SK girls' hoops win second straight title

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By John Bernhardt
The brighter the lights and the bigger the venue, the more dominant is the game of South Kortright senior center Robyn Ward. Like she did a year ago, Ward found the Binghamton Arena the perfect basketball setting, scoring a game-high 22 points and leading SK to their second consecutive Section IV, Class D girls’ basketball title, a 44-38 victory over Worcester on Saturday.

Ward made a statement quickly. The Rams’ senior center dominated play on both ends of the court in the early going. Ward scored 12 of SK’s 14 first period points including back-to-back set shots from the short corner and a four for four effort from the foul line.

South Kortright’s performance from the foul line was a huge factor throughout the contest. The Rams hit their first 11 shots from the charity stripe and amassed 20 of their 44 points at the line. Ward proved to be a foul-shooting machine, netting 10 of 12 chances.
After SK built a 14-6 first period lead, Worcester’s defense stiffened. The Wolverines shut out SK in the second frame and scored all nine points to take a narrow 15-14 lead to the lockers at the intermission.

Ward was fouled putting back and offensive rebound and hit both foul shots to give SK back the lead at the start of the third quarter. Kayla Craft netted all eight of her points in the period, two baskets on put-backs, a 15-foot shot from the baseline, and a layup cutting through the lane. Craft’s offensive theatrics helped SK stretch their advantage to 29-22 at the three-quarter break.
Ward hit one of two foul shots at the start of the final frame, before Worcester surged. The Wolverines ran off the next 12 points including back-to-back Morgan Clark three-point goals to retake the lead, 34-30.

Accurate foul shooting would tell the story down the stretch. SK’s eighth-grade guard Tori Rockefeller broke a 35-35 tie hitting two foul shots with 1:47 left to play. Rockefeller would sink five of six shots from the charity stripe as the Rams pulled away in the game’s final minutes.
South Kortright rebounded well throughout the contest with Ward and Craft both pulling down 11 caroms.

Up next, the Rams will be facing Section III champion Oriskany (17-4) in Utica on Saturday.