RCS girls rally past Gilboa; sectional play is next

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By John Bernhardt
Senior Night at a basketball game is about memories. With family and friends on hand, local high school basketball teams pause for a moment to say thanks to the seniors playing their final regular season home basketball game wearing their school’s colors.
Like a yearbook photo op, Senior Night is often about looking back at highlights that have already occurred. Senior Night last week in Roxbury was more about adding to that memory bank.

  Thursday night the Roxbury girls’ basketball seniors went out with a bang. The Rockets rallied from behind on at least three different occasions to edge rival Gilboa, 64-61, in overtime. The win was Roxbury’s fifth straight with the Rockets finishing their regular basketball campaign at 11-6. Roxbury will now begin to prepare for the Section IV playoffs.

   The Senior Night basketball action in Roxbury last week was anything but typical. For starters, by halftime the two teams had scored as many points as are tallied in many entire local high school games. The game saw a total of 61 foul shots with the top offensive threats from each team scorching hot from the charity stripe. Roxbury’s Kennedy Faraci would go 16-for-21 from the line with Gilboa’s Brooke Koerner a near perfect 11 of 12.

   From the tip-off, Roxbury found itself chasing the Wildcats from behind. Gilboa stormed ahead at the onset scoring 21 first period points to grab a 10-point lead.

   RCS slowly chipped away at the difference. The Rockets shaved three points off the Wildcats’ advantage by the half, trailing 37-30 by intermission. Roxbury whittled four more points away in the third frame and was down only 43-40 as the fourth period began.

   But, it seemed like every time Roxbury would make a run, they’d somehow let it get away. Gilboa surged again in the early minutes of the final quarter building up a double-digit lead with just over two minutes left in the game.

   Then, here they came again. With a couple of Shannon Sprague steals spearheading the rally, and Roxbury getting to the foul line to stop the clock, the Rockets stormed back. Faraci scored 10 of her career-high 30 points during the Rockets’ late rally. It was a Sprague basket that would tie the score, 55-55, with only six seconds to play sending the contest into overtime.

   As was the pattern, Gilboa jumped ahead immediately in the extra frame. Koerner hit two foul shots and converted a driving score to give the Wildcats a four-point lead.

   Defensive steals played a big part in Roxbury’s final rally. All seven Roxbury points in the overtime came at the foul line with Faraci dropping in three, Allyce McIntosh two, and Cristina Chiarappa and Kendal Sprague one foul shot apiece as the Rockets outlasted the Cats, 64-61.

  McIntosh found the nets for 19 points to back up Faraci’s 30-point Roxbury effort.
  Koerner led Gilboa with 26 points. Makayla Foster added 13 and Shelby Oliver 10 for the Wildcats.

   “It was a nice team effort with key contributions across the board,” said Roxbury’s assistant coach Tom Faraci. “It was a great way to end the regular season. The girls really had the gym rocking.”

Andes girls’ season ends
For the Andes girls’ basketball game, Monday night offered an opportunity to close the door on the 2013 season with a victory. Andes worked hard but a tough third quarter prevented the Mountaineer’s from earning the upset. A 14-5 Jefferson scoring spree in the period carried the Jay Hawks past the home team, 47-36.

Much of the challenge for the Mountaineer’s came from Jefferson’s 6’1” center Elissa Starheim. Starheim towered over the tallest Andes players and proved near impossible to stop around the basket. The Jay Hawk center knocked down an impressive 22 points that included a 6-of-8 effort from the foul line.

Andes followed a familiar late season script battling hard through the first half only to fall prey to a scoring drought sometime during the game’s final half. The Mountaineer’s trailed by only a bucket, 21-19, before the third quarter fall.

Shianne Coss netted 14 points to pace the Andes offensive attack. Coss also pulled down 10 rebounds. Senior Kelsey Little reached double-figures with 10 points and dished out 4 assists in her final game for Andes.

Gilboa tops RCS boys
It’s a classic local high school basketball rivalry, two neighboring schools where the kids know each other well, share social events, and battle fiercely on the basketball court. Monday’s Roxbury clash in Gilboa had all the elements of an exciting high school basketball game. The Rockets desperate for a win to secure a Section IV playoff berth and Gilboa eager to reclaim some lost promise as they ready for the postseason.

A furious fourth quarter rally would be the difference with the Wildcats outscoring their guests, 17-9, to come from behind to beat the Rockets, 46-40. Ben Standhart was a difference maker hitting two shots from behind the three-point arc in the final eight minutes. Gilboa scored five, three-point goals in the contest.

Roxbury trailed 18-15 at the half but turned the tables in the third quarter outscoring the home team 16-11 to take the lead. But, the Rockets couldn’t close the deal in the final period.

Eric Shultis totaled 15 points to lead Roxbury. Dakota Caronia and Spencer Hinkley both finished with eight.