Trojan ‘D’ shuts down T’birds in title game

Photo by Cody Crandall Chautauqua Lake’s Taylor Phelps (23) shoots over Southwestern's Isabel Bursch during Wednesday’s championship game of the JCC Shootout.

JAMESTOWN — One of the oldest sayings in basketball is “defense wins championships.”

Wednesday night at Jamestown Community College’s Physical Education Complex, it was Southwestern’s defense that ultimately led the Lady Trojans to the Holiday Basketball Shootout title.

Southwestern limited a potent Chautauqua Lake offense to just 31 points and held the Lady Thunderbirds to under 10 points in each of the second, third and fourth quarters en route to a hard-fought 41-31 win.

“The girls responded tonight,” Southwestern head coach Dave Turnbull said. “I think we’re getting a little better every game. … You have a kid like Sydney Burk (who sustained an injury) out tonight. And I said to the girls, ‘This is a challenge for us. Are we going to rise to the challenge? Because it’s going to be easy to make an excuse if we lose.’ … I thought the girls, all of them, were fired up about getting a chance to play Chautauqua Lake again and I’m never at a loss for words, but I’m speechless as far as how solid I think our defense was tonight.”

Alanna Dibble was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after pouring in a team-high 12 points, one night after scoring 16 points in a 79-24 victory over Cassadaga Valley. In addition to her scoring output, the junior forward hauled in nine rebounds.

“She’s really coming on strong the last couple of games,” Turnbull stressed. “(She’s) a real talented player and I think this is going to do wonders for her confidence.”

Seventh-grader Alexis Jacobson contributed 9 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Lady Trojans in the win while Kendyl Austin had 7 points and 10 rebounds. Erin Radack, who was selected to the all-tournament team, added 8 points, five rebounds, two steals and two assists. Jill Lawton ended the game with three rebounds and three steals as well in another balanced and impressive effort for Southwestern.

Chautauqua Lake trailed 24-17 at halftime and remained close throughout most of the second half thanks, in part, to a team-high 15 points from Katelyn Fardink and 10 points from Taylor Phelps . Both Fardink and Phelps were all-tournament selections.

However, the Lady Thunderbirds struggled to find consistent rhythm at the offensive end of the floor and had trouble at times containing Southwestern on the glass.

“I give Southwestern a ton of credit,” Chautauqua Lake head coach Bill Persons stated. “Because we were getting one look a lot of times (on offense) and they were getting a lot of boards on us. … It’s good for us to see teams that are going to play us really physical. …You’ve just got to learn to be resilient to that and learn to deal with it ultimately.”

Phelps grabbed eight rebounds and handed out three assists to complement her 10 points. Jesse Zenns had nine boards and Lakin Gustafson had seven rebounds in defeat.

The win for Southwestern avenged a close loss earlier in the season to divisional-foe Chautauqua Lake. Also, it was the Lady Trojans’  third win in a row.

“Every single player tonight stepped up and gave us great minutes,” Turnbull emphasized. “This is just a great team (to be around). They like each other a lot. They’re a close team. … I thought we reached down and everyone contributed.”

In Wednesday’s consolation game, Sherman came away with a 46-27 win over Cassadaga Valley. Danielle Aldrich was the top scorer for the Lady Wildcats with 12 points while Zoey Charrette had 8 points and three rebounds; Katie Pacy had 8 points and three rebounds; Abbey Cole had 6 points and seven rebounds; and Carrie Sands contributed 5 points, five assists and seven rebounds.

“(Tuesday night in a loss to Chautauqua Lake), we couldn’t make shots,” Sherman coach Mel Swanson said after recording his 599th career win. “This is the kind of game where we got the shots we want. …We hit a few (shots early) and it kind of got us going.”

Amber Morrison had 8 points to lead the way for Cassadaga Valley. Paige Hitchcock had 7 points and was a force on the glass, hauling in 13 rebounds. Savannah Nickerson had four rebounds and Jewelee Schauman had two steals.

NOTES: Joining Radack, Fardink and Phelps on the varsity all-tournament team was Pacy (Sherman) and Mikayla Fardink (Cassadaga Valley). … Chautauqua Lake won the jayvee title after downing Southwestern, 57-45. Lily Woodis, who was named the jayvee tournament’s MVP, poured in 20 points to lead the way for the Lady Thunderbirds…Maggie Myers (Sherman), Isabella Ruiz (Cassadaga Valley), Sophie Genareo (Southwestern), Gianna Hoose (Southwestern) and Grace Bukowski (Chautauqua Lake) were named to the jayvee all-tournament team.