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Randolph Hands Bears 1st League Loss, Can Share D1 East Crown

Role Reversal

Randolph’s Zoey Dickerson drives along the baseline as Frewsburg’s Kaylee Cappa defends during Monday’s CCAA Division 1 East girls basketball game in Randolph. Photo courtesy of Mike Frame

RANDOLPH — The Randolph girls basketball team has won a league title the last three seasons and begin each year with that as the first goal.

In their road game against Frewsburg, Randolph suffered a 64-46 loss, putting that league title goal in jeopardy.

On Monday night, the Cardinals had every player step up and play a great game against Frewsburg in front of the packed Randolph crowd, winning 59-51 and putting a share of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 East title in reach Thursday at Portville.

“Our first goal every year is to win a league title,” Randolph head coach David Pihlblad stated. “We’ve won three in a row and losing the first game to Frewsburg kind of put us in a tough spot. We knew this was pretty much for the league title, co-league championship to give us a chance, the girls were ready and they just played really, really hard from the start and finished it.”

With both teams knowing each other very well, gameplans were made to take away each side’s top offensive threats. Randolph (13-6, 8-1) sought to limit the Trocki sisters and Frewsburg (17-3, 9-1) aimed to slow down Skylar Herington.

Frewsburg’s Paige Whippo (33) attempts to steal the ball from Randolph’s Quinn Pence (5) during Monday’s CCAA Division 1 East girls basketball game in Randolph. Photo courtesy of Mike Frame

While the usual suspects weren’t lighting up the scoresheet, it was up to each team’s depth that was needed to provide an offensive spark.

For the first half it was working for the Bears, who relied on Ava Jimerson. Her 12 points in the first half had Frewsburg holding a narrow 24-23 halftime lead.

“Ava is always our third scorer,” Frewsburg head coach Sierra Beaver stated. “When we are struggling to score, that’s where we go next layer and she played well.”

Jimerson paced the Bears with a game-high 25 points, four rebounds and three steals.

With Herington managing just two first-half points, Quinn Pence stepped it up to keep the Cardinals close and hit the baskets to tie the game in the third quarter. Pence finished with 16 points, dished out seven assists, grabbed four rebounds and fought for five steals in a strong defensive performance.

“Quinn Pence, defensively, that was probably the best defensive game I’ve seen a girls basketball player play in a very long time,” Pihlblad said. “We challenged her and she played probably the best game of her career.”

But out of the ordinary, Randolph received a career performance on both ends of the floor from Zoelle Dickerson as she attacked the basket for 14 points and eight rebounds to go along with four steals and three blocked shots.

“We watch a lot of film, we made a couple of adjustments offensively because every team tries to take away Skylar,” Pihlblad stated. “We felt that we had a good mismatch with Zoey and Zoey stepped up early and hit a couple of baskets. Her defense too — that was a career high on offense — but defensively she was just phenomenal in our zone there.”

Pence and Dickerson stepped it up while Herington’s offense was not coming, but with the potential share of the league title on the line, Herington made adjustments to her offensive approach. Instead of looking for the shot on the perimeter that Frewsburg did a great job of taking away, she started attacking the basket more and it worked as she scored 11 of her 16 points in the fourth quarter helping Randolph to the 59-51 win.

“I kind of challenged her in the third quarter,” Pihlblad said about Herington. “I said you’ve got to start going to the basket, you’ve got to take good shots and you can’t get frustrated. She had some really good shots that were in and out, and she’s such a good player that I know she can eventually hit them. That fourth quarter she scored 11 points and won the game for us, she put that game away with a couple big baskets down the stretch.”

Herington finished with her 16 points, four rebounds and two assists, while Gianna Bowles grabbed five steals, and Ryanne Bushey had a blocked shot, four rebounds and four assists.

Randolph managed to limit both Trockis to single-digit scoring, but Jadyn still dished out six assists and Taytum Jimerson added 10 points, four rebounds and three assists in the effort.

The Randolph victory likely leads to both teams sharing the league championship, but each squad expects a rubber match in Section VI Class C playoffs.

“We’ve said all year that we’re going to see them three times,” Pihlblad said about Frewsburg. “It’s two really good teams. We’ve battled with them the last four years. It’s been us and them in C for a long time. We’re just two really good schools and we’re definitely going to play them again … that’s the one that matters.”

“I think it’s going to be whoever executes the best,” Beaver added about a potential playoff matchup. “Obviously, every time we play there are going to be different gameplans and you’ve got to figure out what the defense is giving you and find a way to attack their weaknesses. We didn’t do that well in the fourth quarter, we got really stagnant offensively. Hopefully we can fix that.”

FREWSBURG (51)

JTrocki 3 1 8, TTrocki 1 1 4, Conlan 0 0 0, TJimerson 4 0 10, Cappa 0 0 0, Harvey 1 0 2, AJimerson 8 7 25, Whippo 1 0 2. Totals 18 9 51.

RANDOLPH (59)

Bowles 0 0 0, Pence 3 9 16, Herington 7 0 16, Bushey 3 0 6, Steward 2 3 7, Dickerson 7 0 14. Totals 22 12 59.

3-point goals–JTrocki, TTrocki, TJimerson 2, AJimerson 2, Pence, Herington 2.

Frewsburg 18 6 15 12 — 51

Randolph 11 12 18 18 — 59

Jayvees: Randolph won.

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