TROY — Oxford Academy not only made shots, but got them from unexpected sources. And that was something Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons wasn’t ready for.
Led by Madalyn Barrows, the Blackhawks had five players with at least six points and shot 43% from the field in winning the NYSPHSAA Class D girls’ basketball semifinal, 75-54, Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College.
For the first three minutes of the game, Bishop Gibbons (15-8) was staying with Oxford, even taking a 9-8 lead on Mia’Rose Wylie’s putback, but Oxford (22-5) then let others step into the light after the Golden Knights started to put the clamps on Barrows after she hit two early 3-pointers.
The Blackhawks got field goals from reserves Ava Benjamin and Jocie Finch, along with starter Kyla Kelsie and Barrows, eventually stretching their lead to 20-14 with 41 seconds left in the first.
Bishop Gibbons trailed by just six, 22-16, after the quarter, but they were having to adjust on the fly.
“What we saw on film and what they did were two different things,” Bishop Gibbons coach Pat Moran said. “We knew Barrows was very, very good. We knew their defensive press was very good, but those other girls stepped up and hit shots that we were going to give because, statistically, they weren’t hitting all season. Today, they did.”
In fact, Barrows — who led all scorers with 27 points, to go with nine rebounds and four steals — only made two foul shots for most of the second quarter. But she knocked down a 3-pointer and a jumper after a nice spin, consecutively, to give Oxford a 37-24 lead late in the second quarter.
Bishop Gibbons had 13 turnovers in the first half and 22 for the game, but Moran wasn’t concerned with those during the first half.
“We know we’re going to turn it over, and I don’t ever get on them for that,” Moran said. “It’s just keep playing hard. I don’t necessarily want them. We don’t play pretty basketball, we play hard basketball. We average [between] 18 and 25 turnovers a game, and we’re still able to get wins out because of our defense and they pull for each other.”
Bishop Gibbons junior Angelina Deitz said having Barrows do her thing along with the complementary players was a lot to handle.
“Our game plan was to just watch for [Barrows],” said Deitz, who had 16 points. “We knew she could shoot 3s, and she was, like, their whole team, basically. When everyone came out hitting 3s, it shocked us. We had to adjust our defense. By the third quarter, I think it was just too late.”
But not before the Golden Knights started the third quarter on a run. They went on a 9-0 run, and when Wylie’s three-point play cut Oxford’s lead to 40-36, there was some hope for the Bishop Gibbons fans.
Oxford, however, responded by draining three 3-pointers from Ella Kelsey, Barrows and Finch to re-establish control.
“They must practice passing a lot because they’re very sharp,” Wylie said. “They know exactly where they’re going, their cutting is very disciplined.”
Ella Kelsey added 14 points, with Finch scoring 11 and Kyla Kelsey nine.
“They beat us with their other four on the floor,” Moran said. “Nothing we can do about that. Props to them.”
Wylie’s double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds led Bishop Gibbons. Autumn Davis pulled down nine rebounds.
During the Golden Knights’ sectional and state run, Moran has said he originally thought this group was a year away from postseason success. So the fact that it won Section II and regional titles with only one senior left everyone feeling pretty good about next season.
“I think it’s great that we got here because nobody really expected us,” Wylie said. “Great experience for us in general. A loss is great experience, nothing wrong with a loss.”
“All I can say is I’m just so proud of this team,” Deitz said. “You know, last year we had no hope. I’m just so proud of everyone. We worked hard and never gave up,”
Oxford 22 16 17 23 — 75
Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons 16 11 12 15 — 54
Oxford scoring: Smith 2-2-6, K. Kelsey 3-2-9, Barrows 8-7-27, E. Kelsey 4-5-14, Benjamin 1-0-2, Denz 0-2-2, Finch 4-0-11, Knapp 1-0-2, Chesbro 1-0-2. Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons scoring: Deitz 5-4-16, Davis 1-0-2, Wylie 8-6-22, M.Moran 2-0-4, Kelly 1-0-2, P.Moran 1-0-2, Liverio 1-0-2, Alarcon-Mauricio 1-1-4. Team totals: Oxford 24-18-75, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons 20-11-54.
Contact Will Springstead at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @WLSpringstead.
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Categories: High School Sports, Sports