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Fairport trips Churchville-Chili

The Red Raiders face Rush-Henrietta in AAA final.

Jeff DiVeronica
Staff writer

(February 24, 2005) Fairport and Churchville-Chili have met in the girls basketball playoffs in four of the past five seasons, and Fairport has been the favorite in most of those matchups.

But their roles were reversed in Wednesday's Section V Tournament Class AAA semifinals.

C-C was the top seed with a more veteran lineup and 13-game winning streak. Fairport was the No. 4 seed.

"We were 3-17 last season. No one expected us to do well," center Julie Marriott said. "We knew we had nothing to lose."

They played that way, too.
JAMIE GERMANO staff photographer
Churchville-Chili senior guard Katie Sullivan, center, tries to control a loose ball despite pressure from Fairport's Caitlin McKinnon (left) and Laura Sampson.
The Red Raiders used consistent production in the paint all night from Marriott, a third-quarter boost from Mallory Kennedy and stingy second-half defense to upset C-C, 60-47, at Roberts Wesleyan College.

Fairport (14-6) will play No. 2 seed and defending champion Rush-Henrietta in Monday's 8:30 p.m. title game at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. The Red Raiders won their last crown in 2001, after capturing three straight from 1997-99 with star guard Caitlin Howe.

"Mallory and Julie, they're our two seniors and we rely a lot on them down the stretch," first-year coach Scott Forrest said. "They did a great job."

Marriott and Kennedy combined for 24 of Fairport's 32 points in the second half. Marriott finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds and Kennedy connected for 14 of her 16 points after the break.

The teams split games decided by three points in Monroe County Division I play, and C-C surged to leads of 9-2 and 21-16 early Wednesday, as senior guard Katie Sullivan and the Saints (16-4) fast-breaked their way behind the defense. Sullivan scored 13 of her 17 points in the first half, but mustered only four free throws in the second. Fairport's defense limited her touches.

It held C-C below 53 points for only the third time.

"We didn't really do anything different, we just tried to emphasize team defense," Forrest said. "I told them we needed to rotate a little quicker so when Sullivan did drive we got the ball out of her hands."

Saints junior center Chatanie Williams also scored only six points, well below her average, and the Red Raiders rebounded aggressively as a team.

Her last basket, with 3:45 left in the third, gave C-C a 37-35 edge, but then Kennedy scored eight points, hitting a pair of jumpers and a putback, in an 11-0 Raiders' run that produced a 46-37 lead with 6:57 to go.

"I was kind of waiting for something to happen," she said.

Turnovers and missed shots hurt the Saints' comeback bid. Coach Ryan Raftery pointed out his team took 68 free throws in its first two games against Fairport, but shot only 17 (made 14) Wednesday.

"The game was called entirely differently than the first two," he said. "But Fairport has a nice team. They work extremely hard and play good man-to-man defense."

No. 2 Rush-Henrietta 58, No. 3 Penfield 40: In a rematch of last year's title game, R-H topped Penfield for a third time this season by double digits.

Senior guard Lindsay Dakin and freshman forward Shenise Johnson each scored 16 points for the Royal Comets (16-4), who beat Penfield (14-6) by 26 and 12 points in regular-season play. Juniors Kayleigh Duda and Heather Montgomery each had 12 points for the Patriots.

"They make us play their style," said Penfield coach Mark Vogt, whose club had problems with turnovers and shooting early and fell behind 17-4. "Their press forced us into a faster game."

Johnson, who grabbed 12 rebounds, and forward Onica Jones were also too strong for the Patriots down low. "Johnson's a terror on the boards and we didn't do a good job," Vogt said.

After a 9-2 Penfield spurt closed the gap to 19-13, R-H closed the second quarter with a 10-3 run and led by double figures the final 2 1/2 quarters.

"We played very well as a team," said Dakin, who hit two 3-pointers as R-H pulled away in the third quarter. "We passed the ball a lot and when you do that it's easier to make the shots when they're open.

"Then that opens everything else up."