Cazenovia Even short-handed, the Cazenovia girls basketball team has plenty of will and resolve - or enough, at least, to get to the semifinal round of the Section III Class B playoffs.
It took the no. 4 seed Lakers' younger players to step up in Tuesday night's Class B quarterfinal at Buckley Gym and earn a 47-45 victory over no. 5 seed Sherburne-Earlville.
For much of the game, sophomore guard Audrey Burbidge carried the Lakers' attack, draining seven 3-pointers to account for all of her 21 points.
And it was another sophomore, Kaitlyn Gerber, who flashed open for the go-ahead basket with 10 seconds left that finally sank the Marauders' chances of a second win over Cazenovia this winter.
Going in, S-E had to feel confident, because it beat Cazenovia 70-65 on Dec. 29 during the Unadilla Valley Tournament. And that was with the Lakers' tandem of Kristie Kleine and Sally Langan present.
Neither Kleine nor Langan were here now, off on a pre-planned vacation. That forced both Burbidge and Kelsi Fredericks into the starting lineup (they had also started in the first-round win over Bishop Ludden), but both were ready for the task.
Right from the start, Burbidge took advantage of the Marauders' defensive attention on Cazenovia's main threat, Maggie Carpenter, by draining open 3-pointers. Most of them came in the first half, when the Lakers, trailing 16-15 after one period, went on a 15-8 spurt the rest of the half to move in front.
Meanwhile, Fredericks, taking over Kleine's starting spot at point guard, ran the attack and kept finding Burbidge, while also playing solid defense. That was especially needed in the second half, when Burbidge cooled off and S-E started to claw its way back.
Both Burbidge and Carpenter, who finished with 13 points, were contained in the fourth quarter, but the Marauders did not take full advantage, only managing seven points in that last frame, this despite the trio of Mikayla Solloway, Savannah Irwin and Lilly Berg each getting 12 points for the night.
This set the stage for Gerber's late basket. Like Burbidge, Fredericks and Lizzy Bigsby (who saw extended minutes off the bench), Gerber is a 10th grader, and never hit a bigger basket than the one in the waning seconds to take S-E out.
Cazenovia now faces a taller task in the Class B semifinals Saturday night at Onondaga Community College's SRC Arena, as it plays top seed and defending champion South Jefferson (19-0), who rolled past Skaneateles 60-36 in its quarterfinal.