Davenport girls cruise past South Kortright in crossover game

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By John Bernhardt
The Davenport girls’ basketball team unleashed a dizzying display of hardwood skills Friday night in the Delaware League crossover championship game played before a packed house at SUNY Delhi.
New York’s top ranked girls Class D team used a little bit of everything in besting South Kortright, 45-31, to take the title. A stealthy full-court press, varied inside and outside offensive play, and a healthy dose of patience with the ball proved too much for the Mountain League Champions to overcome.
Behind the gutsy play of junior forward Renee Craft, South Kortright battled evenly in the early going. Craft opened the game’s scoring receiving a pass on the right baseline and using a one-dribble move towards the middle to nail a pull-up set shot.
Senior Amanda Toombs used a lob pass from the left corner hitting all-league center Samantha Meyerhoff at the blocks for Davenport. Meyerhoff was fouled and hit one-of-two to get the Wildcats on the board. Another Wildcat senior, Chelsea Haight made the first of several steals, picking off an inbound pass on the Davenport press and converting a lay-up for her team’s first lead of the game. But, Kraft answered again for SK taking a pass at the three-point arch and using a two-dribble move to hit a shot at the left elbow swinging the lead back to the Rams.
Junior Jackie Gilley gave Davenport back the lead hitting a jumper from in tight, about six feet to the right of the lane. The Wildcats executed a textbook example of fast break basketball when Meyerhoff pulled down a long defensive rebound, pushed the ball hard down the middle of the floor, dished a pass to Haight along the right wing, with the senior guard finding Lauren Rider for a shot at the left elbow and a 7-4 Davenport lead.
But, the Mountain Division Champions were up for a fight. The Rams used an out-of-bounds play to find senior Cassie McMullen alone at the right block for a score. McMullen was fouled and completed the old fashioned three-point set to even the score at 7-7.
Gilley changed sides of the court to hit another short inside shot, this time from the left of the lane. Meyerhoff stole the ball, drove the lane and was fouled. The Wildcat center hit both shots giving her team a four-point advantage. Craft countered using a pump fake from the inside to set up a Rams’ field goal. But, a Meyerhoff foul shot and a Lauren Hotaling three-point bomb from the right wing just before the horn, extended the Davenport margin to 15-9 at the quarter break.
SK made a stand in the second quarter battling the Upper Division Champions basket for basket. Craft continued to show her grit by putting back the fourth of four straight Ram offensive rebounds for the quarter’s opening score.
Davenport used an inside Meyerhoff banker off an offensive rebound and two foul shots by Toombs to stretch their lead to eight, but SK refused to crumble. Craft drove full court on a fast break hitting Nikki Holdridge for a score from the corner, and then buried a long three-pointer of her own to shrink the Davenport advantage to 19-16.
The SK flurry was answered quickly when Toombs dropped in a three-point bomb at the other end of the court. A round of foul shots, one by SK’s Grant and two by Davenport’s Meyerhoff followed pushing the Wildcat lead back to seven. But, SK’s Tallulah Guadagnino countered with a set shot from the left elbow to send the teams to the lockers at intermission with Davenport ahead, 24-19.
The teams traded baskets after the halftime break before Davenport ran off nine points in a row to grab a 14-point, 35-21 lead. The Wildcats press forced several turnovers, and Davenport cranked their fast break game into full gear during the run. The third quarter scoring spree proved to be too much for South Kortright to overcome as Davenport coasted to a 45-31 decision.
Grant and Meyerhoff shared game high scoring honors hitting 16 apiece. Meyerhoff dominated play around the glass with Grant displaying an accurate shooting touch from afar. Amanda Toombs reached double figures for Davenport with 10.