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December 22, 2010

 

Marathon responds to Groton challenge

BasketballJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Groton’s Shelby Warner (21) tries to get off a shot against Marathon’s Sam Courtney (left) and Ellena Holl (right) in the second quarter of Tuesday’s IAC game. Marathon prevailed at home, 56-48.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

MARATHON — It was hardly a masterpiece, but it certainly was a nice step in the right direction for Marathon Central girls Tuesday night.
Samantha Courtney led the Lady Olympians to a 56-48 Interscholastic Athletic Conference Small School Division basketball victory over Groton at McDonald Gymnasium with a solid effort at both ends of the floor.
Junior center Courtney scored 24 points to go with 17 rebounds, four blocked shots and two steals as Marathon improved to 3-2 in league and overall play. The visiting Indians slipped to 3-3 with the setback.
“Most teams are going to play me with a box-and-one (defense),” Courtney said. “I may not get want I want, but I know I can get my teammates open and, when they are covered, I can do what I have to do to help my team.
“We know what we have to work on and we know our weaknesses,” she added. “We took advantage of what we are good at. We tried to put the weaknesses behind us and be a better team.”
At 6-foot-1, Courtney is a force inside but she can also hit the 3-pointers with a nice outside shot that makes her a tough person to guard.
“My versatility does help,” she acknowledged. “All my teammates know they need to be ready because they have just as much of an opportunity as I do. If I’m guarded, they are the ones that make the game go for us.”
Marathon also responded well after a halftime lead vanished in the third quarter, answering Groton’s gritty comeback.
“We have a great secondary break, if we run it right,” Marathon coach Mike Reilly said. “We’ll get either a lay-up, Sam up top or Ice (Emily Icenogle) on the wing. When we do that, we’re fine.
“We can run stuff when we take our time,” he continued. “When we get bored, the girls started trying something else and, well, we get in trouble. We just get in that funk sometimes. This still is just our fifth game, but we are coming along.”
MARATHON RACED to an early 8-2 lead with Ellena Holl netting two buckets while Margaret Thon and Courtney each connected once.
Groton didn’t panic and ran off nine unanswered points to take an 11-8 lead. Mallorie Murray (7 points, 9 rebounds) led the way with five points and Shelby Warner added four points. Warner would finish the night with a team high 13 points and rebounds. The quarter ended with Groton in front 13-12.
The Olympians came out strong to start the second quarter, scoring nine of the first 11 points to retake a 21-15 advantage with 4:40 left in the first half. It was a balanced effort with Icenogle, Holl, Courtney and Amanda Horton all contributing. The remaining time saw the teams trading points as the Olympians maintained a 29-24 cushion at the break.
Second half play began with another Marathon spurt. A bucket by Courtney and a steal-lay-up by Thon put the home team in front by 11.
Again, Groton settled down and began a rally. An 11-0 scoring spurt gave Groton a 35-33 lead in just a three-minute span. Allison Case (12 points) got the Indians to within two points. Warner made one-of-two free throws and Stacey Case gave the Indians the lead with a 3-pointer, but it was short-lived.
Courtney responded with a trey for the Olympians 13 seconds later to put Marathon back in front for good. She then hit a second 3-pointer as Marathon built a 41-37 advantage after three quarters.
A 10-0 run by the Olympians to start the fourth quarter really decided the outcome. Courtney started the run with an offensive put-back. Lindsay Peri (8 points, 6 rebounds) finished the run with a nice.
Groton tried to rally, but to no avail. In was a case of too many mistakes that led to the Indians’ setback.
“KYLE (HALL) WAS doing a nice job on Courtney, but she got in foul trouble,” Groton coach Jenn Case said. “We switched to our other defenses, but we just did not execute them well. It was not a good defensive game at all.
“On offense, we had too many unforced efforts,” she added. “We know how to control the ball and we did not do that tonight.”
Both teams will enjoy time off for Christmas. Groton will return to action at the Trumansburg Holiday Tournament Tuesday and Wednesday. Marathon will travel to Bainbridge-Guilford High School to face Whitney Point Tuesday in first round tourney action at 3:45 p.m.
— In the junior varsity prelim, Ruthanne Forehand scored 15 points as Groton improved to 6-0 with a 46-23 triumph. The Indians took a 14-3 lead through one quarter and never looked back. Tiffany James added eight points to the winning attack.
Alyssa Sliker netted 10 points for Marathon (3-2).

 

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