December 08, 2007


Double dose of Red Dragon success

Women unhappy but still unbeaten


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Jessica Laing scores two of her 17 points in unbeaten Cortland's 63-40 win over Buffalo State Friday.

Sports Editor

Though finishing up first semester basketball play unbeaten after capturing a sixth straight victory, SUNY Cortland women were not exactly overjoyed with this effort.
While the Red Dragons never trailed while posting a 63-40 victory over Buffalo State Friday night at Corey Gymnasium, this squad ranked 21st in the national among Division III schools did not exactly breeze to victory.
“It’s a win, and a 23-point win, but we don’t feel good about it,” said Coach Jeannette Yeoman after defending champion Cortland improved to 2-0 in SUNY Athletic Conference play. “Luckily, we have 19 more regular season games to work things out.”
Yeoman’s displeasure was displayed when she benched all five of her starters almost five minutes into the game, Cortland with a 10-7 lead at that juncture of the proceedings. The Red Dragons would build an 11-point first half lead, only to see Buffalo State pull to within 31-24 at the halftime break.
It was over the opening 10 minutes of the second half that Cortland put things together. The Red Dragons scored the first eight points of the stanza and out-scored the Bengals 22-6 by the midway point.
That built the 23-point lead that proved to be the final margin.
Sophomore forward Jessica Laing put together a steady double-double performance with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and was 3-for-5 shooting from 3-point range. It was the first time this season she has not scored more than 20 points in a game.
Red Dragon guard Kristin Ciccone added 10 points, while guard Maggie Byrne and forward Sara Cavanaugh chipped in with eight points apiece. The Red Dragons had a big edge at the free throw line, where they were 22-of-31 compared to Buffalo State’s 5-for-14.
“Tonight was not one of our better games. We weren’t doing what we needed to do,” said Laing, who then ran down a long list of Cortland miscues. “And they were taking advantage of what we were not doing.”
Buffalo State, now 1-1 in the conference and 3-4 overall, were led by guard Toya Parks and Center Shareese Hamer with 11 points apiece. They were responsible for the first 18 points scored by the Bengals in the game.
But fresh from a 20-point win over Pitt-Bradford earlier in the week, the Bengals could not keep up with the Red Dragons.
LAING HAD 10 points in the first half and Ciccone made 4-of-5 shots during the opening 20 minutes to help the Red Dragons forge ahead.
After the teams traded turnovers to open the second half, Ciccone fed forward Ali Canale for a basket and the Red Dragons began pulling away for keeps.
Laing converted a three-point play after driving to the basket and banking in a left-handed shot. Cavanaugh drove to the basket for two more points and Buffalo State called a quick timeout suddenly down 38-24.
That break in the action, nor an ankle injury that put senior Cavanaugh on the bench for a brief recovery period, could not slow down the Red Dragons. Laing connected on a 3-point shot, freshman Jennifer Polan contributed four points off the bench and Buffalo State began piling up fouls as Cortland pulled away.
Two Cavanaugh free throws built that 53-30 lead with 10:12 left to play, and Cortland coasted from there.
The final 23-point margin came despite Cortland reserves going scoreless over the final four minutes.
“We were just getting out-played, not doing the little things that make the offense run smoother,” said Yeoman of her first half angst.
“So when we don’t do those things, we’re going to struggle scoring,” she added. “We missed lay-ups, and I’m not happy with the 35 percent (shooting for the game). And a lot of it is we’re not doing the little things.”
Being the defending conference champion and being undefeated and being nationally ranked means the Red Dragons have to be aware that every team is gunning for them, too.
“Every game is going to get tougher and tougher and we have to be ready,” said Laing, Cortland now off until a Jan. 4 trip to Clarkson. “We have to pick it up more, pick it up more in games and pick it up more in practice.”


Taming Bengals good sign for Cortland men

Sports Editor

In the glow of victory, SUNY Cortland men’s basketball coach Tom Spanbauer pointed out the fact that most of his players have not been asked to respond in these pressure situations before.
That is what made this Friday night success so satisfying, as the host Red Dragons displayed their mettle in knocking off an acrobatic and athletic bunch of Buffalo State Bengals 77-73 at Corey Gymnasium.
That is why Spanbauer was able to declare of his team, now 2-0 in SUNY Athletic Conference play and 6-2 overall: “We took a big step forward as far as growing up.”
Part of growing up is absorbing blows.
The Bengals went on an 11-point first half spurt to build a double-digit lead, yet the Red Dragons responded and rallied and went into halftime ahead 40-35.
The Bengals erupted for 15 unanswered points in the second half to erase that halftime deficit and forge in front 50-42, and the Red Dragons shrugged off that damage. Consecutive 3-point shots made by freshman forward Ron Evans, junior forward Juan Miolan and senior guard Mark Schaller put Cortland back ahead for keeps.
All three of those players came off the bench for Coach Spanbauer, who praised the contributions of all nine Red Dragons who all put in considerable court time in the final game of the first semester.
“That’s one of the things this team realizes is that offensively we’ve got a lot of weapons and it’s going to be different guys stepping up on different nights,” said Spanbauer. “And a couple of guys came off the bench tonight and stepped up.”
That would be frosh Evans, the southpaw out of New Hartford who had his biggest outburst as a Red Dragon with 20 points — 11 of those coming while providing a first half offensive spark.
That would be Miolan, who scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half including a trio of timely 3-pointers. He also led Cortland with seven rebounds, the Red Dragons with a crucial 41-36 edge off the boards against a springy bunch of Buffalo State leapers.
Sophomore forward Paul Oliver added 11 pounds and six rebounds, junior forward Carson Niehoff eight points and six rebounds and freshman big man Chris Milke seven points and five rebounds in this well-balanced Cortland effort.
“It’s early in the season, but we can build from this. We’re only going to get better,” said Miolan, the Red Dragons now idle until a Jan. 4 non-conference game at Clarkson.




