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12/17/02 Fairport stays unbeaten
 

Depleted C-C strong despite loss at home


By Jeff DiVeronica
Democrat and Chronicle


(December 18, 2002) — RIGA — After losing their two top scorers and senior leaders in consecutive weeks to illness and injury, the Churchville-Chili girls basketball team could have crawled into a hole and sighed, “Wait ‘til next year.”

But the Saints haven’t done that.

In fact, they threw a genuine scare into unbeaten Fairport on Tuesday night, forcing the more veteran visitors to show poise down the stretch, before losing 61-54 in a matchup of what can still be considered two of Monroe County’s top teams.

“When we were down I was worried,” said Fairport forward Kristen Olejarczyk, who scored a career-high 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds. “Churchville showed a lot of determination. They put up a fight. When we lost Caitlin last year we were the same way.”

 

She was referring to two-time All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year Caitlin Howe, whose torn anterior cruciate ligament last Dec. 11 forced Fairport (4-0 league, 6-0 overall) to get a glimpse into the future and what this season would be like with fourth-year starters Sabrina Boykin, Liz Hahn and Lindsay Ellis leading the way. The Saints (1-3, 3-3) have been thrown into the same situation.

 

 

MAX SCHULTE

Fairport’s Liz Hahn (31) tries to recover a rebound in front of Sabrina Boykin (22) against Churchville-Chili. C-C kept the game close most of the way. But the Red Raiders remained unbeaten with a 61-54 victory.

She was referring to two-time All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year Caitlin Howe, whose torn anterior cruciate ligament last Dec. 11 forced Fairport (4-0 league, 6-0 overall) to get a glimpse into the future and what this season would be like with fourth-year starters Sabrina Boykin, Liz Hahn and Lindsay Ellis leading the way. The Saints (1-3, 3-3) have been thrown into the same situation.

Second-team AGR guard Kelly Monahan (12.1 points per game last year) was diagnosed with mononucleosis two weeks ago and probably won’t return this season. Then last week first-teamer Joanna Patalano (19.8) went down with an ACL tear.

C-C lost 57-47 to Webster Schroeder on Saturday -- its first game without both -- and started slow Tuesday, falling behind 18-8.

But thanks to a running game that follows only one command -- coach Ryan Raftery screaming, “Go!” -- they zoomed back in it and led 27-25 late in the half on Katie Voorheis’ fast-break putback.

Voorheis, a junior guard, set career highs in points (19) and rebounds (10). In the second quarter, she scored nine points and reserve forward Angela Mancini added seven as C-C stormed back despite its new go-to player, sophomore Katie Sullivan (eight points), being locked up by Boykin, one of Section V’s stickiest one-ball defenders.

“We weren’t getting back on defense and their best offense is to fast break,” said Boykin (17 points). “I thought we’d win. I didn’t think it’d be this close.”

Olejarczyk, the lone rookie starter, was the pick-me-up Fairport needed in the third quarter. It missed its first nine shots, failing to look inside where Ellis (six points, 10 rebounds) and Hahn (11-10), could do damage. But Olejarczyk hit back-to-back jumpers and also made a steal that led to Boykin’s transition layup. The Raiders built a 44-37 lead by canning eight of their next 11 shots.

C-C crept back to 46-43 early in the fourth, but Olejarczyk sandwiched two baskets around a 3-pointer by Josa Hanzlik. C-C trailed 58-54 with just 51 seconds left, but Hahn scored the final three points, including an excuse-me layup at the buzzer.

Young mistakes won’t disappear right away for the Saints. The defending Section V Class AA tournament champions start three sophomores.

They had two five-second inbound violations and also committed a silly foul on Hanzlik on a key late possession, as Hanzlik attempted a 3-pointer. She swished all three free throws. But Raftery liked what he saw Tuesday.

When asked how he felt afterward, he said: “I know we’ll be ready come March.”

E-mail address: jdiveron@DemocratandChronicle.com