SECTION IV GIRLS BASKETBALL: NEWARK VALLEY REPEATS, WINS CLASS B CROWN
(2023-03-05)By TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
BINGHAMTON — The Newark Valley girls basketball team took control of the third quarter and went on to defeat Chenango Forks, 51-35, in the Section IV Class B championship game at Visions Veterans Memorial Arena here Sunday.
“This year is so special,” NV coach Greg Schweiger said. “Last year we were supposed to do it and we did it. This year, we didn't know coming into the year how this season was going to turn out. We knew we could do it, but these girls, they performed so well all season.
“They were on a mission and I couldn't be prouder of a group of kids, prouder of a team, to fight, and that group of kids from Forks, an excellent defensive team, well-coached, scrappy. They made us earn it.”
With the Cardinals leading, 23-17, Jasmine Graham converted a traditional 3-point play just two minutes into the period.
Just over a minute later, Aubrey Kwiatkowski knocked down a 3-point shot.
Cha Gardner canned a trey, then turned around and grabbed a steal in the paint following Forks’ inbound pass and put it in for a 34-22 lead.
Hayley Beebe closed out the quarter with a 3-ball and NV took a 37-25 into the fourth.
“We'll call that learning from experience,” Schweiger said. “We talked about our bad third quarter in the last game and the fact that we were up and then we were flat in the third, we weren't going to let that happen here.
“The third quarter is where you decide whether you're going to seize control or let the other team back in and that was really our focus, and we made some shots. I thought that was the turning point of the game for sure.”
A pair of threes by Maggie Warpus in that quarter kept the Blue Devils’ slim hopes alive.
A pair of free throws and a steal and layup from Beebe wrapped around a Jasmine Graham basket made it 43-25 in the first 2:10 of the final stanza, then Alyssa Specchio drained a pair of threes.
NV’s final eight points of the game came at the free throw line as Beebe went 7-for-8 and Graham was 1-for-2 during the final 3:36. Forks managed just two baskets during that same time frame.
The Cardinals scored the game’s first six points and it appeared to be another Newark Valley sleeper, but the Devils regrouped and closed the gap to 10-7 at the end of the first period.
Warpus quickly made it a one-point game in the second quarter. After she kept the margin at a single point midway through the period, Jasmine Graham and Gardner connected for consecutive buckets, and Kalyna Graham followed with a trey to make it a 21-13.
Adrianna Finta hit a jumper to push the lead 23-14, but Specchio hit a three with 30 seconds left in the half to make it 23-17 before the break.
Beebe led the way with a game-high 18 points and went 11-for-12 at the free throw line. She also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out four assists, but did much more in this battle. Schweiger praised Beebe’s effort in taking control of the game.
“I feel like our advantage in these close games, these championship games, is our general,” he said. “You're going to get her the ball. Things are going to get run properly. She's going to go to the foul line and ice the game. Her composure is unshakable and she just had a tremendous game on a big stage.”
Jasmine Graham contributed a dozen points and grabbed six rebounds, Gardner scored nine points and pulled down 12 boards, Kalyna Graham added five points, Finta had four points and Kwiatkowski tacked on three points.
Warpus led Forks (16-6) with 11 points and Specchio had eight.
Newark Valley (22-0), the state runner-up in Class C last year, faces Section III champ Cortland (20-4) Saturday at 2:45 p.m. at Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena.
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