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02/22/03 Penfield cruises into semifinals

A 24-2 run pushes Patriots past Brockport in 'AA' quarters

By Jeff Diveronica
Democrat and Chronicle

(February 22, 2003) — PENFIELD — Thirty-two minutes.

That’s the length of a regulation high school basketball game. It’s also what the Penfield girls basketball team has talked about all season.

“We’ve really been concentrating on 32 minutes of being all intense, all the time,” guard-forward Ashley McMillen said.

The third-seeded Patriots turned in such an effort on Friday night, burying No. 6 Brockport 58-35 in a Section V Class AA Tournament quarterfinal game that many expected to be a lot closer.

Penfield (17-4) beat the Blue Devils (10-11) by seven and five points in their Monroe County Division I regular-season games.

But a smart, sagging defense negated Brockport’s size advantage.

 

JAMIE GERMANO

Penfield’s Alyssa Nugent (21) shields Brockport’s Gabrielle Boley from the basketball during their Section V Class AA quarterfinal on Friday night.

The Patriots’ superior quickness also helped force 23 turnovers, and a devastating 24-2 surge that bridged the second and third quarters knocked out the Blue Devils.

It turned a 21-15 lead into a 45-17 cushion and was highlighted by McMillen’s eight straight points to open the second half. The versatile senior and junior point guard Danielle Graunke each scored 16 points for Penfield.

The Patriots will need another complete game in Tuesday’s semifinals at Webster Schroeder. The Patriots play at 6 p.m. against No. 2 Greece Athena (18-3), which won its Feb. 8 meeting 57-55 in overtime. That was one of those games in which Penfield failed to close the deal.

It led by three points with 1.3 seconds left in regulation and Athena had the length of the floor to go. But Katie Pauly’s inbounds pass to near halfcourt found its way into the hands of teammate Lyndsey Gallina. Her 3-point prayer from 35 feet beat the buzzer and banked in to force OT.

“It was pretty amazing,” Penfield coach Mark Vogt said.

There was no such drama Friday. After an 11-day layoff, he was worried his team would come out flat.

“But the kids were loose, they were focused,” he said. “Ashley’s just a tremendous leader. She knows how to get the girls going and they listen to her and respect her.”

They also followed a three-page scouting report to the letter. The Patriots flooded the lane so 6-foot sophomore Gabrielle Boley and 6-1 junior Jennifer Leasure didn’t have room to operate. Penfield predominantly played a collapsing 2-3 zone but mixed in some man-to-man.

“Kayleigh Duda did a great job helping on Boley,” the 6-foot McMillen said of the 5-9 Duda, a freshman who scored 11 points and added six steals.

Alyssa Nugent, a 6-foot junior, also helped down low and Brockport couldn’t buy a basket from the perimeter to loosen Penfield’s defense. It made just 3 of 17 shots in the second quarter.

“They just sit in the paint. It’s not really a box-and-one (defense),” coach Kathy Boughton said. “You try to run a man offense or a zone offense and nothing works.”

E-mail address: jdiveron@DemocratandChronicle.com