Tioga County Sports Report
OWEGO - There are always plenty of things coaches find during a season opener that need fixing or tweaking. Owego's 64-50 victory over Ithaca Friday night was no exception.
Despite those "fix-it list" items, Indian head coach Luke McEvoy was happy with start to the season.
"Definitely pleased," he said. "A win is a win, but we did some positive things. Every night, there are going to be things that I want to do better and i just told the girls in the locker room, it's a long season and the grind starts now, and we've just got to keep working every single day."
Of course, McEvoy will be addressing the shortfalls from the opener.
"Obviously, things to work on. That's for sure. It's kind of the first thing that pops into your head," he said. "Little sloppy with the ball. Way too many turnovers.
"First game jitters for some of our younger kids coming up to varsity from JV last year. And Ithaca doesn't make things easy on you either. It's constant pressure all night long. It's definitely a good first test of the season and a lot of positives as well."
One of the pluses was the performance of Kaci Donovan. The Little Red struggled to contain the 6-foot-1 junior guard, who is closing in on 1,000 career points. Donovan put up 30 on 10-for-18 field goal shooting and 10-for-12 free throw accuracy.
Ithaca actually held her to a single basket in the first quarter, but Owego still managed to jump out to a 17-7 advantage. Much of the credit for the hot start was the play of senior guard Anna Felice, who put up nine points in the first eight minutes. Sophomore Evee Coleman, the Indians' other six-footer, dumped in a pair of buckets.
Donovan would put up eight points in the second quarter, but Ithaca wouldn't go away, outscoring the home team to keep the gap respectable at 27-20 heading into the half.
However, Donovan took control of the game coming out of the locker room. She canned five buckets and went 8-for-8 at the line as Owego matched its first-half point total of the first half.
The Indians built a 23-point cushion in the third quarter and were up, 54-36, heading into the final period of play. An 8-0 run to begin the fourth locked up the victory and Owego was able to give its reserves some much-needed minutes.
Felice would finish the game with 13 points, hitting fief her 10 field goal attempts, going 3-for-4 at the stripe, and dishing out four assists and grabbing four rebounds. Coleman would go 6-for-12 in the field goal department to end up with a dozen points. She also had five boards. And Donovan wasn't just a scoring machine, contributing seven rebounds, five assists and five steals to the triumph.
"The best thing she did early on, and then in the third quarter, in our two runs in the first quarter and third quarter, is she's starting to make her teammates better," McEvoy said. "Teams are going to key on her. We've got some other options out there as well too, and the more she looks for her teammates the more things open for her as well. It turns into an easier game for people if you can open things up for your teammates.
"She played well the second half and, all in all, our team played pretty well tonight."
Graceann Gorski led Ithaca with 18 points.
Owego hosts Horseheads Thursday.
IN PHOTO 1: Owego's Anna Felice (center). ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.
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