Trojans Hold Off Cardinals
Southwestern Takes Important League Win Against Randolph
Despite being so early in the league season, Friday night’s Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 West matchup between the Southwestern Trojans (2-0, 4-4) and Randolph Cardinals (1-1, 6-3) had a lot on the line with the two league favorites meeting so soon.
The contest lived up to its billing, even ending with a Randolph buzzer beater, but the Cardinals could have used one more possession as the Trojans held on for the 45-42 league victory at Southwestern High School.
In the opening quarter, the Trojans spread the ball around, getting baskets from four different girls. Meanwhile, every single point scored by Randolph was by Kyra Pence.
The game was tied 11-11 after the first quarter and in the second the first team to jump out to a lead was Randolph as the Cardinals began getting buckets from more than Pence. Once Randolph scored to make it 17-14 in its favor, Southwestern head coach Kay Sirianni called a timeout to slow down the Cardinals who were in a groove.
“During that timeout we talked about the fact we have to play harder than we’ve ever played this season,” stated Southwestern head coach Kay Sirianni. “They match up with us very well, we’re very similar and the girls just got fired up to do it tonight.”
The timeout worked wonders as the Trojans rattled off an 11-2 run with 3-pointers from Reece Beaver, Bella Sirianni and Kira Ricker to take a 25-19 lead and forced a Randolph timeout. Out of the timeout, Randolph began pressing more and it did not work as intended as the buzzer sounded at halftime with the Trojans leading 29-23.
“The second quarter they took it to us,” Randolph head coach David Pihlblad said about the Trojans 18-point effort. “We kind of dug ourselves a hole going into halftime. The rest of the game we were just trying to claw away and chip at that lead.”
Southwestern’s 18-point second quarter was led by Beaver who finished the game with 18 points, three assists and two steals.
“Reece takes over,” stated Coach Sirianni. “The great thing about Reece is it’s hard to press our team sometimes because she can single-handily break a press if she needs to. She is also great at seeing her teammates and hitting the open player for assists. Tonight she also played fantastic defense on Payton Morrison, who is an excellent player, and we were able to keep her under her 30 points.”
Coming back from half both teams struggled to find the basket, but it was the Trojans who controlled the period. Southwestern dominated the glass the whole game, but it stood out in the third as both teams struggled shooting.
“We’ve struggled a little with rebounding this season and we’ve seen it earlier on,” stated Coach Sirianni about the Trojans’ presence on the glass. “So we’ve been working hard in practice on rebounding, but tonight we did get the defensive rebounds. We stopped Randolph from shooting two or three shots. You can’t give Randolph more than one shot because you’re going to lose to a team like that. Even offensively we got the rebound and kicked it back out. My post players did a heck of a job tonight and helped us win that game.”
Southwestern outrebounded Randolph 38-22, with Madi Mcintyre grabbing 15, Sirianni had seven, Lauren Cotter had six and Ricker had five.
While the Trojans’ offense slowed down in the second half, the defense stayed strong, making sure to limit Pence and Morrison. In the third quarter, Southwestern held them to 5 combined points.
“Southwestern did a really good job of trying to take Payton away in the game,” stated Pihlblad. “They always had a girl on her and that kind of disrupted our offense a bit. I’m happy with the effort, just some shots didn’t fall.”
In the fourth quarter,Randolph was able to make it a two-possession game and it looked like the Cardinals were going to tie it up. Down 45-39, Randolph needed some big buckets in the final 30 seconds. The Cardinals did get one of those big shots, but it was too late when Pence threw up a shot from beyond the arc to beat the buzzer, but still fall 45-42.
“We knew how important this game was,” added Pihlblad. “Coming in we thought if we could win this game it would be a good step towards winning the league title. We dug ourselves a hole and we’ve got to try and run the table now. We can’t lose again if we want to be league champs.”
Pence finished with 22 points, six rebounds and four steals; Morrison added 10 points, four assists, four rebounds and four steals; and Katelyn Storer had 7 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
KPence 8 4 22, QPence 1 0 2, Herington 0 1 1, Morrison 4 2 10, Storer 3 1 7, Abrams 0 0 0. Totals 16 8 42.
Cobb 0 0 0, Beaver 7 1 18, Lawton 1 0 2, Hartmann 0 0 0, Sirianni 2 1 7, Riley 0 0 0, Hamilton 1 1 3, McIntyre 1 0 2, Engdahl 0 0 0, Cotter 3 0 6, Ricker 2 1 7. Totals 17 4 45.
3-point goals–Beaver 3, Pence 2, Ricker 2, Sirianni 2.
Randolph 11 12 6 13 — 42
Southwestern 11 18 7 9 — 45