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02/06/03 Fairport tips Penfield for Division I crown
 

By James Johnson
Democrat and Chronicle

(February 5, 2003) — PERINTON — When Fairport’s usual path to victory was blocked, the Red Raiders once again found another way to win.

Kristin Olejarczyk, normally not option No. 1 in Fairport’s offense, scored 14 points on Tuesday to help the unbeaten Red Raiders hold off Penfield 52-47 and clinch the Monroe County Division I girls basketball title.

With Penfield paying close attention to Fairport forwards Liz Hahn and Lindsay Ellis, Olejarczyk provided 12 of her points in the second half.

“Scoring points isn’t the whole game,” said Olejarczyk. “I try to have a better defensive game than an offensive game, but points always help.”

Olejarczyk was one of 10 players honored duringFairport’s senior night. She scored eight points to fuel a 12-4 push during a five- minute run that put the Red Raiders (11-0 league, 17-0 overall) in control of the game.

“She’s a great standstill shooter,” said Hahn, who finished with eight points. “She found her spots and she got hot.”

MAX SCHULTE


Penfield’s Jacklyn LeBlanc makes this basket in the first half as Fairport’s Josa Hanzlik, left, and Ashley McMillen look on. McMillen led all scorers with 17 points for Penfield.

The Patriots, who trailed by 14 points early in the fourth quarter, closed to within four points in the final half minute of regulation.

Fairport’s experience showed again however, as they made four free throws, and a layup by Olejarczyk in the final 1:13 helped keep the Red Raiders ahead.

Fairport has lost four league games since the 1996-97 season.

“We’ve been a family for so long,” Olejarczyk said. “We started playing together when we were really young and have worked our way up to varsity.

“We’ve grown up with each other. We know we can hit the big shots when we need them.”

That type of confidence is valuable, and it is something the Patriots would like to get their hands on.

The Patriots (9-2, 14-3) were on a nine-game win streak before their rematch with Fairport, but once again they could not find a way to beat Monroe County’s top team.

Penfield won five games in a row to open the season, but were handled at home 62-54 by Fairport on Dec. 20. Honeoye Falls-Lima gave the Patriots their other loss.

Fairport, like any team, thrived off second- and third-chance shots in the first meeting with the Patriots. This time, Penfield players hustled after more rebounds and cut down on the number of putback baskets for the Red Raiders.

The Patriots also surrounded Hahn and Ellis (nine points) every chance they could, especially in the first half.

Every time any Red Raider touched the basketball while standing near the basket, at least two defenders were there to pester.

Instead of the 16-point deficit they faced in the first game, the Patriots were even with the Red Raiders at halftime, 22-22.

“They definitely did a better job defensively than the last time,” Hahn said. “Lindsay and I usually set the tone.”

Instead of sagging, Fairport’s offense picked up in the third quarter. Olejarczyk scored six consecutive points during Fairport’s key run on mid-range jump shots.

Penfield failed to score during a four-minute span in the quarter and went 4:43 without a field goal. “We didn’t give up any intensity,” said Penfield junior Jackie LeBlanc. “Our shots just weren’t falling.”

Only two of Penfield’s 11 attempts from the floor went down in the quarter. The Patriots trailed 48-38 before a 6-0 run put them within striking distance of the lead.

After Ashley McMillen (17 points) made two free throws, Fairport’s lead was 48-44 with 27.9 seconds remaining.

Red Raiders point guard Sabrina Boykin first beat Penfield’s defensive pressure after the inbounds pass, then made both free-throw attempts when the Patriots fouled her.

A travel call against Penfield’s Kayleigh Duda (10 points), put the Patriots in a no-win situation.

E-mail address: jjohnson@DemocratandChronicle.com