SK girls nip MCS for title

By John Bernhardt
It would be hard to overstate Sami Hunt’s value to the Margaretville Junior Varsity Girls’ basketball team. Hunt played brilliantly in Wednesday’s Delaware League championship game scoring 15 points, dominating the backboards, and altering countless South Kortright shots. The stellar effort was not enough as SK edged the Blue Devils, 53-48, in double overtime.

A finger injury to Hunt proved to be a deciding factor in the contest. SK capitalized twice when Hunt was forced to leave the game as Margaretville coaches tended to her injury. SK outscored the Blue Devils’ 10-0 with the Margaretville center off the floor.

SK dominates early
South Kortright dominated early in the contest. When Amber Pinter hit a set shot from the right of the lane seconds into the second period, SK led, 8-1. A Hunt banker from the middle of the lane started a nine-point Margaretville run. Cora Bruno’s three-point shot at the end of an out-of-bounds play ended the Blue Devils’ surge with Margaretville in front, 10-8, two minutes into the period.

McKenzie Smith banked in a shot from the block, Brianna Laing hit a soft 12-foot shot from the right wing, and Kaitlyn Stinson stepped inside the left elbow to hit a shot as the ball was reversed against the Margaretville zone, and SK retook the lead, 14-10.

The Blue Devils stormed back as Hunt followed up a missed foul shot for a score, and Cora Bruno picked off a pass and directed a long pass to a breaking Elia Tanzer for a score.

Hunt went down the first time with the score knotted at 14-14 and less than two minutes to play in the half. Samantha Acuna buried a three-point shot from the left wing, and Pinter stole the ball and fed Laura Hannigan for a lay-up before Margaretville could get their center back on the floor.
A Laing steal and layup ended the half with the Rams in front, 21-14.

The two teams traded baskets with SK in front, 27-20, when Hunt’s finger guard was ripped loose, and she was forced from the game for repairs. With the Blue Devils’ center on the sidelines, SK went to work. Hannigan started the assault by hitting a shot from the right baseline. Laing turned a steal into a coast-to-coast layup attempt and was fouled. The SK guard hit one of two shots. Seconds before the quarter break, Laing turned another steal into a layup boosting the Rams’ lead to, 32-20.

With Hunt leading the way, Margaretville staged a furious fourth quarter rally. The Blue Devil center scored seven points in a 15-2 run putting Margaretville in front. Kate Short scrambled to get to a loose ball, spotted Cora Bruno breaking ahead, and Bruno dished off to a cutting Elia Tanzer for a layup drawing the Blue Devils within a point at 34-33. Tanzer was checked on Margaretville’s next series but the ball came back into her hands, and the Margaretville guard calmly banked it in to give her team the lead, 35-34.

Burkley Cole hit one of two foul shots to tie the score for SK. Kate Short drove right, changed directions driving the lane, then banked in a runner and Margaretville was in front, 37-35. SK’s Samantha Acuna knotted things up again sinking a shot from two feet inside the foul line with 25.9 seconds left.

Tanzer brought the Margaretville crowd to its feet when her inside shot attempt took a 360 degree route around the inside of the rim before popping out with just 17 seconds to play. SK ran out the clock without a shot sending the game into overtime.

Short hit a foul shot to open the scoring in the extra period. After SK answered with a short baseline shot to take the lead, Short’s three-point goal ripped the nets and Margaretville led, 41-39.
Cora Bruno was fouled with 59 seconds to play as Margaretville used a three-person weave to shave seconds off the clock. Bruno hit both ends of the one-and-one and the Blue Devils had a four-point lead.

But, Laing saved the day for SK. Turnovers proved costly for Margaretville in the closing seconds of the added period. After a turnover gave the Rams the ball, Laing drove the left baseline to bring SK within two with 28 seconds to go. Another steal and another Laing baseline score knotted the score at 43-43 with only 18.7 remaining forcing a second overtime.

SK scored the first six points of the second extra period and was never headed. A Stinson banker outside the lane started the critical scoring run. Laing hit two-of-two foul shots, and Acuna did the same as SK took a commanding 49-43 lead.

Laing took game scoring honors for SK netting 18 points. Acuna reached double figures with 11 and Pinter and Hannigan both added eight.

Hunt paced Margaretville with 15 points. Tanzer added 11, Short 10 and Bruno nine for the Blue Devils.