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February 25, 2010

 

Marathon gets upset by Devils

Basketball

Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Marathon’s Ellena Holl prepares to shoot while being guarded by Katie Lupo of Moravia in Wednesday’s Class C tourney opener. Visiting Moravia was a 41-28 upset winner.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

MARATHON — It was a night of vindication for Moravia Central.
For the first time since the mid-1990’s, the Lady Blue Devils won a Section 4 basketball tournament game.
With an aggressive swarming defense and two players in double figures, 13th-seed Moravia posted a convincing 41-28 road victory over fourth-seed Marathon Central at McDonald Gymnasium Wednesday night.
The Blue Devils (8-11 overall) will travel to fifth-seed Greene Saturday. The Trojans (14-4) downed 12-seed Unatego (10-8) 53-23 in another first-round game.
Other Class C contests saw eighth-seed Oxford edge ninth-seed Walton 35-31, 14th-seed Sidney upset third-seed Union Springs 57-53, sixth-seed Odessa-Montour down 11th-seed Bainbridge-Guilford 52-42 and 10th-seed Newfield upset seventh-seed Harpursville 59-49.
“The girls really had something to prove to all those people, even at school, that told them they didn’t have a chance tonight,” Moravia coach John Crossgrove said. “They really wanted this game.
“It was the smartest game we played all season,” he added. “We knew what we had to do on defense. We knew we had to press and not get in foul trouble. We did that. On offense we executed our sets well and our transition game was good.”
“Moravia played a good game, no doubt about it,” Marathon coach Mike Reilly stated. “They outhustled us. They outrebounded us. They did everything better than we did.
“Teams with smaller, quicker guards have given us trouble all season long,” he continued. “They took us completely out of our game. We turned the ball over a lot, many of them were our own fault.”
Marathon (12-7) seemed to have the answers in the first quarter and used a 9-0 run in the final two minutes to take a 15-8 lead. After Maria Heffernan (12 points) gave Moravia an 8-6 lead with 3:40 left in the quarter, Arielle Pitcher tied the game 30 seconds later on a nice lay-in to spark the run.
After a good defensive stop, the Olympians got the ball back and called time-out. Samantha Courtney gave the home team an 11-8 lead with a 3-pointer from the left wing with 1:50 remaining in the quarter. Courtney netted two more points on an offensive put-back before Dakota Ripley’s short jumper with 10 second remaining gave Marathon the seven-point cushion.
The Blue Devils’ defense went to work in the second quarter. The lone Marathon basket came with 47 seconds left in the half when Ripley nailed a jumper from the top of the key for two points. Moravia outscored Marathon 13-2 in the quarter.
Arionna Foster started the run with a bucket. Meghan Ideman followed with a 3-pointer from the left elbow.
After a Blue Devil time-out, Hannah Mackey put the visitors in front for good with a trey from the right wing with 5:13 left in the half. Ideman and Heffernan added jumpers and a free throw by Melanie Doolittle completed the run with two minutes remaining in the half. Moravia took a 21-17 lead into the halftime locker room.
Courtney tried to jump-start the struggling Marathon offense with a 3-pointer to open the second half, Moravia responded with a 6-0 run to take at 27-20 lead.
The Olympians never got closer than four points the rest of the game. That came with 2:35 remaining in the third quarter. Courtney scored a lay-up in the paint and was fouled. The sophomore made the free throw to trim the advantage to 29-25.
Moravia entered the fourth quarter with a 31-25 lead and held Marathon to one free throw by Lindsay Peri with 6:56 to go. The Blue Devils scored 10 points in the final eight minutes, four coming on lay-up up dribble-penetration. Heffernan, Foster, Haley Potter and Doolittle found the lane open for drives to the rim.
The only other Olympians points in the quarter came on an offensive rebound by Kathryn Wickham with 40 seconds remaining to make the final score 41-28.
Courtney led Marathon with a game-high 13 points. Ripley had the best all-around game for the Olympians. She netted six points with five steals.
“Dakota did have one of her best games of the season,” Reilly said.
Heffernan led Moravia with 12 points, five steals and five assists. Mackey added 10 points, five rebounds and four assists. Ideman controlled the paint with 15 rebounds and eight points against a taller Marathon front-line.
Despite the loss, Reilly was pleased with the season overall.
“We did have some ups and downs, but we did a nice job overall,” he said. “We came a long way from five wins last season to 12 wins this season.”