Thirty minutes of unrelenting defense by host OFA and Massena dictated the flow of Thursdays NAC Central Girls Basketball contest.
But a quick spurt of offense on three three-pointers just before the first half proved to be decisive as OFA (12-4, 7-3) recorded a well-earned 47-39 victory to avenge a first round loss to Massena (10-7, 7-4) and earn a share of second place in the division with Salmon River.
Ironically, the biggest offensive surge of the game followed Massena taking its only lead of the game, at 18-16, by using its outstanding help defense to trigger a series of steals.
Shannon Tooley erased the lead with a three-pointer and Meg Dodge followed with three-spots on the nest two trips down the floor which produced a 25-19 margin at intermission.
That spurt of threes proved to be the difference on the scoreboard against a Massena team which is very quick, strong on the boards and very good defensively, said OFA Coach Lynn Blevins.
But for us the big thing was 32 minutes of intense play at both ends of the court. We have played a very tough schedule and our girls have become very good at defending outstanding offensive players.
Meg Dodge (3 steals) continued as the defensive stopper and an offensive starter for the Devils as she buried four threes in scoring a game-high 17 points while matching up with the Raiders explosive scoring leader Alisha Jacobs.
Jacobs tallied nine points and provided a series of dribble-drive dishes to help the Raiders cut the difference to 38-34 with 2:49 play. The Devils, who were frustrated by close-range misses throughout the contest, answered the challenge from the inside as Felicia Barr turned an offensive rebound into a three-point play and converted off a strong move and Dodge tallied a fastbreak layup for a 43-36 lead.
Three free throws by Riley Luckie offset a long three by Jacobs in the final 1:58.
Luckie finished with 12 points with two threes, five assists and four steals; Barr delivered seven points and 13 rebounds, Susie Morrow tallied six points with 10 rebounds, Tooley contributed four points, four steals and seven rebounds and Courtney Sherwin added a free throw in the final minute for OFA which host Salon River on Monday in its Senior Night game.
Marissa Manley scored in every quarter collecting 12 points for the Raiders who received a pair of eight-point efforts from Steffanie Premo who buried two second half threes and Samantha Villnave who used three strong conversions at the goal to score her teams first six points.
Sidney Thompson added two points.
The OFA JVs won the preliminary game 52-33 with their best performance of the season according to Coach Jade Vernsey.
Our defense was outstanding tonight and it led to some nice fastbreaks which we executed very well, said Vernsey.
Taylor Perry netted eight points sparking the Devils to a 20-point first quarter and went on to score a season-high 20 points. Erin Tooley netted 12 points followed Snyder wit eight and Danielle Guimond with six. Kiera Johnson and Madi Bresett each added two. Jessica Rode tallied 12 points for Massena with Sophia Rusaw netting six and Stephanie McKeel and Jaylee Jones each adding five.
Salmon River 74, Potsdam 33: In a matchup of Class B rivals at Fort Covington, the host Lady Shamrocks (12-3, 7-3) worked their way to a 37-23 halftime lead then put the game away with a 24-6 fourth-quarter run. Abby Kelly tossed through a game-high 26 points to lead the winning effort. Taylor Francis chipped in 13 followed by Jaiden Mitchell with 12 and Kwiio King with 11.
For Potsdam (2-12, 1-9), Breanne Sapp led the way with 12 points followed by Shanielle Chambers with 10.