TWICE IS NICE-ORISKANY TOPS NEW YORK MILLS 40-37 FOR SECOND STRAIGHT CLASS D CROWN
Oriskany’s Christina Graziadei (11) squares off against NY Mills defender DyAnna Thomas (50) early on.
Jeff Pexton-MHTS-PGI Photo
It wasn’t pretty. In fact, at times it was down right choppy. Neither the Oriskany Lady Redskins or the New York Mills Lady Marauders ever found their rhythm in thirty-two minutes of Section III, Class “D” championship girl’s basketball in the palatial confines of the Carrier Dome this evening.
In the end however, Lady Redskins center Christina Graziadei had a career night scoring 31 of her team’s 40 points. Oriskany held on for a nail-biting 40-37 victory over a defiant New York Mills club to capture the Lady Redskins second consecutive Section III, Class “D” Championship!
It wasn’t until well after the final horn in the Dome sounded that Graziadei was told that her 31 points tonight vaulted her to the top of the Oriskany athletics charts. Christina became the school’s all time leading girl’s basketball scorer with 1,298 points, three more than previous record holder Melissa Rothdeiner.
To say that Grazaiadei’s night was anything short of amazing would be an incorrect portrayal. Along with her 31 points on offense Graziadei ripped down 17 rebounds for the Skins.
To say that the team effort of the eight kids on the New York Mills team was anything short of downright gutsy would be an injustice.
In the end it was Graziadei and her supporting cast of seasoned veterans Shannon VanShufflin, Madison Zizzi and Jordan Sahl to name a few, that dug down deep enough to defeat New York Mills for a fourth time this season and bring home the golden Section 3 banner.
Let’s go back where I said “It wasn’t pretty.” In the first sixteen minutes of this contest New York Mills was called for 11 personal fouls as opposed to Oriskany’s 5, yet the scoreboard read 11-5 after the first quarter.
All but three of Graziadei’s fourteen first half points were scored from the field and she only went to the free throw line twice in the first half.
How good was Christina in the opening half? Good enough that she scored 20 of her team’s first 22 points, that kind of good.
Despite Graziadei’s memory making performance, the Redskins never led by more than six points. Dominique Talerico then powered in a layup with 1:58 left in the third quarter. NewYork Mills now had its first lead since the first two minutes of the game.
Still,it was Zizzi and Van Shufflin who found Graziadei, time and time again, wide open underneath for clean points in the paint.
New York Mills simply had no consistent answer for Graziadei’s presence in the post and the Lady Redskins took a 17-11 advantage into halftime.
Both New York Mills and Oriskany defenders were tentative, to be sure, as tonight’s game was officiated under the strictest of styles.
At the half, New York Mills head coach Andrea Dziekan told ESPN Radio 99.1 FM – My Hometown Sports that if her team could just find some rhythm on offense, they could be close if not leading in this game.
Oriskany head coach Angela Meiss spent a few moments with ESPN Radio 99.1 FM before the start of the second half. She stated that she was very pleased with the efforts of her club and that she would like to see her starters be a little more patient in the second half, waiting for a good look at the basket instead of rushing shots.
The third quarter saw New York Mills come out very strong, going on a 16-6 run to take a 23-22 lead with 1:50 to go in the third quarter.
Carly Dziekan paced the Lady Marauders onslaught with five of her team high sixteen points to give New York Mills its first lead since the 2-0 lead they enjoyed early on.
Dziekan led the Marauders’ second-half surge, scoring 12 of her 16 points after the intermission.
Dominique Talerico added seven points and 10 rebounds for state-ranked No. 11 New York Mills (17-4).
Shannon VanShufflin, the last second hero of last years Lady Redskins win over Hamilton in the Section III Championship, kick started her team again tonight when she stole an inbound pass in the Marauders’ end and took it in herself to give Oriskany the lead back at 25-24 with :22 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Then, in dramatic fashion, Christina Graziadei’s magical evening continued on when the senior nailed a three pointer at the buzzer to send the Lady Redskins to the fourth quarter with a 28-24 lead.
VanShufflin had a great all around tournament and was honored for her efforts with a spot on the All-Tournament team. Shannon played a key roll for the Redskins tonight, dishing out six assists.
Jordan Sahl did a lot of the dirty work needed to win a rough and tumble game like this by snagging ten rebounds.
Oriskany extended its lead to 32-27 on a Graziadei back door cut basket with 5:40 remaining in the final period and for what would be the Lady Redskins largest lead of the second half.
New York Mills battled but could not take advantage of several trips to the free throw line or connect on several point-blank put back attempts in the closing minutes.
In the end, the stubborn Marauders succumbed to the pressure of trying to outscore the Redskins on a record-setting night by the Class D Tournament Most Valuable Player Christina Graziadei and a very aggressive Oriskany defense.
Coach Angela Meiss had a great game plan that took Dominique Talerico, one of the Marauders best scoring threats, completely out of rhythm and completely in check.
Talerico and Carly Dziekan both fouled out in the waning minutes hampering any legitimate comeback attempt.
Freshmen sensation Cassidy Albright also was hampered by foul trouble and was never really able to get untracked.
The ultimate mission was accomplished by switching over to a full court press in the fourth quarter, getting key points in the paint and making more than half of their free throws down the stretch.
Oriskany led by five with less than three minutes to play however, the Marauders had a chance to tie or take the lead after Cassidy Albright’s steal and layup and another defensive gem by Megan Crist.
Madison Zizzi and VanShufflin, however, each made the front end of 1-and-1 free throws. Each time Madison Zizzi and Graziadei rebounded the missed second shot.
All this led the Oriskany Lady Redskins to a 40-37 win and a second consecutive Section III championship.
Oriskany improved to (21-0) on the season and will now advance to State Regional action to play the Section IV champion next Saturday at SUNY Oneonta.
New York Mills finished at (17-4) on the season, with all four losses coming at the hands of Oriskany.
Carly Dziekan got the recognition the senior deserved by being selected to the All-Tournament team along with teammate Dominique Talerico.
Oriskany 40 New York Mills 37
1 2 3 4 Total
New York Mills 11 6 11 12 4
Oriskany 5 6 13 13 3
MHTS Scoring Summary:
New York Mills:
Madison Zizzi -2