Sperry, Lynn Help JCC Women Get Off To Fine Start In Opener

If this year’s NJCAA Division III basketball season goes anything like Thursday night’s home opener at the Physical Education Complex, then things are going to work out just fine for the Jamestown Community College women’s team, which rolled to a 76-55 win over Tompkins Cortland CC in non-conference play.

The Jayhawks showed little rust from the offseason and were certainly not lacking in chemistry as six freshman took to the court for the first time alongside a core of four returning sophomores.

Nine different players were able to get on the board during coach Travis Wells’ first win of the season, and the Jayhawks only seemed to improve their play as the night went on with guard Emilee Sperry leading the charge on her way to a 24-point performance that included five rebounds, four assists and five steals.

“Very happy, that’s not a bad team right there,” Wells said of Tompkins Cortland CC. “TC3 is well-coached, had some length and some athleticism. It was great for us to see that. It’s a great win for us.”

While Lynn may have faced a size disadvantage in the post against the likes of 6-foot-3 Reyanah Brown, the freshman was undeterred and began her night by spinning off Brown in the post for an easy lay-in. That start was followed shortly by a left-handed finish in the paint by Lynn and another easy bucket off an inbounds pass to make it 8-4 Jayhawks in the early going.

Jamestown Community College’s Olivia Lynn drives to the basket during Thursday’s season-opening NJCAA basketball game against Tompkins Cortland CC. P-J photo by Valory S. Isaacson

“She’s a very important piece of the puzzle, as all the kids are, but she plays bigger than what she is,” Wells said of his new forward. “Those other girls were 6-2, 6-3 and she played really well against them.”

A 3-pointer by Sperry and a short hook shot in the low post by Lynn put Jamestown CC in a comfortable spot heading into the second quarter with a 19-4 lead.

Helping to maintain that margin in the second period was freshman Haley Hettenbaugh, who was able to bury a 3-pointer from the right corner to make it 25-11, but Tompkins Cortland was able to respond with a pair of makes at the free-throw line and a return trey by MacKenzie Kenyon, who would go on to end the night with a team-high 14 points.

In the moments after halftime, the Panthers were able to shrink the gap to eight points after Brown finished off a pair of shots down low before Jaida Washington added another bucket in the post. That push was responded to by a quick trey from Sperry, which was followed by a great feed from Nicole Johnson to Lynn for an easy finish.

Johnson, the former Panama Lady Panther, followed that assist with a bucket of her own off a slick pass by Hettenbaugh to put Jamestown CC back in the driver’s seat.

The Jayhawks then really turned up the heat, ending the night with a 28-point final period that included 3-pointers by Sperry and Taylor Phelps, as well as some more strong play down low, this time coming from freshman Lakin Gustafson. The Chautauqua Lake graduate was able to put away a great pass from Sperry for before hitting a step-back jumper in the paint to make it 67-47.

“She’s a sophomore and you like that sophomore leadership,” Wells said of Sperry. “You love to see that and she’s been in tons of big games and she knows what to do.”

Try as they might to respond, the Panthers’ 24 points in the fourth was not enough to close the margin that the Jayhawks had carried throughout the night.

Jamestown CC will be back in action on Saturday as they face off against Broome CC in the Crossover Classic at Corning at 3 p.m.

Tompkins CC 4 17 10 24 — 55

Jamestown CC 19 14 15 28 — 76

Tompkins-Cortland CC (55)

Brown 6 1-2 13, Kenyon 4 4-4 14, Day 2 4-5 9, Minnick 1 2-2 4, Washington 4 2-2 6, Whitehead 1 0-0 2, Balcom 1 0-1 3. Totals 19 13-15 55.

Jamestown CC (76)

Sperry 8 4-4 24, Rodenbaugh 3 2-2 8, Johnson 3 1-1 7, Lynn 7 0-0 14, Hettenbaugh 1 1-1 4, Lancaster 1 0-0 2, Hallberg 1 0-0 2, Phelps 2 2-4 8, Gustafson 2 3-3 7. Totals 28 11-13 76

3-point goals-Sperry 4, Hettenbaugh , Phelps 2, Kenyon 2, Day , Balcom ; Personal Fouls-Jamestown CC 18, Lakeland CC 19; Rebounds-Jamestown CC 43, Lakeland CC 37.