What a difference a few years make.
The Jamestown Community College Jayhawks and Genesee CC Lady Cougars playing in a postseason women's basketball game was usually for the NJCAA Region 3 Division II title.
They met again in a postseason game on Wednesday afternoon at JCC, but it wasn't for a championship. It was quite the opposite. They played in a sub-regional game to advance to the regional semifinals and the Jayhawks prevailed, 68-34.
Alex Smith, left, of Jamestown Community College tries to rip the ball away from a Genesee CC player during Wednesday afternoon’s NJCAA Region 3 Division II sub-region women’s basketball game. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
Now JCC has the task of taking on top-seeded and defending regional champion Erie CC on Saturday on the Lady Kats' home court at 1 p.m.
In the other semifinal on Saturday, second-seeded Alfred State College will play second-seeded Niagara County CC at 3 p.m.
Wednesday's win moves JCC's record to 16-13 while Genesee's season ends at 1-24.
It's quite a change for the Lady Cougars, who won six straight Region 3 Division II titles from 1992-97. Then they were in the title game five straight years from 2007-11 and won four with the only loss to JCC in 2010.
Wednesday's win was the Jayhawks' third over Genesee this season. Their first meeting was close at Genesee with a 68-63 result while at JCC the Jayhawks won 72-52. However, JCC coach George Sisson was still concerned about the old basketball cliche about it being difficult to defeat a team three times. He also pointed out, ''They had everything to win, we had everything to lose.''
But his thoughts were, ''If our kids go out and play the way they're supposed to, everything takes care of itself. You can't worry about winning and losing. Worry about doing the next possession offensively and defensively. All that other stuff takes care of itself.''
So there was a little bit of concern, but after it was all over, Sisson said, ''It's always good to win, it's great to win at home and it's great to win a playoff game at home. We got into a rhythm offensively, we played with a lot of passion defensively.''
JCC built up a 10-point lead, 18-8, after 6 minutes of play and Ashley DePane had contributed five points. But she didn't contribute for the rest of the half as she picked up her second foul with 13 minutes left.
''What I'm glad about is we were able to get off to a good start and get onto a scoring scheme,'' Sisson said. ''One of the things that has been hurting us lately is long scoring droughts. I'm not talking a minute or two, I'm talking eight-, nine-, 10-minute scoring droughts. I told them yesterday I want to play the way we want to play, not the way they're going to force us to play and then figure out how to score. So to get off to a good start was good.''
Two other Jayhawks took over the scoring chores in DePane's absence. Keslie Beaver popped in back-to-back buckets and finished the half with 10 points. And point guard Taylor Storer scored 12 points in the final five minutes of the half to finish with 15 and JCC had a 38-20 lead at halftime.
''Storer in high school was a scorer, she was always looked to be a scorer,'' Sisson said. ''Now here she's trying to learn to be more of a point guard and still continue to score.''
Not only had the Jayhawks almost doubled Genesee's points output, but they were also accurate as they shot 48 percent from the field (15 of 31).
''I felt if we got our offense rolling, I felt our defense was going to be adequate,'' Sisson said.
However, he still had concerns heading into the second half.
''I told them at halftime I was a little bit nervous,'' Sisson said. ''I looked at their emotions and body language and at halftime it was like, 'There, we scored points and we've got a 20-point lead and we can relax.' We're not that good where we can just go in an coast the next 20 minutes and do whatever we want to do. So I kind of got on them a little bit at the end of halftime.''
Genesee had a good start to the second half by scoring the first four points to pull withing 14. But just when the Lady Cougars might have been began thinking about a comeback, the Jayhawks burst their bubble.
JCC went on a 15-2 run with five different Jayhawks doing the scoring to open up a 27-point lead, 53-26, with 13:30 left to play.
With the win well in hand, Sisson cleared his bench and there was no drop in production as the Jayhawks had another run or 12-2 in the final five minutes.
''People don't understand , when you have a squad of 10, 11 kids like we do, they're out there everyday grinding and working at it,'' Sisson said. ''So I was really happy that those girls got to get in and let everyone else see how much progression they've made during the year as well.''
The Jayhawks shooting with even better in the second half with 12 of 23 for 52 perfect for a finish at 50 percent.
Storer led the way with 17 points while DePane had 14 and Beaver 13.
Dashawna Jenifer was the only double-figure scorer for Genesee with 12 points.
Things will be different on Saturday when the Jayhawks take on top-seeded Erie, which has a 19-5 record and two of the wins were over JCC by scores of 77-65 and 70-48.
''I think the semifinals is a great place to be because they're (Erie) looking forward to the championship,'' Sisson said about the defending champions who defeated JCC in last year's title game. ''They know they beat us twice, they know they've beat the other two teams in the championship.
''I like where we're at. We played them to a 10-point game in their barn and Storer fouled out with three minutes to play up there. We played to a four-point game in the first half here and a couple of mishaps got the game out of proportion down here.''
So looking ahead to Saturday, Sisson said, ''They will give a chance to stay in the game. They better be careful not leave us in the game too long.''
Flowers 1 0-0 2, Davis 2 2-6 7, JJanes 4 0-2 8, Holloway 0 0-0 0, Jenifer 3 6-8 12, Scarborough 0 0-0 0, Akagami 1 0-0 2, Moultrie 0 1-2 1, BJames 1 0-1 2, Wzientcz 0 0-0 0, Totals 12 9-18 34.
Storer 6 2-4 17,Beaver 6 1-2 13, Sheldon 1 2-2 4, Biela 0 2-2 2, Saglimben 2 0-0 4, Draggett 3 0-2 6, DePane 5 3-5 14, Kickbush 1 0-0 2, Smith 2 0-0 4, Nickerson 3 0-0 6, Sands 0 0-0 0, Totals 27 10-17 68.
Halftime-JCC 38m Genesee 20. 3-point goals-Davis, Storer 3, DePane. Total fouls-Genesee 15, JCC 17. Fouled out -Akagami.