Lady Billies sweep the series

By JEREMY IZZIO

OBSERVER Sports Reporter

The Dunkirk Lady Marauders (1-11, 0-7) came out of the gate and jumped out to a 13-12 lead after one quarter Thursday, but in the end, it was the Fredonia Lady Hillbillies (11-2, 9-1) who were able to overcome adversity to come away with a 61-37 win in a CCAA West I girls basketball matchup.

“I thought a lot of different girls stepped up and did a lot of great things,” Fredonia coach Carol Zirkle said. “If someone is having an off night and someone else is stepping up and scoring that’s going to make your team more successful.”

“I’m always proud of these girls after every single game because they try, and do, and give everything they have,” Dunkirk coach Sarah Burnett said. “Obviously we aren’t as quick, athletic and talented as the Fredonia team we went up against, but I’m always pleased with their effort in every game.”

Less than two minutes into the contest, Fredonia’s standout guard Morgan Genovese went down with a right-ankle injury and had to be helped off the floor. At that point, the Lady Hillbillies held a 4-0 lead, but the wind was quickly taken out of their sails.

“My heart dropped at that moment,” Zirkle said. “This team has a lot of heart and they play with a lot of intensity. I was concerned with if Morgan was going to be OK, not for (yesterday), but for the rest of the season. It didn’t look good when we first got out there.”

Dunkirk would finish the quarter by outscoring Fredonia 7-2 in the final minutes of the first stanza, led by Maddie Crandall and Sidney Charles, who combined to score all of the Lady Marauders’ points in the quarter.

Genovese returned to begin the second period and led all scorers in the quarter with six points, all from the free-throw line. The performance of her teammates improved as well, and Fredonia managed to regain the lead and take a 30-20 lead into the half.

“She struggled tonight from the floor, but did a great job from the foul line,” Zirkle said of Genovese. “She’s a tough player and was able to bounce back, but the main thing is that she has teammates who are able to step up and that’s what we have really struggled with in the past.”

“Going into this game we knew we had to limit (Genovese’s) touches and Rachel Rosas and Samaya Toomer did an amazing job guarding her. They held her to no field goals and she only got her points at the free throw line. I couldn’t be more pleased with how the way they stepped up and guarded her, but unfortunately they had other girls that stepped up.”

In the second half, the athleticism of the Lady Hillbillies took over as they built a 42-27 lead going into the final quarter.

In the final period, Fredonia proved to be too much for the Lady Marauders as it outscored Dunkirk 19-10 to end the game with Alicia Deering dominating the final stanza, scoring eight points, including back-to-back baskets to seal the win.

“It’s a huge rivalry and it’s a game every year that you just can’t predict,” Zirkle said. “It doesn’t matter how the rest of your year goes, you just don’t know what’s going t happen in the Dunkirk-Fredonia game. It’s a crazy game and it makes me, as a coach, nervous all season going into it.

“We did a lot of good things, but there are a lot of things we need to fix before Monday’s game,” Zirkle added. “I’m very happy that we came out and played with that intensity and did the things we’ve been working on in practice.”

Deering finished with a career-high 21 points to go with six rebounds. Genovese managed to score 10 points despite not making a single field-goal attempt from the field. Sarah Cruver finished with five points, eight rebounds and five steals while Kirsta Wheelock contributed in the win with five points, 11 rebounds and five assists.

“They are a well-rounded team. They have balance and an inside and outside presence,” Burnett said. “You can go into the game trying to limit someone and take them out of the game, but they’re usually a team that finds a way to compensate and find a way to do something else.”

Crandall led the Lady Marauders with 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the loss while Charles added seven points and seven rebounds. Rosas and Toomer combined to play tough man-to-man defense on Genovese and kept her from getting easy looks at the basket all evening.

Fredonia will travel to Frewsburg on Monday while Dunkirk is set to host Falconer the same day.