Thursday, March 18, 2021

Chautauqua Lake Catches Fire, Wins Going Away At Southwestern

March 18, 2021

Chautauqua Lake 62, Southwestern 42

Another day, another section! Thursday took me to Chautauqua County, the far reaches of Section 6 & southwestern NY, for the longest drive I've had in the condensed season. Host Southwestern and visiting Chautauqua Lake have experienced success over the last month, with the teams combining for a 20-2 record in games that aren't against each other. Chautauqua Lake won a close one the first time around, and they were in the process of another tight battle most of the way Thursday, but the Thunderbirds put their stamp on the game's later stages to break it open and earn a quality road victory heading into sectional season.

Lily Woodis got it going in the 2nd half and led Chautauqua Lake with 15 points.

The Trojans got on the board first with a Sofia Genareo (Southwestern 2021) three, but Chautauqua Lake quickly responded with a 9-2 run - five from Alexis Jacobson (Chautauqua Lake 2021) - to gain an early lead. The Thunderbirds' early balance was offset by Genareo's 1st quarter exploits; her 10 points allowed Southwestern to stay within three at 16-13 through the first eight minutes. The 2nd quarter turned into a tug-of-war, as 8 of the 11 scoring plays resulted in a tie or lead change. It started when the teams exchanged the lead on buckets from Genareo and Lily Woodis (Chautauqua Lake 2022), which started a stretch of five straight lead changes. Reece Beaver (Southwestern 2024) hit a pair of treys in the frame, with both of them giving Southwestern a two point lead. The latter was the last field goal of the half, and the Trojans went into the locker room up 27-25.

Chautauqua Lake got back at it to start the 2nd half and took advantage of Southwestern offensive struggles. After Beaver hit a pair at the line, Rebecca Henry (Chautauqua Lake 2021) scored around the rim and Hailey Roush (Chautauqua Lake 2021) drilled a three on the next possession, giving them a 32-29 lead at the 5:17 mark that they'd hold onto for good. They stretched the lead to as much as 7 in the quarter as Southwestern was held without a field goal for the entire stretch, but Southwestern went 6/8 from the line to stay within striking distance at 39-33 going into the 4th. However, the Thunderbirds would take it from there. It started with a Jacobson triple, then nearly every positive play for Southwestern was answered by a Chautauqua Lake made three over the next few minutes. Roush connected on her 2nd of the half to run the margin to 13, and when Southwestern cut it to 10, Woodis would immediately answer with a triple of her own. Genareo scored, then Woodis banged home another triple to stretch their lead to 55-41 with 2:46 left. Southwestern would only get a free throw on the ensuing possession for the rest of the game, and Roush & Jacobson would combine to shoot 7/10 from the line in the last 1:13 as Southwestern fouled to extend the game.

Chautauqua Lake received exceptional balance in the victory. Lily Woodis paced them with 15 points, 11 of them coming in the 2nd half including 3 of their 7 threes after intermission. Hailey Roush added 14 (10 2nd half), and Alexis Jacobson contributed 13 points. Southwestern was led in the books by Sofia Genareo and Reece Beaver, who scored 15 & 14 points, respectively.

Sofia Genareo got off to a fast start & had 10 of her game high 15 points in the 1st quarter for Southwestern.


- I wonder if others involved in the game felt this way or if I'm the lone wolf here... kind of a weird game. Just couldn't really get a feel for it. They happen from time to time - I'm sure everyone that watches enough basketball has experienced the feeling. It wasn't for the usual reasons of choppy/no flow because it had some flow & pace. Maybe it was just me with the long drive? Might have to rewatch it on the stream.

- In its simplest form, basketball is a 'make or miss' game. Making shots can be contagious... and it was for Chautauqua Lake in the last ~14 minutes. They started to turn it back up in the 3rd quarter and just got hot in the 4th. They've had decent balance in the books this season, and that showed during this stretch. Just from the perimeter alone, they went from Alexis Jacobson to Lauren Alfa to Hailey Roush to Lily Woodis made threes in the first 4 minutes of the 4th quarter. Shots started to fall, they gained a little separation and less pressure to make shots when ahead then behind, then everyone got in on the fun. I thought when 'the other kids' (not Woodis & Jacobson, who average double figures) started consistently making open looks, it took the wind out of Southwestern's sails a bit. Tough to deal with when it's coming from every angle.

Alexis Jacobson contributed to the 2nd half run & hit FTs late, finishing with 13 points in Chautauqua Lake's victory.

- Sectionals are next up for Southwestern, and I'll be interested to see how they respond from this. They had good stretches; Genareo made shots early and I thought they had a nice all-around 2nd quarter. Reece Beaver, a promising 2024 that's already a longtime varsity presence & now a primary scoring weapon, also had some nice stretches where she showed the ability to get to the rim & hit the three when given space. However, it ended up just being one of those nights where they couldn't put it together for 32. Struggled offensively in the 2nd half (particularly the 3rd quarter) - didn't turn it over that much, just took a lot of somewhat difficult shots and even when they got good ones, they were off - plus they gave up some transition & 2nd chance buckets in that frame, then just had to deal with a team that was making shots late. It's a team & program with players that are used to winning - as far as recent history goes, they've spent plenty of March days at Buff State - so I imagine they'll be fine & this will essentially just be a blip on the radar.

- In the race for 'who plays the best timeout music', in my eyes, everyone is now chasing Southwestern. Pressing play on A Tribe Called Quest gives you an automatic edge. Playing Tribe twice... I mean, the only thing that'll beat that is Tribe x 3. We got 60 seconds of 'Can I Kick It?' before the 2nd quarter, which like a box of positives was a plus, love. Fast forward to before the 4th quarter, where they also hit fast forward and did the impossible like Broadway Joe with 'Scenario'. Southwestern wasn't the place I expected to double up with Tribe, but it was a pleasant surprise!

- A thank you goes out to Southwestern athletic administration for allowing media (and myself) in the gym to check this game out!

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