The Jamestown Community College women's basketball team hadn't played a game since Dec. 14 and had participated in only five practices since then. However, it didn't take the Jayhawks long to get back into game form as they opened the second semester of action with a 79-47 NJCAA victory over the Butler County CC Lady Pioneers on Saturday afternoon.
JCC, a Division II team, moves to 12-4 with the win while Butler County, a Division III team, falls to 1-7.
JCC opens all-important Region 3 Division II play with a home game against Niagara County CC on Thursday, so when asked if Saturday's contest was the perfect tune-up before the ''games that count,'' coach George Sisson said, ''Every game counts because in every game you find things to get better at. I thought we played with some energy and came out and got after it. We were running the system that we like to run. It was good to see our girls running the lanes hard.''
JCC’s Taylor Storer drives to the basket past Butler County’s Jennifer Barry. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
He was also pleased with the venue.
''To be home is good,'' Sisson said. ''We played 15 games in the first semester and we played five at home. It seemed like we were never here, so it was good to be home. And it was good to play against a team we felt that we could be successful against.''
All the Jayhawks saw plenty of playing time and there was one that stood out.
''Taylor Storer was terrific,'' Sisson said after the freshman point guard from Cassadaga Valley finished with 20 points, seven assists, three rebounds and two steals. ''It wasn't just scoring, it was the poised, pressure defense that she instilled that allowed some other girls to be successful behind her. It was her running the floor and paying people off for running with her with some wonderful assist passes.''
Butler County had the first basket of the game, but then the Lady Pioneers didn't score again for about five minutes while JCC ran off 17 straight points for a 17-2 lead with 14:20 left in the first half.
Storer had seven points during the run while Kelsie Beaver and Brook Draggett had four each.
Storer went on to score six more points in the next six minutes and Ashley DePane popped in a 3-pointer to help put the Jayhawks in front by 19, 28-9.
Then the tables turned for about two minutes.
JCC began putting up a shot that missed and didn't get the offensive rebound. Meanwhile, Butler County ran off seven straight points to pull within 12.
''Out ebb and flow of the game was pretty good except for a segment there in the first half,'' Sisson said. ''But at that same time, we were transitioning some people, too. Getting some new faces on the floor.''
He added, ''You don't necessarily always start your best five. You start the five that gives you some continuity, but you also might have to leave some girls on the bench that keep from going into the three- or four-minute spurt where you have to give a breather or if you get into foul trouble.''
For the rest of the half, the Jayhawks got back on track and outscored the Lady Pioneers, 13-4, for a 41-23 halftime lead.
In the second half, JCC continued to roll and so did Storer, who had a 3-pointer and a steal that led to a 2-pointer in the opening minutes. With nine minutes left to play, the Jayhawks were in front by 34 and it was downhill from there.
DePane, Beaver and Draggett finished with 12 points each for JCC. Ashlynn Nickerson was the rebounding leader with eight while Alex Smith, DePane and Draggett had seven apiece. Nickerson also had three blocks and DePane had three steals.
Shelby Johnston was the game scoring leader with 24 points for the Lady Pioneers while Kyleigh Custer had eight rebounds and Jennifer Barry seven.
''I'm really looking forward to some league games,'' Sisson said, looking ahead to Thursday's Region 3 Division II opener against NCCC at 5:30 p.m.
BUTLER COUNTY (47)
Hartman 1 1-3 3, Barry 3 1-4 8, Horwat 1 0-2 3, Custer 0 5-6 5, Johnston 6 12-16 24, Cooper 2 0-0 4, Totals 13 19-31 47.
Storer 9 0-0 20, Beaver 6 0-0 12, Sheldon 3 0-0 6, Biela 0 0-0 0, Saglimben 1 0-0 3, Draggett 4 4-6 12, DePane 5 1-4 12, Kickbush 0 1-2 1, Smith 3 0-0 6, Nickerson 0 1-2 1, Sands 3 0-2 6, Totals 34 7-16 79.
Halftime-JCC 41, Butler County 23. 3-point goals-Barry, Horwat, Storer, Saglimben, DePane. Total fouls-Butler County 9, JCC 25. Fouled out -Nickerson.