SLOW START FAST FINISH LEADS ORISKANY TO CLASS D TITLE TILT
Oriskany 49 Livingston Manor 31-CLASS D New York State Girls Semi-final
Better late than never…I always say. Coach Angela Meiss and her, white-hot, Oriskany Redskins (23-0), girls basketball team, left the court repeating the same mantra following a convincing 49-31 win over Livingston Manor (6-11) today at Hudson Valley Community College, in Troy New York.
The big win, on a big stage, by the back to back Section III Champs, sets up a high noon Sunday showdown against Batavia Notre Dame (22-2), which defeated Fort Edward 49-35 in the other Class D semifinal here on Saturday.
It should be a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon as the state’s second ranked Lady Redskins tip-off against #6 Batavia Notre Dame. The matchup becomes more interesting coming on the heels of Batavia’s upset over #1 Fort Edward.
The Redskins looked rusty, and in need of a wake up call, as they worked their way through a sluggish first 16 minutes of play. Nine o’clock am start time is for the birds…early birds that is.
Livingston Manor seemed to enjoy the roll of heavy underdog as they came at the Redskins with all they had.
Sam Scott led the Wildcats with 18 points and helped her team hang tough and only trail by one, 9-8, following the first eight minutes of action, and trail just 16-11 at the break.
How slow was the Lady Redskins start, you ask? Oriskany was scoreless for more than nine minutes…count them if you like.
The dry spell ended with a classic Redskins 7-0 run, which included a three-point play, the old-fashioned way, by Christina Graziadei, the senior sensation, who had seen enough.
Despite being on the better side of the score, Oriskany was slowed down by ice-cold shooting as they shot just 38 per cent from the field in the first half.
The Skins, who live by the three, almost died by the three, hitting just 1 of 12 from long-range.
As you recall, Oriskany knocked down 8 trey’s in their win over Franklin, last weekend.
The three-point play seemed to energize her mates and was followed up a short time later by a Graziadei, tuck-in, and a Madison Zizzi steal and hoop that let the Cats know it was suddenly…game on.
Zizzi’s six steals and 6 points meant plenty to her teammates as they got back on track to cruise to the win.
Graziadei, headed to Hartwick College, to play college ball, then scored 14 of her 21 points in the second half, and the senior center finished with 16 rebounds.
Shannon VanShufflin, was clutch once again, scoring seven points, but more importantly she had nine assists, most of them on feeds inside to Graziadei who feasted off the great unselfish, setups.
Speaking of VanShufflin…Shannon’s long three at the start of the third really got her team and fans in, full steam ahead, rally mode.
Whatever head coach Angela Meiss told her troops at the intermission really got through to the Lady Redskins, as they came out on fire.
Christina Graziadei heard the message, loud and clear, scoring 8 third quarter points to seemingly sap the will from a scrappy Livingston Manor team.
The burst by Christina and her mates had the maroon up big, 35-17, as we headed into the final eight minutes of action on ESPN 99.1FM.
Livingston Manor making back-to-back trips to the New York State Class D Girls Final Four, began to wilt as the Redskins turned up the pressure pouring in points in the paint.
The offensive onslaught didn’t hurt the Oriskany cause but, what really turned the semi-final matchup around was the relentless defense heat applied by the Skins in the second 16 minutes of play.
The Wildcats were pressured into 27 turnovers and went without a bucket for what seemed like an eternity, thirteen plus minutes, that turned this one around for good.
The Oriskany defense was so good that Livingston Manor could only muster 3 points in the second quarter and just 6 in the third as Oriskany used the defense to get the offense in gear.
In the final 24 minutes of action the Redskins outscored the Wildcats 35-23. The game changer was the third quarter as Oriskany hit for 19 and Livingston Manor could only muster 6 points of their own.
One more big test to come for Oriskany tomorrow in Troy. Rest up ladies and we’ll see you there.
Sunday’s Class D Championship game, against Livingston Manor, can be heard live on the All-New ESPN 99.1FM, on AM 1230-1310-1350, or online @ ESPNUR.com.
Team My Hometown Sports will be there to cover all of the action!
Oriskany 49 Livingston Manor 31
1 2 3 4 Total
Livingston Manor 8 3 6 14 31
Oriskany 9 7 19 14 49
MHTS Scoring Summary: