The speed and energy of Schenevus guard Mary Hernandez took center court Friday, as the Dragons beat Milford, 49-37.In front of a packed gym supporting the Coaches vs. Cancer game, Hernandez finished with a game-high, season-best 17 points, a handful of which came in the form of fast break layups, generated from her six steals.
“As a coach, you can’t ask for anything more out of a kid than what she gives us,” said Schenevus coach Tim Walke. “She was definitely a spark plug for us tonight.”
After a first half peppered with turnovers and five lead changes, Milford held the advantage at halftime, 26-24.
Schenevus pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring the Wildcats 15-9. Senior center Alyssa Turner scored six of her 15 points in the third. After a steal and a layup by Milford’s Addy Lawson pulled the Wildcats within one with 4:34 to go in the third, Turner answered with back-to-back baskets to give Schenevus a 37-32 lead with less than three minutes.
With a four-point lead going into the fourth quarter, Hernandez got things going right away, going coast to coast for a layup. Milford’s Savannah Eckberg followed with a jumper inside the paint to make it 41-37, but Milford couldn’t score in the final 6:26.
“Tonight’s win was big, especially for our confidence,” Walke said. “It was a good team effort.”
Walke added that the difference from the first half to the second was definitely his team’s ability to take care of the ball. “We had 14 turnovers in the first half and only seven in the second,” he said.
Milford had 17 turnovers.
“We had enough to open a bakery,” Milford coach Jim Weir said.
Weir also said sickness has affected his team. Sophomore Rileigh Griffiths did not play in the game and several other players were affected by a bug that went around the school.
“We really didn’t have a lot of energy tonight,” Weir said. “Almost all of us, including myself, are sick.”
Despite this, Weir gave credit to the Schenevus squad.
The Dragon’s defensive efforts helped them, too. Junior Jennifer Walke and Hernandez split time chasing Lawson in a box-and-one defense, holding her to 12 points. “Jen and Mary did an awesome job guarding (Addy),” Walke said.
In the first game between the teams, which Milford won 79-53 on Dec. 22, Lawson finished with 41 points.
“The problem I’ve had all year is getting my girls to believe in themselves,” Walke said. “I know what they can do out there, it’s just getting them to believe it.”
Milford is tied with Richfield Springs for the Tri-Valley East lead. Schenevus is one game back. The Tri-Valley championship games are Feb. 14 at Oneonta State.
“It’s still up in the air for sure,” Walke said.
For Milford, which hosts Richfield on Friday, Weir said he wants his team to play the way it was playing earlier in the season.
“We’ve got to try and get healthy and get crisp out there,” Weir said. “I think we are a little complacent right now; we have to get hungry again.”
Junior Taylor Olmstead finished with a double double for Milford, contributing 10 points and 14 rebounds.
On Tuesday, Milford beat Cherry Valley-Springfield, 56-34. Lawson scored 14 points, Emilie Mertz scored 13 and Olmstead had 11. Kaylie Yerdon led CV-S with 12 points.
Schenevus 49, Milford 37
MILFORD: Emilie Mertz 0 0-0 0, Rukiye Henderson 0 0-0 0, Taylor Olmsted 4 2-2 10, Savannah Eckberg 3 0-0 6, Mataiah Waters 1 0-2 2, Addy Lawson 5 0-0 12, Dawn Simmons 2 1-3 5, Corrin Lewis , Abby Freer 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 16 3-7 37.
SCHENEVUS (10-5, 8-3): Dani Ost 1 0-1 2, Mary Hernandez 8 1-6 17, Jen Walke 2 0-3 5, Cici Otero 0 0-0 0, Mimi Teft 2 1-2 5, Megan Walke 1 0-0 3, Ashley Sisson 0 0-0 0, Alyssa Turner 4 7-10 15, Dani Teft 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 19 9-22 49.
Milford ..... 12 14 9 2 - 37
Schenevus ..... 11 13 15 10 - 49
Three-point field goals: M 2 (Lawson, 2); S 2 (J. Walke, M. Walke).