C-NS girls basketball claims rematch with West Genesee
1/16/2019 6:02 AM

Now the Cicero-North Syracuse and West Genesee girls basketball teams are on even terms in this 2018-19 season, with a likelihood that one more decisive chapter remains.  With a tremendous fourth-quarter effort on both ends, the Northstars prevailed 56-45 Tuesday night in Camillus, avenging a 55-52 overtime defeat to those same Wildcats a month earlier.  Even with that earlier result, and WG’s narrow win over C-NS in the 2018 sectional Class AA final, Northstars head coach Eric Smith said his team was confident that it could turn those results around.  Doing so required an all-out, physical effort, especially from the C-NS defense, who down the stretch stifled the Wildcats right after surrendering a lead it had held most of the way.  The first task for the Northstars was containing WG’s 1,000-point scorer, Madison Smith, and it did so, holding her without a point in the first half, even as her sister, Mackenzie Smith, was putting up 14 points.  Meanwhile, C-NS benefited from having sophomore forward Julia Rowe in the lineup, something that wasn’t the case back in December. Rowe’s presence in the paint complemented Jessica Cook and made the Northstars difficult to deal with in the paint.  Despite all this, though, WG followed the script of that OT win at C-NS, falling behind 21-11 in the second quarter, but steadily eating away at that deficit through the game’s middle stages.  Aleysha Castanon, filling the role of surprise contributor that Catie Cunningham played a month ago, poured in 11 points, all in the second half. And it was Castanon’s 3-pointer that pushed the Wildcats in front 44-41 with 6:50 left.  That was WG’s last field goal. Smith said the key the Northstars’ defensive performance down the stretch was keeping the Wildcats from driving to the basket, forcing them into long-range shots or creating turnovers.  Rowe’s basket with four minutes left gave C-NS the lead for good, and she had five points in the Northstars’ decisive 15-0 run. Cook tacked on four points, giving her 20 for the night, and Morgan Siechen’s 3-pointer with 2:04 left was another key blow as she finished with 10 points.  Given the gaps seen this season between C-NS, West Genesee and the rest of the Class AA contenders, the odds that these two could have a third meeting in the Section III playoffs are quite good.


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