Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Livonia Starts Strong In Each Half, Rolls To Sectional W Over Hornell

March 9, 2021

Livonia 60, Hornell 39

I admittedly tend to neglect the southern tiers of Sections 5 & 6 during high school season - schedules usually don't gel and let's face it, it's a long drive for me. However, the circumstances around this matchup were tough to ignore. Livonia & Hornell met twice during the regular season, splitting a pair of competitive contests, and know each other very well. Round 3 happened to be during something one of only three NYSPHSAA sections are doing this winter: sectionals. Section V is in the midst of their condensed playoff season, and Livonia was tasked with the bus ride to Hornell for the 4/5 quarterfinal in Section V Class B1. The visitors, who pulled in at the same time I did, were ready to go off the bus & then again out of the halftime huddle, as two huge runs to start each half set the tone in an eye-opening victory.

Kylie Buckley dropped 20 of her game high 27 in the 2nd half in Livonia's win.

Livonia didn't wait to make their presence felt. Kylie Buckley (Livonia 2023) got loose on their opening possession & canned a three, which allowed them to set up their press that the athletic 6 footer anchors up top. It made its mark early, as they forced turnovers in the backcourt & rushed shots in the frontcourt in the first few minutes. Buckley added two more buckets, the last of them starting a flurry of eight Livonia points in 28 seconds. The last four of them, scored by Jillian Genthner (Livonia 2021), forced a second Hornell timeout and pushed Livonia to a 13-0 lead at the 4:43 mark in the 1st quarter. The lid would be firmly placed on the rim from there, as they struggled to get good shots against Hornell's box & 1 on Buckley, but Hornell struggled to score as well. They finally got on the board when Jaden Sciotti (Hornell 2021) canned a top of the key triple with 2:38 left in the frame, but that would be all either way as Livonia led 13-3 after one. Both teams immensely struggled to score in the 2nd quarter, but particularly Livonia, whose scoreless stretch extended nearly to halftime. After Lillian Hoyt (Hornell 2025) hit a three with 5:53 left in the half, both teams went without a point for nearly five minutes until Juliet Marino (Hornell 2022) rattled in a midrange J to cut their deficit to 13-10 at the 1:01 mark. The half ended with a flurry, as the last three possessions ended with a Genthner bucket to end Livonia's drought of 12:09, another Hoyt three, and a Kelsey Stewart (Livonia 2022) three at the buzzer to put them up 18-13 at the break.

There would be no Livonia drought to speak of in the 2nd half. Buckley, who hadn't scored since the early flurry, had the first two buckets after intermission. Noelle Woodruff (Livonia 2021) made four free throws, Buckley added another two buckets, and Stewart scored all in the first 3 minutes of the half as they turned Livonia over time & time again with the pressure. After tacking on three more field goals from Woodruff, Buckley, and Libby Kwak (Livonia 2024), Livonia had scored the first 20 points of the half and extended their lead to 38-13 midway through the 3rd quarter. Hornell finally got on the board with a Maddie Moore (Hornell 2023) basket, but the rout was on by then. The Bulldogs led by as much as 27 in the 3rd and held a 46-22 edge after three. They added yet another big run in the 4th, with a 12-0 punch giving them their largest lead of 33 at 58-25. Hornell scored the game's last 11 points, nine of them coming on a trio of Tayghan Doorley (Hornell 2022) threes.

Kylie Buckley was a catalyst in the 2nd half, and she had 20 of her game high 27 points after intermission for Livonia, with 14 of them coming in the 3rd quarter. Jillian Genthner joined her in double figures with 10 points. Hornell was paced by Tayghan Doorley, who had 9 of her 12 points in the last 2:09. Lillian Hoyt added 9 points. All of their offensive production came from behind the 3 point line, as they hit 7 of Hornell's 9 threes.

Tayghan Doorley got hot late and led Hornell with 12 points Tuesday.


- If you're not a numbers nerd, go to the next point. To everyone left, I may never see a game like this again. First, there was a double digit run immediately followed by a double digit run from the opposing team on two occasions in this game. That happened in a game I was at a few days ago once, and I thought it was weird. Twice? Gotta be a first for me. Livonia scored the first 13 (13-0), then Hornell scored the next 10 (13-10). In the 4th quarter, Livonia scored 12 straight (60-28) and Hornell scored the game's last 11 (60-39). Weird. Throw in that Livonia went on a 13-0 run to start the 1st half & then a 20-0 one to start the 2nd half. Not as weird if it was two teams that were drastically different in levels of play, but they split during the regular season and Livonia was on the road for a sectional game. Weird. Livonia didn't score for OVER 12 MINUTES in the 1st half after the 13-0 run. Not a single point. And they were still up. Weird! I found myself struggling to get a feel for the game, and I think the numbers back that up in a way. In many ways, this particular contest was a bit of an anomaly. Or as I put it a few times... weird.

Jillian Genthner was one of two in double digits for Livonia, finishing with 10 points in the win.

- I was equally surprised by how much Livonia struggled against the box & 1 in the 1st half and how much Hornell struggled with the 1-2-1-1. I guess I was surprised not just because of the familiarity, but the high-scoring nature of their first two games - Livonia won Round 1 72-67, Hornell won Round 2 66-55, which means there was legitimate offensive success. Hornell was never really able to shake it - and even when they did, it was just an off shooting night for a guard-heavy team that makes their mark shooting the three. Livonia's big lead forced Hornell to get back into a trapping zone, which Livonia was often able to attack either by getting it in Kylie Buckley's hands or with skip passes & straight line drives when they sold out on pressure & overcommitted to ball side. In all honesty, this was probably one of those 'throw away' games for Hornell that you forget ever happened, try to 'lose' the game film for, and try to block from your memory because you feel there's nothing you could learn from it... unfortunately for them, it was in sectional season.

- Especially among the Class B ranks, Kylie Buckley is a supreme athlete that can make a difference in almost any way that she chooses. On Tuesday, she chose 'all of the ways'. 27 points with 20 in the 2nd half speaks for itself to an extent. She got most of them around the rim, either catching & finishing, drives & scores, transition layups off a steal or coast-to-coast off a rebound. She also hit a couple free throws & banked a three - probably didn't mean to bank it, but they don't ask how, they ask how many, right? The point total was only part of what she brought to the table though. I thought she was pretty unselfish on the catch and allowed herself to be the center of defensive attention to create easy scoring opportunities for others. She had a couple nice passes on baseline drives for layups and also was a willing passer out of the high post against the zone. I started to see a little frustration later in the 1st half against the box & 1 and wondered how that was going to play out as the game went on, but it was short-lived as I thought she quickly settled back in pretty well. Her impact defensively couldn't be overstated, as the superior length, athleticism, and activity at the head of the 1-2-1-1 caused fits all night. I initially saw Kylie during last year's shortened AAU season with Jeff Parizek & the WNY Lakers, and she caught my eye from the first game there. In my first time seeing her at the scholastic ranks, it quickly became no secret why she was an All-AGR selection last year & regarded as one of Section V's more impactful players. Keep tabs on this 6'0" 2023 out of Livonia.

- I took a few minutes to scan through the live stream of this game as well, and the videographer (Peish Sports) did a fantastic job with it. If you'd like to watch the playback, check it out on YouTube:

- Sectionals take a bit more coordination to get in the gym for coverage, so the thank you list is a little longer this time. A thank you goes out to Hornell AD John Cardamone, coach Brian Dyring, and Section V Coordinator of Communications & Marketing Shaun Jeffers for giving me approval and allowing media (including myself) in the gym to cover this game!

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