Tioga tops Newfield to claim division title
NEWFIELD, N.Y. - Tioga reeled off 19 unanswered points in a run that bridged the second and third quarters here Monday night in a 60-35 blowout of Newfield in a IAC South Small School divisional playoff.
The Lady Tigers, now 15-3 overall, have now won four consecutive division titles and will face Groton for the overall IAC Small School title Friday at 6 p.m. at Tompkins-Cortland Community College.
The playoff game resulted from both team's navigating their league schedule with an 11-3 record, including splitting a pair of hard-fought, tight decisions during the regular season.
The 25-point win caught most observers, including coach Joe Robinson, off guard.
"I'm very surprised. I told everybody this was going to be a close game and that neither one of us could pull away from the other," said Robinson. "It's actually shocking."
For the game, Tioga shot 53 percent (25 of 47) from the field and connected on 83 percent (5 of 6) of its 3-point attempts.
Senior Callie Patsellis led the Lady Tigers with 22 points, hitting 9 of her 13 shots from the field and both of her 3-point attempts in the process. She also had three steals.
Patsellis sparked the Tioga effort right from the outset, turning a steal into a breakaway lay-up just 18 seconds into the game and then draining her only 3-point attempt of the night 34 seconds later to make it 5-0.
Robinson praised Patsellis' effort on both ends of the floor.
"We came out hot," he said. "That was Callie's (Patsellis) best performance in her five years on varsity.
"Really, I've been waiting for that. I'm hoping that was a breakout performance and sign of things to come," said Robinson. "She plays like that and we're a tough team to defend
"She's all over the place on defense; she had quick hands," added Robinson. "I thought she played a great all-around game."
Patsellis, who played on all four of the Lady Tigers' division title teams, said the quick steal was just what she needed.
"It definitely got me going," she said. "My defense always fuels my offense.
"I was looking for my shot a little bit more tonight," added Patsellis. "I tried to move the ball around, but when I had the open shot, I figured I'd take it."
While the Lady Tigers led wire-to-wire in the contest, Newfield closed the gap to one at 8-7 ? with 4:55 left in the first quarter on a 3-pointer by Kiersten Sinn, but Tioga answered with 11 straight points.
Patsellis, off a feed from Schweiger, triggered the run with a short jumper. Schweiger kept it going by banking a 3-pointer and capped it with a short jumper off an assist from Patsellis.
The Lady Tigers took their biggest lead of the first half, at 25-12, on a pair of free throws by Patsellis with 6:17 left in the first half, but Newfield battled back and trimmed the lead to two at 30-28.
Megan Pakkala sparked the run with a short jumper and a coast-to-coast drive, then hit a pair of 3-pointers as the Lady Trojans pulled within two with 2:25 left in the half.
The teams traded fruitless trips up the court until Patsellis came up with a steal and breakaway lay-up with 37 seconds left in the half. After a missed Newfield shot, the Lady Tigers rushed the ball up court and Hannah Manwaring drained a 3-pointer from the corner with 12 seconds remaining to up the lead to 35-28.
"Those two shots at the end of the first half were big," said Robinson. "It gave us a seven-point lead, instead of a two-point lead and gave us a lot of momentum going into the half."
"That was a great confidence boost heading into halftime," said Patsellis.
Sierra Beebe's short jumper in the opening seconds of the second half gave Tioga a 37-28 lead, but neither team scored again for more than two minutes.
Patsellis, off a feed from Sarah Whitney, ended the drought with a short jumper, then the Lady Tigers scored 10 more points in a row including a 3-pointer by Patsellis and an old-fashioned three-point play by Manwaring to complete the 19-0 run and take a 49-28 lead with 3:11 left in the third quarter.
Dominique Everhart ended Newfield scoreless skein at 8 minutes and 45 seconds with a short jumper in the lane to make it 49-30.
Robinson credited his team shutting out Newfield for nearly nine minutes to working harder on defense.
"(At halftime) we talked about hustling from spot to spot. I think we got a little tired (in the first half)," he said. "We didn't hustle to spots on defense and it left them wide open."
"I think our confidence grew as the game went on," said Patsellis. "Some times you have a tendency to come out in the second half and play a little weaker, but tonight we didn't let up.
"And, it helped that (Newfield) wasn't hitting shots, but we kept playing for four quarters," added Patsellis.
Tioga took its biggest lead of the game, at 58-33, with 1:46 left in the game on a lay-up by Lexi Swagler off a nifty feed from Danielle Barto. The Lady Tigers matched it with the final bucket of the game a lay-up by Natalie Burns, off another assist from Barto.
Schweiger scored 13 points, handed out seven assists, grabbed six rebounds and had three steals for the Lady Tigers, Manwaring had eight points, a team-high nine boards and three steals, Beebe added seven points and six boards and Burns chipped in with six points.
Pakkala led Newfield with 13 points.