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Valley Sports Report
WAVERLY "” With newly-minted 1,000-point scorer junior Sidney Tomasso on the bench after fouling out, senior Paige Lewis canned a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation to force overtime, but Vestal proved too much in the extra session, pulling out a 69-65 win here Tuesday evening in non-league girls basketball action.

Tomasso fouled out with 12.9 seconds remaining, and Emma Lewis made one of two free throws to give Vestal a 62-59 lead.

After a Waverly 3-point attempt came up short, the ball was batted toward the Lady Wolverine bench. Lewis retrieved the loose ball, turned and fired up a shot, hitting nothing-but net with 3.1 seconds remaining to tie the game at 62-62.

"Paige (Lewis) having the wherewithal to take that shot at the end, which we desperately needed ... it was certainly exciting when it went in," said Waverly coach Bob Kelly. "It was a pretty cool moment.

"It's been a while since we played an overtime game," he added.

In overtime, Vestal made seven of 11 free-throw attempts, with Emma Lewis converting four of six, to pull out the win.

Sophomore Olivia Nittinger drained a 3-pointer late in the extra session to pull Waverly within two, at 67-65, but Donlin iced the game with a pair of free throws with 6.5 seconds remaining.

The Lady Wolverines, who wrap up the regular season at 15-4, were one night removed from a 65-31 win over Class AA Ithaca, and Kelly said playing on back-to-back nights made a difference.

"It definitely had an impact. I know they're young kids, but last night's game was a hard-fought battle.

"I think early on, you could see the fatigue in us, but our girls battled," said Kelly. "I'm proud of them.  Going into Sectionals, this was just the kind of effort I wanted to see."

Prior to Tuesday's loss, Waverly had picked up wins over Binghamton and Ithaca in the last four days.

"I think it can only help us," said Kelly. "These teams have been physical, and we've had to match that physicality. For the most part, we have.

"Today, we were just a step behind at times," he added. "There were some balls today, 50-50 balls, that we didn't get, but I expect next week we will get."

Vestal jumped out to a 15-9 lead after the first eight minutes, but for the second time in as many nights, Tomasso knocked down four 3-pointers in one quarter, this time in a 27-13 blitz that gave the Lady Wolverines a 36-28 lead at the half.

Tomasso's third 3-pointer of the second quarter made her the ninth member of Waverly's 1,000-point club. She joins Katie Histed, Rachel Sheppard, Rebecca Baker, Sabrina Bowman, Elle Nittinger, Jill Stolicker, Kelly Thomas, and her sister Alex Tomasso, who accomplished the feat last January, in the elite club.

"It's pretty cool," said Kelly. "It's a testament to her hard work. With the help of her teammates, getting her in the right spots, and her having the guts to take those shots, and knock them down is pretty exciting.

"She been on quite a tear lately," added Kelly. "It's a nice accomplishment. I'm proud of her, and the teammates who have helped her to get to that milestone."

With Donlin scoring nine points, and Lewis five in the third quarter, Vestal used a 16-10 spurt to trim the deficit to 46-44 entering the final eight minutes.

Vestal had five different players score in the fourth quarter, and led by as many as six points in the final stanza, but {age Lewis scored nine points and freshman Kennedy Westbrook added four to rally the Lady Wolverines.

"Their size gave us trouble, there's no doubt about it," said Kelly. "So, we tried to pack it in, and I thought we took that away in the second half, then (Madelyn Donlin) decided to shoot lights out - she knocked down a lot of big shots.

"I liked how we battled, and how we fought back, though," added Kelly. "There's a lot of promise there. It's just the type of game we want to see before we go into Sectionals."

Tomasso led Waverly with 24 points, including six 3-pointers, while Lewis scored 17 points, including a pair of 3-pointers and a 9-for-10 performance for the free-throw line, Nittinger added six points on a pair of 3-pointers, and senior Gianna Picco chipped in with five points.

Donlin led Vestal with 23 points, while Lewis scored 21, and Olivia Muse added nine.

Waverly now awaits word on its opening-round opponent in next week's Section IV, Class B playoffs.



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