Porter goal in OT gives Golden Eagles first win

Matt Porter came up big when it counted for the Cortland-Homer hockey team Friday night.
The junior left wing scored the tying goal with 4:45 left in regulation and then ended the game with a tally three minutes into overtime as the Golden Eagles beat visiting Solvay 3-2. It was the first C-H win in three CNYSHL Division II West games this season, and the team is now 2-3 overall.
The Bearcats (1-2 league, 1-5 overall) drew first blood, Neal Purcell scoring 3:02 into the second period. The hosts tied the game 59 seconds later, as senior center Steve Stowell converted a feed down low from Porter, with junior defenseman Nate West also picking up an assist on the power-play score.
Solvay regained the lead just 1:53 later as Josh Ginestro scored, and it stayed 2-1 until Porter’s first goal, which came on the rebound of a shot from the left point by West on another power play and sent the game into overtime.
Porter’s game-winner, assisted by Stowell and (junior right wing) Paul Zimmerman, his linemates, came on another rebound play, Zimmerman getting control of the puck and carrying through the neutral zone before taking a shot, with Stowell and Porter both banging away at the rebound before the latter put it home.
“We struggled in the middle stanza, allowing the two goals, but came back strong in the third period and overtime,” Cortland-Homer coach Don Armstrong said. “Both goaltenders played very well with several point-blank saves, quite a few on second-chance rebounds.
“The first line of Porter, Stowell and Paul Zimmerman carried the freight on our offensive production, but everyone chipped in to shut down Solvay’s offense. Carl Zimmerman (sophomore center) also had a standout game, and along with our regular defensemen, (senior) Garrett Ordway filled in when (sophomore) Corey Gibbons couldn’t finish due to injury,” he added.
Golden Eagles junior goalie Brett Kash made 28 saves to 35 for the bearcats’ Joey Poppe as the hosts had a 38-30 shot advantage.
The Golden Eagles host Syracuse CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt at 7 p.m. Tuesday.




Dryden hands Groton 1st setback

DRYDEN — It was a battle to the end as two neighboring Interscholastic Athletic Conference rivals met in basketball action Friday night.
A Robbie Leviere basket helped Dryden High boys post a thrilling 60-58 win over previously undefeated Groton Central. The home team Purple Lions improved to 2-1 in IAC and overall play while Groton fell to 1-1, 3-1 overall with a make-up home game against Odessa-Montour this afternoon.
In other boys’ action, Trumansburg topped Marathon 64-44, Lansing dumped Moravia 38-21, Union Springs edged Elmira Heights Edison 42-39, Odessa-Montour stopped Southern Cayuga 69-51, Elmira Notre Dame beat Spencer-Van Etten 47-35, Waverly tripped Tioga 58-45, Candor clipped Newfield 74-63.
In girls action, Dryden doubled Groton 54-27, Trumansburg topped Marathon 63-47, Lansing downed Moravia 48-28, Newfield clipped Candor 49-42, Odessa-Montour stopped Southern Cayuga 53-37, Elmira Notre Dame pounded Spencer-Van Etten 66-22 and Union Springs beat Elmira Heights Edison 44-28.
Dryden 60, Groton 58: “We let it get away,” said Groton coach John Filzen. “It was a good game between two athletic teams. We needed to play with a little more intelligence.”
Groton jumped out to a 16-10 lead in the first quarter and led 27-22, but an extended halftime due to ceremonies honoring the Russ Kowalski family cause the Indians to lose their momentum.
Dryden took advantage of a flat quarter by the visitors and grabbed a 44-40 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
It was back and forth with the teams trading the lead down to the final minute when Leviere got the Lions the go-ahead points on a 15-foot jump shot.
Groton would tie the game and Dryden would retake the lead the rest of the way. A last set play with six seconds left by Groton did not yield a shot and Dryden celebrated the win.
Rob Solveson and Nick White set the pace for Dryden with 13 points each while Doug Bushnell netted 11 points, eight during the crucial third-quarter rally.
Ethan Tilebein led Groton with 23 points while Kyle Yunger scored 15 points and pulled down 19 rebounds.