On Saturday night at Jamestown Community College, the Sherman girls basketball team (2-0, 6-1) upended Southwestern (1-2, 3-3) 54-36 to take home the 2013 Jock Shop Shootout Tournament title.
Of course, Bridget Yaw and the Lady Wildcats shooting made the job much easier for Coach Mel Swanson.
Yaw led her team with 18 points and six rebounds while being named to the all-tournament team, and sparked an early lead for Sherman that defined the championship win.
Photo by Jay Young
Sherman’s Bridget Yaw drives to the basket during the championship game of the Jock Shop Shootout on Saturday night at Jamestown Community College.
"I would like to know what their shooting from the field was," Lady Trojans coach Anne Beck said following the game.
The Lady Wildcats had 3-point goals from five different players, with four of them scoring more than one.
"Our effort was there, but we're not used to having everyone on the floor shooting threes," Beck noted.
Not many teams are.
Every time Southwestern was able to key on one perimeter shooter, another stepped up to sink a clutch basket.
The Lady Trojans were able to conjure up a small lead in the early minutes against Sherman, but that would be the only time they were ahead.
Emily Wuebbolt opened up the night with a pair of makes from the foul line and a nifty assist to Kara Schutte, but then the Lady Wildcats started to bring the rain.
Wuebbolt totaled 10 points and seven boards in the loss, but the majority of her baskets came early.
Sherman's first long-range make came from Talia Coccarelli to give the Lady Wildcats a 7-6 lead. Shortly after, a drive to the post by Yaw increased the margin, and another trey from Natalie Houle ended the first quarter 13-6 for Sherman.
"After last night's game, we talked a lot about getting better spacing, which was poor against Ellicottville," Swanson said. "Today we were much better, and also handled the full-court pressure well."
That confidence certainly showed on the score sheet, as Sherman had only 12 giveaways on the night against a Lady Trojans team that has consistently forced turnovers throughout the first month of the season.
To begin the second period Alex Sullivan notched her lone trey of the night to bring Southwestern to within four. The senior guard finished with a nine-point performance that included three steals and three boards as well, but she saw defensive pressure throughout much of the night and struggled to find openings. After putting up 33 points against Cassadaga Valley on Friday night, Sherman was not going to give Sullivan any room to run with the tournament on the line.
Another quick three by Shenley Luden extended the Lady Wildcats' margin, and a deep 25-foot jumper from Yaw finished up the first-half push.
In the third quarter, junior forward Natalie Houle stepped up for Sherman in early minutes, drilling a 3-point goal to give the victors a decisive lead that was then built up once more by Yaw and Coccarelli.
Houle put together a repeat 12-point effort that earned her a most valuable player selection for the tournament.
In the final eight minutes, Sherman was able to sit back and enjoy the lead it had built up during the first three quarters.
Kate Myers got in on the long-range action with her only bucket of the game with minutes to play, and sealed the victory for Sherman.
Luden also earned all-tournament honors for her performance that included10 points on three baskets.
"We expected a very close game, but when our shooting from three opened up a big lead, that changed what Southwestern was able to do," Swanson said. "This was the best game we have played this year for a lot of minutes."
Sherman will now travel to meet Cassadaga Valley at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, while the Lady Trojans will entertain Maple Grove on Jan. 7.