What the doctor ordered
Lady Billies get much-needed win over Lady T’birds
After a tough week in which it lost a pair of CCAA West 1 games to division-leading Olean last Tuesday and then to Southwestern on Friday, Fredonia needed a win in the worst way.
But it did not look good early on Tuesday against league foe Chautauqua Lake, as the Lady Hillbillies were down 9-4.
Enter junior guard Katie Price, who buried back-to-back 3-pointers, sparking a 14-5 run to close the first quarter, giving Fredonia (12-6, 9-3) a lead it never relinquished in 55-41 victory over the Lady Thunderbirds (11-8, 9-2).
“We needed this one bad,” Fredonia head coach Carol Zirkle said of the win. “We needed it just for confidence. We did not play well last week. Well, the first game (against Olean) I thought we played three great quarters, then had a let down in the fourth quarter. But this one was extremely important for getting ready for the playoffs. And it was important for getting our movement going and for the kids to see that they are as good as we think they are and that they have a lot of potential. Their confidence was pretty shaken from last week.”
Price’s first trey cut the Chautauqua Lake lead to 9-7, while her second tied the game 10-all with 2:49 left in the opening frame. A 3-pointer by Hannah Cybart gave the Lady Hillbillies the lead for good and extended the scoring run to 9-1 with 2:03 remaining.
“Katie Price came out and she got us going,” Zirkle said. “We were down and she came out and hit those big shots for us right away. She’s a great shooter and she’s a great scorer. And I thought that turned the tide for us and really got us rolling.”
“They had some pretty big shots in terms of the Cybart girls and Katie Price,” Chautauqua Lake head coach Bill Persons said. “She had some big ones there in the first half and I think that was crucial for them.”
From there, Caitlyn Cybart scored three on a hoop-and-a-harm while Zoya Katta beat the buzzer, giving the home team an 18-14 lead heading into the second quarter.
“I thought that we did a good job of defensive rebounding and I thought we ran the floor really well at that time,” Zirkle said of her team’s 14-5 run to close the first quarter. “I thought we really pushed the ball up (the floor) and were able to get some opportunities that way.”
The Lady Hillbillies continued their hot shooting in the second quarter, pushing their lead to 31-16 with a 13-2 quarter-opening run which saw the Cybart twins combine for 11 points, essentially putting the game away.
“When things are clicking for us, we just really roll,” Zirkle said. “And I thought we were doing a great job of getting ball movement and executing the offense. I thought we were running well, and we had great help defense.”
Although they were down 15, the Lady Thunderbirds had their chance to get back into the game, as the Lady Hillbillies went cold the last 3:44 of the first half and first 4:09 of the third quarter, scoring just five points over that span.
“We weren’t moving the ball as well on offense,” Zirkle said. “And I thought we weren’t making quite as good decisions on where to go with the ball. We’re working on the offense, we’re making some changes and modifying it, but I thought we just reverted to not moving quickly and not moving the ball as quickly as we needed to.”
But Chautauqua Lake was just as cold, as it could only muster seven points of its own.
“They do a lot of things off the ball nice,” Persons said of Fredonia’s defense. “We were trying to get the ball into our post and they were bringing help from the weak side and doubling down on it. And we just couldn’t find that next pass fast enough. (The pass) was definitely open, and like I said, we just didn’t see it quick enough at times.”
Both teams finished with just nine points in the third quarter and 13 each in the fourth quarter for the 55-41 final.
“(Fredonia) seemed like they did a nice job of getting back on defense,” Persons said. “We were trying to get the ball up the floor a little bit and then beat them on defense, but they did a nice job of getting back and stopping that train of thought.”
Hannah Cybart led all scorers with 26 points while adding 15 rebounds and three steals while Caitlyn Cybart finished with 13 points and six rebounds.
“Hannah played a great game,” Zirkle said. “We’re fortunate that she can shoot the three, she can drive, she rebounds well. She’s just an overall great players. And like I’ve said about Zoya (Katta), a lot of people don’t see what she’s doing, like the fact that she did such a great job on Taylor Phelps.
“Caitlyn I thought did a great job of helping off her girl to stop the (Chautauqua Lake) guards,” Zirkle added. “And people don’t see that, but I saw that.”
Meanwhile Price had six points and five rebounds, Katta four points and seven rebounds and Hannah Gullo six points, four rebounds and three assists.
“Hannah Gullo had a lot of great breaks,” Zirkle said. “And she saw the floor really well. Gracie Morrison came in and played huge for us in that first quarter. (Chautauqua Lake) was going inside and she was a more intimidating presence. She’s just bigger and was able to get her hands up and make them shoot over her. And I thought Morgan St. George did a great job coming off the bench and playing well. So overall it was just a great team effort and it was a win we definitely needed.”
For Chautauqua Lake, which entered the game winners of six in a row, Jesse Zenns had a team-high 11 points while grabbing seven rebounds and adding two steals and two blocks, Abagail Henry had four points and a team-high eight rebounds and Taylor Phelps had eight points.
“Fredonia’s a different team than those two for us,” Persons said, referring to the Lady Thunderbirds’ recent wins over Olean and Southwestern. “They just have a lot of size and they have a lot of size on their guards, which was really hard for us to match up with. We knew that they were going to be aggressive, so it was kind of fight fire with fire and we just turned the ball over way too much (Tuesday).”
Fredonia is back in action Thursday when it hosts non-league opponent Allegany-Limestone at 6:30 p.m. for its Senior Night while Chautauqua Lake is scheduled to play in Ripley at 7:30 p.m. that same night against Panama in a non-leaguer of its own.
MAPLE GROVE 46, DUNKIRK 42
The Dunkirk Lady Marauders (1-16, 0-12) came close to picking up their first league win of the season, but the Maple Grove Lady Red Dragons held on for a 46-42 victory Tuesday in CCAA West 1 girls high school basketball.
Dunkirk held an 11-10 lead after eight minutes and a 26-21 halftime advantage. However, the visitors outscored the Lady Marauders, 25-18, in the second half for the victory.
Courtney Hemminger led the Lady Red Dragons with 13 points.
Meanwhile, Dunkirk was led by Nadara O’Dell’s 12 points while Olivia Smith added 11 in defeat.