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IAC GIRLS BASKETBALL: TIOGA RALLIES PAST CANDOR IN BACK-AND-FORTH BATTLE (2021-02-15)

BY TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
CANDOR — Tioga overcame offensive struggles to post its first victory of the season Monday, rallying past Candor, 38-33, in IAC action here.

"It wasn't pretty when it went in and we made some foul shots at the end that we didn't make in the first half and third quarter," Tioga coach Joe Robinson said.

"We were heavy with our half-court defense," Candor coach Carl Kanoff said. "They banked two threes and we put Olivia Ayers on the line a couple times when we shouldn't have.

"Defensively, it was fine. It was just offense. We missed too many shots from the outside, too many shots from the wing, and missed a ton of free throws again.

Eve Wood sparked the win, scoring 14 of her game-high 16 points in the second half.

A strategy shift helped her find her groove.

"I kind of spread the court out a little bit and told her if she could go to the basket then go to the basket, and that's what she did," Robinson said. "She made some tough lay-ups in there."

The Tigers trailed, 16-15, heading into intermission having made just five of 16 field goal attempts while coming away empty on 10 3-point tries.

Tioga never trailed by more than three points and came back to exchange leads with the Indians three times in the last 2 1/2 minutes of the third period.

Down, 25-22, the Tigers went up a point with 1:15 left in the quarter on a Wood basket and a pair of free throws from Olivia Ayers. Candor would counter for a 27-26 edge on single free throws by Brooke Wilcox and Cassie Doane.

Wood would come back with a trey with 38 ticks on the clock for a 29-27 advantage, but Wilcox went to the line about 15 seconds later, sinking two foul shots to knot the score heading into the final frame.

Braelyn Hornick grabbed a loose ball in the paint and converted a lay-up for the first points of the fourth quarter then, a little over two minutes later, Wood's coast-to-coast burst with a rebound tied the score at 31. She gave the Tigers the lead for good, 32-31, with a free throw less than a minute later.

Tioga was unable to take advantage of a Wood steal moments later and Candor was unable to get points following a Tiger foul and an Indian fast-break.

Wood would make it 34-31 in the final two minutes, but a long Wilcox jumper with 1:35 to go would cut the lead to 34-33.

The Tigers' Ari Manwaring pulled down a key rebound which led to a pair of Wood free throws with 22.6 seconds remaining, then Reese Howey sealed the win with a bucket at the four-second mark.

Wood was held in check in the first half, scoring just two points, but Julia Bellis knocked down two field goals, Howey had another and Ayers hit a pair of free throws for an 8-7 edge after a quarter.

Hornick and Doane drained one trey apiece, and Hornick added a free throw to account for the Candor scoring in period. Doane's three turned an 8-4 deficit into a one-point difference at 1:10 of the opening stanza.

Well aware of the threat Hornick poses, Robinson had his defense tighten up on Hornick following the first quarter.

"We played a box-and-one on Braelyn for three quarters of the game," he said. "She scored like the first seven points, so we took that away and were able to hold them down."

"They went an and-one on Braelyn, so we told her she was going to have to make her points from rebounding and the girls would have to step up, and hit the open shots," Kanoff added. "We got the open shots. We just weren't hitting them."

In the second quarter — which saw six lead changes — Wilcox nailed a pair of free throws in the first minute for a 9-8 edge, then Bellis fed Wood for her first bucket of the night two minutes later. Wilcox gave the lead back to the Indians at 11-10 only to have Ayers tie things up at the charity stripe.

Cadriana Edwards put the advantage back in Candor's hands with a basket, but Ayers hit two more free throws at 2:09 to tie the game, then added a basket 31 seconds later for a 15-13 Tioga lead.

Wilcox pumped out a trey with 1:05 on the clock to give the Indians their 16-15 halftime advantage.

Howey opened the third period with Tioga's first five points and Wilcox sandwiched a bucket between a pair of Shelby Swartz baskets before Wood's first points of the second half tied the score at 22.

Ayres and Howey contributed nine points apiece to the Tioga win, and Bellis added four points. Bellis also pulled down nine rebounds, Wood added six boards and Manwaring had five while Ayers blocked two shots and went 7-for-12 at the stripe.

Wilcox paced Candor with a career-high 14 points, went 5-for-8 at the line and had five rebounds. Hornick added nine points and made four of her six free throw attempts. She also hauled in 19 boards. Doane scored four points and grabbed six boards, and Kadrianna Foster, Edwards and Swartz pitched in with a basket apiece. Swartz also contributed 11 boards and dished out two assists, and Edwards added five rebounds..

Candor (0-3) and Tioga (1-2) are slated to meet again Thursday, although that game is subject to change due to the weather.

While the win is nice to have, Robinson is aware that second meeting could go either way.

"I think we're pretty even," he said. "Neither one of us have a lot of scoring power."

Kanoff noted his team will be working on shooting in preparation for game two.

"That's what we'll be doing tomorrow at practice, is some more shooting," he said. "You've got to beast the zone by shooting and we certainly didn't carry through with that.

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IN PHOTO 1: Candor's Kadrianna Foster. ... PHOTOS 1-17 BY TIM TAYLOR. ... PHOTOS 18-24 BY CATHY DOANE.

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