Davis Leads NY Girls Past PA In Senior Classic Thriller

Davis Leads NY Girls Past PA In Senior Classic Thriller

By: Sam Wilson | Olean Times Herald | March 19, 2018 | Photo courtesy Paul Burdick Sports Images

PORTVILLE — The opening game of the fourth annual Big 30 Basketball Senior Classic Sunday at Portville Central School provided one of the best finishes, and closest contests of the Classic's short history.

Allegany-Limestone's Morgan Davis showed the value of having a center who makes free throws, going 2-for-2 with three seconds to play to push the New York girls ahead of Pennsylvania, 81-80, an Empire State victory sealed as Pennsy's last-second heave missed.

Davis finished with team-highs in points (18), rebounds (10) and assists (three) while pacing New York. Wellsville's Jordyn Pettit added 11 points, five boards, three steals and two blocks.

"Playing with the other girls today was really fun," Davis said. "The coach we had (Wellsville's Michelle Alvord) was really laid back so we all just had a lot of fun together. We all came in just thinking we were going to have fun and we wanted to win it ultimately. It was nice to play some different competition than just girls from New York.”

New York took a 32-21 lead with just under six minutes to play in the first half, but Pennsylvania stormed back with a 17-6 run to tie the game at 38 before NY settled for a 43-38 halftime lead. Pennsy started the second half strong, taking a 67-59 lead with 10 minutes left, before a back-and-forth final few minutes. Trailing 77-74 with two minutes to play, Alvord put her starters back in, and Davis scored five of her team’s final seven points, and dished the assist to Ellicottville’s Evelyn Cortez for the tying basket, 79-79, with 20 seconds to play. Then, a New York foul put Otto-Eldred’s Camryn Thomas at the line, where she made one of two with 10 seconds left before Davis drove to the basket and drew the last-second foul for her go-ahead free throws.

Thomas led Pennsylvania with 19 points and seven boards. Emily Fullem (Ridgway) added 16 points, Ali Cousins (O-E) had 12 and Rebecca Morgan (Northern Potter) marked five steals.

Cortez finished with 12 points for New York. New Life Christian’s Emie Taylor added eight rebounds, three steals and three blocks while Portville’s Mady Domster and A-L’s Molly Wolfgang grabbed five boards each.

“Even in the first half, that was some really good basketball,” Alvord said. “I'll be honest, I'm not as familiar with the PA girls, but I thought that No. 10, (Emily) Fullem, she was just impressive, and then No. 22, Camryn Thomas. We actually scrimmaged Northern Potter, so I was familiar with the (Kalie) Cowburn girl and I had just said she can get hot and then she hit a quick three.

“My expectation was to make it about the girls and to showcase the talent that we have in our area in the Big 30. I think that they really proved themselves tonight because I thought for both sides it was a great game.”

With 10 players to Pennsylvania’s 12 due to Franklinville’s run to the Class D state championship game, New York used five-in, five-out substitutions at each four-minute mark of the 20-minute halves. That meant Alvord could build her two lineups around her centers in Davis and Taylor.

“It was nice, just the overall feeling of the game,” Alvord said. “It makes it very easy as a coach when your sub is a five-in, five-out rotation and you have the luxury of choosing from a Morgan Davis and Emie Taylor and then the other guards on both sides, Landries and Brooke Giardini. Emily Kelley can kind of play forward and guard and then you have Jordyn Pettit who can do the same.”

The players had a short get-to-know-you practice beforehand, but played unselfishly, Alvord said.

“It's kind of a plus having three Allegany-Limestone girls, so you're going to have two (on the court) no matter what,” she said. “Then I know with Jordyn, we've played Allegany, not this year but the last few years, so they were familiar with each other. I thought they did a nice job. They were very unselfish and they had fun. That was the only thing. I said my only expectation from this is that you play hard and that you have fun and enjoy it, so of course it's more enjoyable when you win.”

Davis said it didn't take much to build chemistry for an all-star game setting.

"We have basketball in common," she said. "Obviously we're all decent players and it wasn't too hard to just click and realize 'this person's good at that, I'm good at this,' and just seeing each other's strengths and weaknesses."