December 9, 2006


Seventh straight Dragons triumph


Photos by Bob Ellis/staff photographer
SUNY Cortland freshman Jessica Laing drives around Ali Sharpe during Friday’s 83-60 win over Nazareth. Laing had 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Red Dragons. BOTTOM: Sara Cavanaugh (23) of SUNY Cortland puts up a shot over Stephanie Bowens of Nazareth during her 32-point outburst Friday.

It’s not that SUNY Cortland junior Sara Cavanaugh has struggled all that much this basketball season.
The 6-foot forward came into last night’s non-conference contest with Nazareth College averaging a respectable 10.4 points per game.
But she had yet to have an offensive explosion like this through the opening seven games, Cavanaugh erupting for a season-high 32 points as the Red Dragons rolled to an 83-60 victory on their Corey Gymnasium home floor Friday night.
It was the seventh consecutive victory for Cortland following a season-opening tournament loss. The Red Dragons have also won 28 consecutive games at Corey Gymnasium dating back to the 2003-04 season.
This was also the last game of the first semester for Coach Jeannette Yeoman’s streaking squad, Cortland (7-1) not slated to return to the court until a Jan. 5 trip to Elmira College.
Cavanaugh scored 23 of her 32 points in the opening half, when the Red Dragons took a 46-32 lead while shooting 41 percent from the floor. She made nine of her first 11 shots, including a handful of 3-point long-range connections, over those opening 20 minutes of play.
Cavanaugh finished 12-of-16 from the floor and 6-of-9 from beyond the 3-point arc. Those six treys were a career best at Cortland, while she ended up a bucket shy of her previous best offensive outing of 34 points in a win over Geneseo last season.
A graduate from Hastings-on-Hudson High School who was the second leading Red Dragons scorer with a 13.3 scoring average a year ago, Cavanaugh also grabbed seven rebounds.
Red Dragon freshman forward Jessica Laing finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in the victory. Sophomore point guard Maggie Byrne finished with 12 points.
Freshman Whitney Smith came off the bench to lead the visiting Golden Flyers (2-4) with 19 points. Senior Sarah Homer added 11 points, senior Stephanie Bowens registered 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds and senior Kelly Dunne dished out six assists.
Nazareth led 2-0 just 24 seconds into the game, but Cavanaugh scored the next five points and Cortland never trailed again. The Red Dragons lead was as much as 16 points in the first half, 14 at halftime and in double figures the entire second half.
Cavanaugh finished six points short of the school single-game scoring record of 38 points set by Sarah Bouley at Ithaca in the 1993-94 season. Laing’s points and rebounds ‘double-double’ is her seventh in eight collegiate games.
Cortland free throw shooting was another plus in the victory, going 17-of-21 from the line. And while pulling away in the second half, Nazareth shot just 23 percent from the floor.



Trojans show winning touch

It has been a long time since Homer Central girls enjoyed a winning streak in basketball.
The last time was during the 2001-02 season, the first year Cris Colasurdo coached the Trojans to a 7-13 overall record. Homer won three straight games early in the season and followed up with a two-game winning streak late in January during the senior year of players like Brynne Hartnett, Annie Patterson and Kate McNerney.
Fast forward to the current season.
The Trojans are on a two-game winning streak after Hillary Simon enjoyed a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds during a 42-31 OHSL Freedom Division win over visiting East Syracuse-Minoa Friday. In fact, at 3-2 overall (2-0 in division play), Homer is one win short of matching the total number of wins from the 2002-03 through 2005-06 seasons combined
“Tonight was an excellent team effort,” said Homer coach Brenda Nobles. “Everyone did well when they were in the game. Even those who did not score, played good defense, grabbed a rebound or did something that contributed to this win. That was good to see.”
Homer took a 12-9 lead through the first quarter, but ES-M (1-2)  came back to tie the score at 18-18 by halftime. The Spartans scratched out a 26-25 advantage through three quarters before the Trojans took charge in the fourth quarter. Homer scored 17 points in the final eight minutes of play and pulled away for the victory.
“We handled the (ES-M) press and made good passes throughout the game,” said Nobles. “We were strong on the boards and we played good defense throughout the game.”
Stephanie Hartquist and Ashley Brown each added 11 points to the Homer attack. Hartquist also had seven rebounds and three steals while Brown had three assists. Vickie Smith pulled down seven rebounds for the Trojans while Meghan Finn pulled down five caroms.
Arnela Mesic led East Syracuse-Mioa with 13 points with Alecia Shaffer adding 11 points.
Homer will return to action Tuesday when the Trojans travel to Christian Brothers Academy for Freedom Division action. JV play will tip-off at 6 p.m.
IN JV PLAY, an ill and battered Homer squad found itself in a 14-0 hole after the first quarter and was never able to dig out of that initial deficit during a 35-17 loss to ES-M Friday.
“We have girls hurt and one played after being sick during the week,” said Homer coach Marv Zimmerman. “It was not a good night.”
Ashley Crossway led the Homer (0-3 overall) with seven points. Medler and Buckley each netted 10 points for ES-M.