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IAC GIRLS BASKETBALL: S-VE FALLS VICTIM TO HOT-HANDED EDISON (2021-02-25)

BY TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
ELMIRA HEIGHTS — Edison couldn't seem to miss during the third quarter here Thursday evening, rallying past and pulling away from Spencer-Van Etten for a 65-38 IAC victory.

The Spartans shot lights out in a 25-point burst, while at the same time, the S-VE offense got sidetracked.

"They shot about 80 percent in that third quarter, from everywhere," S-VE coach Justin Cole. "We weren't shifting well in the zone. We weren't recovering. They shot 80 percent, but they had a lot of wide open shots too.

"On offense, first half we really worked the ball. We looked inside. We got the ball inside to outside. The girls were open and we really got away from it. I think girls were open on the inside. We have some good post players, but we didn't get them the ball in the second half. We weren't looking for it.

Payton Littlefield and Gianna McGee drained two 3-pointers apiece to spark the surge, and each player scored eight points as Edison turned a 26-24 halftime deficit into a 49-34 cushion.

After Lexi Moore's basket tied the game at 26, Sydney Presher and Adriana Newman scored back-to-back bucket to push the Panther lead to 30-26 with just over 6 1/2 minutes remaining in the period.

That's when things began to unravel for the visitors as McGee and Littlefield wrapped treys around a pair of free throws from S-VE's Hannah Martinez, giving the Spartans their first lead of the night, at 34-32.

Martinez's foul shots would be the last points Spencer would score for five minutes while Littlefield and McGee would knock down one more trey apiece to help Edison build a 47-32 advantage.

Martinez ended the drought with a field goal with 1:02 left in the period and the Spartans would go into the fourth quarter up, 49-32.

"I think we might have got comfortable and let down," Cole said. "It was good resilience on TAE's part. They stayed in it. They didn't get down. They fought back really well. Like I said, they shot lights out in that third quarter."

S-VE's struggles spilled over into the final frame as Edison scored the first nine points. The Panthers endured another scoring drought, this one lasting almost 6 1/2 minutes before a Sophia Dutra basket with 1:43 to go in the game.

The outcome looked different at the game's onset as the Panthers grabbed an 11-7 lead in the first quarter behind Dutra's five points. Four consecutive free throws from the Spartans kept things close.

The second quarter continued to go S-VE's way as Abigail Bunce pumped out five points and Rhiana Lawrence knocked down a three to push the Panther advantage to 19-9.

Edison countered with a bucket from McGee and a trey by Hannah Smith to cut the lead five, but a pair of Newman free throws made it 21-14 midway through the quarter.

Consecutive threes by Littlefield and Smith cut the gap down to 21-20, but Lawrence nailed her second trey of the period to put S-VE up, 24-20.

A McGee field goal and a pair of Littlefield free throws tied the game with just under a minute remaining in the half, but Martinez popped in a pair of foul shots with 6.6 seconds on the clock to give S-VE a 26-24 edge at the break.

Dutra paced the Panthers with 11 points while Lawrence scored eight more, including two threes. Bunce chipped in with seven, and Martinez and Newman added six apiece. Bunce added seven rebounds and two assists, Dutra dished out three assists and grabbed three boards, and Martinez and Newman handed out two assists each. Ashleigh Morais contributed one blocked shot.

Littlefield led all scorers with 22 points while McGee and Smith contributed 13 each as Edison improved to 3-3.

"It's tough, only having one practice since last Wednesday because we were out because of COVID for a while," said Cole, whose team slipped to 1-2. "Not making excuses, but it's tough to get a team ready to play with only one practice. We played two games this week and we've had one practice since last Wednesday. Luckily though, we practice again tomorrow and play them again on Saturday and get after it."

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IN PHOTO 1: S-VE's Abigail Bunce (13) and Edison's Hannah Smith. ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.

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