At least for a brief while, the Skaneateles girls basketball team could entertain the notion that it could topple undefeated, defending champion South Jefferson in Tuesday night’s Section III Class B quarterfinal in Adams.
But the Spartans, as it has done so many times during its decade-long run at the top (nine sectional titles in 11 years), met the challenge and turned it back, leading to a 60-36 Lakers defeat and the end of its 14-6 campaign.
Skaneateles appeared to carry two distinct advantages going into this game. With the likes of Joanna Dobrovosky, Mary Buck and Joanna Dean in the middle, the Lakers had a size advantage it though it could exploit.
Plus, Skaneateles had played just a few days earlier, eliminating Marcellus 41-23 in the opening round on Feb. 15. South Jefferson, meanwhile, had not played in two weeks.
Perhaps sensing this rust, the Lakers did convert some early baskets, and were within three, 14-11, going to the second quarter.
Once it settled down, though, South Jefferson turned up its trademark defense. In particular, the trio of Austin Stevens, Brooke VanCoughnett and Quincey Zimmerman stood up to Dobrovosky, Buck and Dean in the paint, combining for 23 rebounds.
As this went on, the Spartans’ Clarissa Perry kept burning the Lakers with her outside shots, especially in a 19-6 second-quarter run that helped the hosts get away.
Perry earned all of her 21 points through seven successful 3-pointers. Stevens, with 14 points and nine rebounds, and VanCoughnett, with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists, offered inside balance.
No one on Skaneateles matched the Spartans’ top figures. Dobrovosky had nine points, six of them from free throws, while Brittany Welch also got nine points and Elizabeth Lane added eight points.
Skaneateles should remain a contender in 2013-14 with Dobrovosky, Lane, Nicole Beatson, Sarah Tomlinson and Ali Tomlinson back, though the departure of Buck, Dean and Welch will test the team’s depth.