OFA, Hammond Meet For Cordwell Title
BY DAVE SHEA
Fifty seven proved to be the magic number on Friday night as OFA hosted the first round of the 20th annual Ben Cordwell Memorial Girls Basketball Tournament
The host Blue Devils used a 15-4 third quarter pull away to dispatch a gritty Norwood-Norfolk squad 57-39 and Hammond answered a second half comeback by resilient Madrid-Waddington in a 57-43 win.
The Blue Devils and Red Devils will play for the title at 3 p.m. today after the junior varsity finales at noon and a 1:30 p.m. varsity consolation game between M-W and N-N.
Hammond 56 - M-W 43: Avery Kenyon made her return from a knee injury an impactful one for Hammond. She entered the game with the score tied at 9-9 and sparked a run to a 26-18 lead with seven second quarter points, smooth passing and steals, deflections and turnover forces at the top of the Devils' zone.
M-W reversed the flow of the game with a three-quarter court trapping defense and some timely outside shooting to take a 35-34 lead at the end of the third quarter on a jumper by Alexis Sullivan. Hammond countered with an extended zone defense and seven fourth quarter points by Kenyon to finish on a 23-8 run.
"I like this tournament because your team needs to come and play. Through the years the Ben Cordwell has demonstrated it is the best tournament around. Due to the level of play you need to maintain. Madrid shot the ball very well tonight," said Hammond Coach Shawn Dack.
"Tonight’s game with Madrid was exactly that. We need consistent efficient play on both ends. We show glimpses of it. But then get into funks of doing nothing. Overall tonight we overcame a great deal. And hopefully found a level of grit and determination to play by".
Kenyon finished with 17 points and Kylie Vaugh was an interior focal point scoring a game-high 20 with a steady stream of strong putbacks and athletic drives to the basket. Sadee Sprabary was a constant inside presence scoring seven points, Hailey Cunningham also scored seven and Kelsey Bennett hit a 3-pointer.
Jaelynn Uppstrom buried two threes to spark M-W's third quarter surge and finished with eight points. Alexis Sullivan used some crafty shot-making in traffic to score a team-high 10 points. Lydia Thomas tallied eight, Lily LaMere netted five and Kayla Dinneen added two.
"We played a very good basketball game. We could have been blown out in the first half but we hung on and came out and took the lead at the end of the third quarter. I just hope we can keep playing with the intensity we showed in the third and fourth quarters," said M-W Coach Bryan Harmer.
"Hammond's length was really tough for us. It was hard to score to score inside."
OFA 57 - N-N 39: Both teams enjoyed success forcing turnovers pressing and trapping out of different defensive schemes but N-N had no answers for OFA siege of the offensive boards. The Devils opened a 31-24 halftime lead and then took total control with a 15-4 third quarter run triggered by two athletic inside finishes by Riley Hough who forged a 13-point 12 rebound double-double.
Abby Raven also worked the paint for 13 points and added five rebounds and four assists and Hailey Reed netted 10 points with five rebounds and four steals. Gabby Morley scored five points with four steals and Emily Farrand led the backcourt with seven points, five assists and seven steals. Grace Hilborne and Celia Henry rounded out the scoring with five and three points.
Kylee Kellison scored a game-high 16 points for N-N with pull-up jumpers and transition conversions. Briana Stratton buried three jumpers scoring six points with Emma Schiavonne, Tiffany Fisher and Karly-Jaye Belmore all following with five points.
"We definitely have to protect the ball better than we did tonight when we play Hammond. We have to deal with their defensive pressure and get the ball inside," said OFA Coach Doug Loffler.
"Finishing inside will be another big key."
OFA, HAMMOND JVS WIN
OFA and Hammond will also meet for the Junior Varsity Championship in a high noon contest. OFA edged Brushton-Moira 29-25 and Hammond doubled Madrid-Waddington 48-24.
Olivia Merrill scored 12 points to lead OFA with Olivia Liebstein going 5-8 from the foul line scoring seven points, Victoria DeGroat tallied six points and Quinn Crosson added two to the Devils' first win of the year.
"We showed a lot of improvement defending inside, Olivia Merrill was spot on on offense and Olivia Liebstein made five of eight free throws which is much better than we have been doing," said OFA Coach Jon Cole.
Kaylee Langdon led B-M with 13 points
Landree Kenyon, Zoey Cunningham, Haille Manning and Natalie Howie all scored seven points for Hammond in its win over Madrid-Waddington. Lane Ruddy and Caeleigh Burke led M-W with eight points apiece.