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IAC GIRLS BASKETBALL: MORAVIA RIDES EXPERIENCE TO CHAMPIONSHIP OVER CANDOR (2024-02-17)

Tioga County Sports Report
DRYDEN — Moravia’s veteran lineup proved to be too much against a young Candor squad in the IAC Small School Girls Basketball Championship as the Blue Devils ran away for a 70-20 at TC3 Friday evening.

“We knew it was going to be an uphill battle due to the fact we lost by 30-plus points in our first meeting and that they are a state-ranked team,” Candor coach Carl Kanoff said.

“We didn't have Nicola that first time, who is the backbone of our rebounding, so we had hoped that intangible would change the face a little bit. But the game tempo was going to revolve around breaking their pressure defense and we just weren't able to do that against their size, speed, and experience.

“That's the story of the disastrous score. But when you consider where we are age-wise, starting two freshmen and two sophomores with a freshman sixth man, and playing huge games with only six girls rostered and others with an underclassmen bench, no one can scoff at the season we had.

“Many people from the basketball community have told me that we are a year ahead of where we probably should be and that's a good thing and speaks volumes of our progress.

“Hopefully tonight is more motivating than embarrassing for the girls because one thing for sure is that one of our top goals next season has to be that we are going to be playing up here again.”

Moravia asserted its advantage in experience early. With the score tied at two following a pair of Hazel Ray free throws, the state-ranked Blue Devils erupted for 20 consecutive points before Emmi Makie halted the run on a 3-pointer with 42 seconds remaining in the first period.

Olivia Genson accounted for nine of Moravia’s 22 points in the opening quarter while Jordan Smith and Caroline Wasileski added six and five, respectively.

The Devils’ Kylee Cooper opened the second stanza with a three, then Genson scored three straight baskets as Moravia built a 35-5 cushion before a pair of Maggie Jennison free throws ended the surge.

Gabi Heim would add a trey for the Devils, then Megan Williamson and Makie would tack on field goals for the Coyotes late in the quarter as Moravia carried a 38-11 lead into the half. Genson added six points to her numbers and Heim scored five in the period.

Makie put Candor on the scoreboard to start the third-period scoring, but the Devils reeled off 17 straight points to make it 55-13.

Williamson closed out the quarter for Candor with a free throw and a bucket to make it 57-16 heading into the final eight minutes of action.

Jessalyn Jones had four points for Moravia in Q3 while Heim, Smith and Allsion Kehoe knocked down one 3-pointer apiece.

Lashley Heredia Castillo came off the bench in the fourth quarter and got in on the long-range action, and accounted for five Moravia points while Lily Heim added four points.

Moravia (17-3) and ranked ninth among the state’s Class C teams, connected for eight 3-pointers on the night. Genson was the game’s high scorer with 15 points while Smith added 11 and Gabi Heim had 10. Cooper and Wasileski tacked on seven points apiece.

The Devils’ roster includes three seniors and three juniors while the Coyotes have just one upperclassman on their roster in Jennison, who is a senior.

Nicola Soper would pull down 18 rebounds, breaking the school single season record of 342 boards held by her mother, Brittnye Ahart Soper, since 1996. She currently has 353 heading into sectionals.

Soper also had two steals and two blocks while Emmi Makie contributed seven points and four rebounds; Williamson added five points and four rebounds; and Ray chipped in with two points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal. Claire Rollins had three rebounds and Shawna Conklin tacked on two rebounds and one assist.

Candor (8-10) heads to Delhi Tuesday to play the sixth-seeded Bulldogs (13-6) in the first round of the Section IV Class C playoffs. Game time is 6 p.m.

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IN PHOTO 1: Candor’s Maggie Jennison. ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.

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