Story and photos by CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com
CUBA — A tremendous, young core filled with blossoming talent has been under the watchful eye of longtime girls basketball head coach Les York for the past couple of seasons at Canisteo-Greenwood.
The program has seen the rise of now fifth-year Varsity star Lillian Mullen beginning to take shape alongside big scoring playmakers like Bailey Mullen and Brooke Burd. Because of it, it has led to great success across the board for the Lady Redskins. On Monday, the hope was for it to continue into a brand new season of basketball.
With a road trip to visit the Cuba-Rushford Lady Rebels in store, Canisteo-Greenwood used it as a perfect opportunity to deliver a resounding punch.
Right from the start, the Lady Redskins could not be stopped, as they accounted for an early first quarter run to pull themselves ahead into double digit territory. Even though the Lady Rebels saw a resurgence led by Taylor Searle coming down the first half homestretch, the damage would already be done by the visitors, as they rolled towards a triumphant start with a 70-45 season-opening win on the road.
“Once we figured out a way to try and settle down, we looked a little better on offense. But falling far behind like we did at the start of the game early on, really hurts,” said Lady Rebels coach Aaron Wight. “Canisteo-Greenwood is a good team, and they are a team that can find ways to hurt you all over the floor. Despite that, we still have to find a way to be better defensively. Hopefully this first game will help us do that.”
The Lady Redskins (1-0) would surf the wave towards an excellent start right off the hop against Cuba-Rushford, led by an early 7-2 run conducted by Bailey Mullen from outside, knocking down a long three to help power it up. The early jaunt would grow increasingly larger as time went on for the visitors in red, as they continued to strike from all angles, including inside where Brooke Burd turned the heat up by scoring 12 of the team’s 24 points to wrap up a 24-5 lead.
In the second quarter, the Lady Rebels (0-1) would attempt a late rally down the end of the first half stretch, led by Taylor Searle and six of her 12 points within the frame — all coming on three consecutive drives to the Canisteo-Greenwood basket to help trim the lead down. But the Lady Redskins would branch their lead out unconquerably upon their return to the court for the second half with one final run in the third quarter.
Lillian Mullen would lead Canisteo-Greenwood with a game-high 20 points to go with six rebounds and five assists. Burd would follow behind with a near double-double, finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Bailey Mullen had 11 points and six boards to contribute. The Lady Redskins will host their home opener Thursday night in a 6 p.m. tip-off against Arkport/Canaseraga.
On the other side, Searle led the Lady Rebels with 17 team-high points. Brynn Lavery bucketed 10 points of her own, while Tara Duvall and Emma Retz each tailed behind with five points.
Cuba-Rushford will hit the road for tournament action in Portville beginning on Friday, as they take on the host Lady Panthers in a 6 p.m. bout of their own.
Canisteo-Greenwood 24 16 19 11 – 70
Cuba-Rushford 5 12 8 20 – 45
CANISTEO-GREENWOOD: Bailey Mullen 5 0-0 11, Elaine Roach 1 0-0 2, Triniti Tigner 2 0-0 4, Kennedy Richardson 1 1-2 3, Lillian Mullen 9 1-2 20, Brooke Burd 8 2-3 18, McKenna Ferris 2 0-1 4, Sara Coddington 2 0-0 4, Riley Winans 1 1-2 4. Totals: 31 5-10 70.
CUBA-RUSHFORD: Shae Maples 1 0-0 2, Emma Retz 2 1-2 5, Brynn Lavery 5 0-0 10, Aleah Demick 1 0-0 2, Taylor Searle 6 3-5 17, Tara Duvall 2 1-2 5, Raegan Poore 2 0-0 4. Totals: 19 5-9 45.
3-point goals: C-G 3 (B. Mullen, L. Mullen, Winans), C-R 1 (Searle).
Total Fouls: C-G 15, C-R 13. Fouled out: None.
Andover/Whitesville 61, Alfred-Almond 10
ALMOND — One year removed from what was a titanic, and long awaited championship-winning season, the time to defend their throne was now.
Andover/Whitesville began their Class D2 title defense on the very first day of play, Monday night. With it, would come their first victory of the season in strong fashion, as a well-balanced offensive effort behind a game-high performance from senior phenom Vanessa Hall was a big key to their success, riding the wave towards a 61-10 road win at Alfred-Almond.
“The effort tonight was really good. We loved seeing that in our first game of the year,” Andover/Whitesville co-coach Aaron Rawady said. “There is definitely more that we need to work on, but that is to be expected as the season goes on. We return just two girls from last year’s team, so it will take some time to figure out roles everyone will play, and how we can mesh everything together.”
Hall would help lead the Andover/Whitesville (1-0) offense towards great success for much of the first half of play, helping jumpstart a first quarter run that would morph into an insurmountably larger adaptation of what would become a resounding first half finish. With a 12-4 early lead over the Lady Eagles in the wagon, the visitors would build.
In the second quarter, a balanced attack led by Hall’s 10 points within the frame helped set the pace for a massive 22-1 run, branching their lead further away and ultimately, out of reach, as they held onto their lead until the final buzzer to secure their first victory of the season.
Hall would finish with a game-high 27 points to pace the Andover/Whitesville offense. Zoe Baert and Gabbi Hall each pitched in with eight points, while Makaila Brewster and Kennedy Bledsoe both followed with six points of their own.
As the campaign progresses on, Andover/Whitesville will look to continue their title defense with just two of their returners back for one more go-around — Vanessa Hall and Gabbi Hall, two pieces to their puzzle that have proved to be absolutely pivotal, especially down the homestretch of their season.
But one thing remains certain: The team will take things one game at a time.
“Jake and I aren’t sure what this team will accomplish,” said Rawady. “It’s such a long season, and so many things can happen along the way. Returning Gabbi and Vanessa definitely helps because of their experience that they have built over the past couple of years, and their leadership will really help as well. We have so many new pieces filling in the blanks, but the main focus is taking each game and getting better one day at a time.”
Andover/Whitesville will return to action in over a week from now, as they head home to Andover to host their home opener against Genesee Valley/Belfast, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Andover/Whitesville 12 22 16 11 – 61
Alfred-Almond 4 1 2 3 – 10
ANDOVER/WHITESVILLE: Lexy Palmatier 2 0-0 4, Vanessa Hall 13 0-0 27, Gabby Terhune 1 0-0 2, Makaila Brewster 3 0-0 6, Zoe Baert 4 0-2 8, Gabbi Hall 4 0-0 8, Kennedy Bledsoe 3 0-0 6. Totals: 30 0-2 61.
ALFRED-ALMOND: Kylie McMichael 1 0-0 2, Chloe Bracken 1 1-2 3, Isabel Badeau 2 1-2 5. Totals: 4 2-4 10.
3-point goals: A/W 1 (V. Hall).
Total Fouls: A/W 11, A-A 5. Fouled out: None.
Jasper-Troupsburg 57, Hinsdale 17
GREENWOOD — It was a game that saw the Jasper-Troupsburg Lady Wildcats take complete control from start to finish, as they rallied around a big performance led by Natalie Cornell on the attack to help set the tone in their season opener against visiting Hinsdale on Monday, rolling towards a 57-17 home win in Greenwood.
Cornell led all scorers for the Lady Wildcats with a game-high 24 points. Following behind was Reagan Miles who had 13 more points, while Madison Cady chipped in with nine.
Stats for Hinsdale (0-1) and a complete box score were not made available to report upon publication.
The Lady Bobcats are now off until next Monday night back on the road, as they visit Cuba-Rushford in a 6 p.m. tip-off.