Randolph coach Shawn Huntington has trusted scouts out in Rochester - among them a retired high school basketball coach - and each are of a like mind when it comes to the Lady Cardinals' upcoming Far West Regional foes, the Bishop Kearney Kings.
They've got size - a lot of size.
The two squads, each vying for a place in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association State Tournament, are slated to square off on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Buffalo State College.
Coach Shawn Huntington and the Randolph Lady Cardinals pose with their Section 6 Class C championship plaque. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Scott Kindberg
Boasting a pair of post players more than 6-feet tall and two more that are within an inch or so of that mark, the Kings will be a test the likes of which the Lady Cardinals have yet to face this season.
A defensive-minded team that is averaging 47 points per game (by comparison, Randolph averages more than 60), that size has been put to good use this season. And no better example of that was its Section 5 Class C-2 championship game, where the squad, which entered the tournament as an eighth seed, blocked a whopping 24 shots against Lyons.
Leading the way for the Kings, who have won nine straight and are ranked No. 17 in the state for Class C by the New York State Sportswriters Association, is 5-foot-10 senior forward Skyler Gausney-Jones.
Though averaging a relatively humble 11 points per game this season, Gausney-Jones is the catalyst for the Kings.
"They have only one senior, and she's their go-to girl," Huntington said of Gausney-Jones. "They have (really relied) on her a lot throughout the season, but they also have about three other girls that are averaging close to 10 points a game as well. So they're more of a spread out offense."
Among those other options are a 6-foot-2 sophomore, Princella McCullough, who is tallying 8.5 points and 12.4 rebounds, and Emmanuella Edoka, a 6-foot-1 junior who has scored 8.1 points and 13.4 boards per contest.
Bishop Kearney, a private Roman Catholic High School located in suburban Irondequoit that is currently 16-8 this season (though five of those eight losses have come to teams in Class A or above), captured its second straight Section 5 Class C crown on Tuesday by toppling top-seeded Keshequa, then 21-1 overall, 50-45.
But while Bishop Kearney may have advantages in some areas, that is not to say that Huntington doesn't like his veteran squad's chances.
Whereas the Kings have size, he notes, his Lady Cardinals - winners of 11 in a row - have speed.
"We're two different styles," he explained. "We have the speed advantage and I think that if we can get the ball out (in transition) and go that's our best bet. From what I've heard from other coaches, that's the key.
"They don't think they'll be able to keep up with our tempo."
At the forefront of that speedy unit is sophomore McKenna Maycock, who is averaging 27.6 points to go along with 10.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 4.3 steals per game this season. In her last four playoff games alone, Maycock has scored a hefty 130 points.
But Maycock isn't the only threat, especially of late.
Mandy Finch (8.7 points, 6.7 rebounds), Peyton Terrette, Megan Steward and Santana France have each come through with major contributions during Randolph's run to a third straight Section 6 Class C title.
"I like our chances," Huntington said. "It's not going to be easy, but we have a lot of good things going for us. We can handle the ball well, we can handle the pressure (of big games) and we're capable of doing well on the boards."
It's rebounding, which will both deny the Kings second-chance points and allow the Lady Cardinals to use its speed advantage going the other way, that Huntington will be focusing on most in the leadup to Friday's matchup.
"The main thing is we have to do a good job on the boards," he explained. "That's a team (objective). Everyone's got to crash the boards and take care of the ball.
"That only comes with focus."