By Dan Scotchmer
CANANDAIGUA - The Jamestown Lady Raiders and the Gates-Chili Spartans battled back and forth for 32 minutes, but the Spartans used a 13-0 spurt in the fourth quarter to deliver the decisive blow and slip past Jamestown, 68-61, in the Class AA Far West Regionals on Saturday at Finger Lakes Community College.
Jamestown’s Chrisanna Green drives to the basket on a breakaway during Saturday’s Class AA?Far West Regional against Gates-Chili at Finger Lakes Community College. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Scott Reagle
Assistant Ken Ricker was coaching the Lady Red Raiders in place of head coach Tim Anderson.
P-J photo by Scott Reagle
Maxine Williams of Jamestown drives around Gates-Chili’s Adriana Rutledge during Saturday's Class AA Far West Regional. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Scott Reagle
The Lady Raiders held a 53-47 advantage early in the fourth, but the Spartans rattled off the next 13 points to retake the lead before withstanding one final surge from JHS to advance to the state final four for the second straight year.
"It was a great game with an exciting atmosphere They had the big punch in the first and a big punch in the fourth. To have a six-point lead and lose it before fighting back, it was very rewarding.'' JHS assistant coach Ken Ricker said.
Ricker was filling in for head coach Tim Anderson, who missed the game due to the impending birth of his first child.
Chrisanna Green paced the Jamestown attack with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Payton Butts contributed 18 points and five rebounds. Maxine Williams was the only other Red Raider in double figures, finishing with 15 points and six boards.
While the game ended up being a seesaw affair, it looked like the Spartans might run away with it early.
After trading baskets to start the game, Gates-Chili surged ahead with a 10-0 run, including six points from senior Cierra Dillard, who is headed to UMass next year. However, a 30-second timeout allowed the Lady Raiders to regroup and stop the run.
"We were just trying to get the girls to relax," Ricker said of his message during the timeout. "You're going to have that burst of energy, and it sort of takes your breath away. You can get knocked out right there. We were just trying to convince them that it is a long game."
The message worked as Butts connected on a 3 from the wing and Green and Anne Campion both hit a pair of free throws to cut the deficit in half by the end of the quarter.
In the second, Dillard continued to do most of the damage for the Spartans, connecting from long range and driving through the lane, to push the lead to 30-21 midway through the period. However, the Raiders had an answer in the form of Butts, who almost single-handedly brought the Raiders back into the game.
The junior hit a floater in the lane and connected on a 3 on back-to-back possessions to cut into the lead. Following a layup by Dillard, Butts drilled another 3, and Green buried a jumper to make it 32-31.
After another defensive stop, Butts hit her third triple of the quarter right before the buzzer to send JHS into the break with a 34-32 advantage.
"Peyton stepped up in a lot of big games this year," Ricker said. "Teams have tried to take Anne away, and they were going to the way they were playing Somebody else was going to have to step up, and it was nice that Peyton was ready to do it."
After the intermission, the teams continued to trade blows with neither able to gain much separation. The Spartans and Raiders exchanged the lead six times in the third with the largest margin just three points to allow Jamestown to maintain its two-point advantage entering the fourth.
It appeared as though JHS might have the Spartans on the ropes, getting two free throws from Green and a putback by Williams to stretch the lead to six in the early going. The Spartans answered the bell one more time, and it proved to be the decisive run.
A basket by Sedria Thomas and a 3 from Deja Johnson cut the advantage to one before the Spartans got four from Dillard and Oechsle to make it 60-53.
Jamestown would battle back behind four points from Green a 3 by Williams to cut it to 61-60 with 39 seconds remaining; however, the Spartans connected on 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to ice away the game.
"It is always good to overcome obstacles, and we've definitely overcome a lot this year," Gates-Chili coach Tara Graziadei said. "Any time you get to this type of level, you expect great competition. Jamestown made almost every shot you could put up. So, it was a battle right to the end."
It is the fifth time since 2006 that the Lady Red Raiders have won a sectional title and advanced to the Far West Regionals, but each time JHS has seen its season come to an end at the hands of a Section 5 foe, dropping contests in 2006, 2007 and 2008 to Rush Henrietta before falling to Gates-Chili the past two seasons.
Despite the setback, the Lady Red Raiders are well positioned to make another run next season with all five starters returning and only three seniors graduating from this year's squad.
"We have an incredible junior class." Ricker added. "They have a chance to really make their mark I think they know there is a real chance to make the next step. While we would've liked to today, it didn't happen, but that's something we'll look for next year."
Campion 0 2 2, Butts 7 0 18, Green 7 5 20, Mosley 1 0 2, Coleman 2 0 4, Williams 6 1 15, Totals 23 8 61.
Johnson 3 1 8, Lacy 1 0 2, Heiler 1 5 8, Ad. Rutledge 3 0 6, J. Oechsle 6 0 12, Dillard 11 4 30, Thomas 1 02, Totals 26 10 68.
3-point goals: Butts 4, Green, Williams 2, Johnson, Heiler, Dillard 4.
Jamestown 12 22 15 12 - 61
Gates-Chili 17 15 15 21 - 68