio completed the scoring at 17:11 of the third period with the Lakers skating with a two-man advantage after a wild scrum at the 16:41 mark resulted in eight penalties for 48 minutes.
CORTLAND WOMEN were out-shot 59-11 and dropped a 5-0 outing to RIT in Saturday’s ECAC West Division contest in Rochester.




Panther balance prevails

DRYDEN — An attack that featured five players scoring at least 14 points was enough for the Topkins Cortland Community College men’s basketball team to top North Country CC Saturday, 100-90.
The non-conference win improves TC3 to 16-9 overall and 12-8 in Region III play. North Country falls to 11-15 overall and 7-15 in regional play.
TC3 trailed by 11 points late in the first half when a comeback, triggered by an Adam Prue 3-pointer, rallied the hosts. Chris Garcia game the Panthers their first lead at 43-41 on a jump shot with 42 seconds to go in the period, the North Country went into the break up 46-44 on a late 3-point shot.
TC3 trailed 54-44 two minutes into the second half when coach David Stevenson used a timeout to settle the Panthers down. An Eddie Mitchell lay-up and a pair of Sean Anderson free throws pulled the team within six.
The margin held above five points until the clock read 14:29 left when Owen Mann connected from behind the arc to pull TC3 within five at 60-55. The basket sparked a 7-0 run that pulled the home team within one, and after North Country scored a two-pointer, Garcia answered with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 62-62 with 13:05 left to play.
The Saints responded with a run of their own, scoring the next six points.
The Panthers finally regained the lead with 9:52 to play on a three-pointer by Prue, making the score 73-72. It proved to be a milestone basket, as TC3 never relinquished the lead, pushing it to 10 points in the final minute of play.
Garcia had a season-high 26 points to go with four assists and four steals. Mann had his sixth double-double of the season, scoring 20 points while grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds. Mitchell poured in 19 points while dishing out five assists and Prue scored 15 points and had four assists. Anderson finished with 14 points, four assists and four steals.