I’ll have a full preview with two stories, player capsules and information on the opponent in Friday’s paper, but here is a glance at what the Livingston Manor girls are up against this weekend in Troy.
Livingston Manor won the Section 9 Class D championship over Eldred on Feb. 27. For more on that game, click here for the story.
With a lack of many Class D teams in Section 9, and a lack of any Class D teams at all in Sections 1, 8 and 11, Livingston Manor, even with a 6-10 overall record, earned a bye straight to the state semifinals against undefeated Oriskany (22-0) of Section 3. Game time is 9 a.m. on Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.
One of my preview stories focuses on the four freshman on Manor’s roster. Devon Dutcher played on the varsity team last season, but the other three, Katie Rau, Emily Gorr and Jade Bivins, were playing modified one year ago. They’ve all made the leap to varsity and have adjusted well. Dutcher and Gorr are starters – Rau has started off and on – and Bivins has been a key reserve.
Manor’s top scorers are Sam Scott (13.4 ppg) and Ami Calo (6.2 ppg), but Calo might have her hands full on the defensive end on Saturday.
Oriskany has a very lengthy lineup, meaning Calo, one of the team’s most versatile defenders, will likely be tasked with helping out on Oriskany’s post players.
Franklin of Section 4 did an effective job of taking away Oriskany’s points in the paint in a state quarterfinal last week, but Oriskany uncharacteristically started to go bombs away from 3-point range. The strategy worked, as Oriskany made eight threes in the game.
Again, for more on Manor, check out Friday’s paper. In the meantime, here’s a bit of info on the very tall task that faces the Wildcats on Saturday morning.
Oriskany (22-0, Section 3)
How they got here: In the Section 3 Class D final, Oriskany defeated rival New York Mills for the fourth time this season, winning 40-37 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. The Redskins faced an undefeated Franklin team from Section 4 in the state quarterfinals at SUNY Oneonta, making eight 3-point field goals in a 51-46 victory.
Key players: Christina Graziadei, a 6-foot-1 senior forward, leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 15.2 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Graziadei, Oriskany’s all-time leading scorer, will play at Hartwick College next season. Graziadei scored a career-high 31 points and had 17 rebounds in the Section 3 championship game. In the state quarterfinals, Franklin limited Graziadei to six points and 13 rebounds, but Oriskany went to the outside shot and advanced to the state semifinals.
Jordan Sahl, a 5-foot-10 sophomore forward, isn’t far behind Graziadei in production, averaging 10.9 points and 7.6 rebounds. Senior forward Shannon VanShufflin, at 5-foot-8, leads the team with 6.3 assists per contest. Brandi Zizzi, a 5-foot-8 senior guard who averages just 2.9 points per game, made four 3-point field goals in the state quarterfinal victory over Franklin.
About Oriskany:The Redskins have won the last two Section 3 Class D titles. Oriskany fell to South Kortright in last year’s state quarterfinals. Located near the Mohawk River midway between Utica and Rome, Oriskany won all 22 games it has played this season by an average final score of 53-30.
Quotable: “I watched them play Franklin. Franklin kind of held them down, they were able to hold (Graziadei) to six points, but Oriskany still won. They dared Oriskany to shoot it from the outside and they connected. They made eight threes against them. (Oriskany) didn’t make a whole lot of threes on the year in general, but they made them when Franklin dared them to do it.” – Livingston Manor head coach Kevin Clifford
In the other semifinal
Fort Edward (22-0, Section 2) vs. Notre Dame-Batavia (21-2, Section 5)
Game time: Saturday, 10:45 a.m., Hudson Valley Community College, Troy
About Fort Edward: The Flying Forts have plenty of experience at HVCC, having won the Section 2 title on that very court a few weeks ago. This is Fort Edward’s first trip to the state semifinals. Senior forward Taylor Boucher scored 25 points in a state quarterfinal victory over Hammond.
About Notre Dame: The Rochester area will be well-represented in Troy, as all five teams from Section 5 won state quarterfinal games against Section 6 opponents. Riley Norton, Notre Dame’s only senior, scored 14 points and had six rebounds in a 70-32 victory over Sherman last weekend.
State championship game:Semifinal winners, Sunday, Noon, Hudson Valley Community College, Troy
I’ve got some highlights and interviews from Livingston Manor’s last game on YouTube. Check out the video below: