Edmeston/Morris advances to sectional final with 47-41 win over Schenevus

Feb. 28—The Edmeston/Morris girls basketball team rode its defense to the sectional finals with a 47-41 win over Schenevus in the Section IV Class D Semifinals at SUNY Delhi Tuesday night.

Molly Rifanburg led E/M with 21 points while Haylie Lund added 11 points in the win.

Sam Barrett led the Dragons with 16 points while Autumn Burton added nine points and Amber Burton tallied seven points in the loss.

Maddie Coleman got E/M on the board first before Schenevus opened an early 6-2 lead three and a half minutes in with threes from Autumn Burton and Barrett.

But E/M quickly regained the lead before Rifanburg and Lund had back-to-back steal and score plays to push it to 13-6 as part of a 13-0 E/M run.

"I think it was our pressure on defense," E/M coach Rhoda Flint said of the run. "We had a couple steals and then they started hitting, we had to change our defense around, tried to get out to them. They're a good shooting team and when you take away the outside, they also have the inside. I think we had to make some adjustments with our defense but I think it was our defense that got us that lead."

Autumn Burton ended the run with a layup with 40 seconds left in the quarter to cut the E/M lead to 15-8 heading into the second.

Amber Burton opened the quarter with a three to trim the deficit to 15-11 before both offenses went quiet for a bit. The Dragons would go on to cut the E/M lead to 24-19 heading into halftime.

Schenevus continued to chip away in the third quarter as baskets from Cady Ritton, Barrett and Autumn Burton had them within one with E/M leading 29-28 with 1:39 left in the third.

A Rifanburg basket and Hannah Wist free throw in the final minute sent E/M into the fourth quarter leading 32-28.

Amber Burton once again opened up the quarter with a basket to make it 32-30 but a Rifanburg free throw and Avery Bolton three gave E/M a 36-30 cushion with seven minutes left.

Barrett responded with a three of her own a minute later as both teams traded punches.

Rifanburg made a layup to make it 38-33 and she would go on to make four free throws to extend the lead to 42-33 with a little over two minutes left, prompting a timeout.

Barrett converted on a three-point play and Amber Burton made a layup to cut the deficit back down to 42-38 with 51 seconds left.

A Rifanburg layup out of the timeout and Barrett three made it 44-41 E/M with 27 seconds left.

Rifanburg made three more free throws and the E/M defense kept Schenevus off the board in the final seconds to hold on to the win and advance to Saturday's championship against Cherry Valley-Springfield at SUNY Delhi.

It was no surprise to Flint that Rifanburg made some clutch baskets and free throws to put the game away.

"Molly is definitely our go-to player," she said. "She can come up big when we need her to do that. She is definitely the person we want the ball in her hands. She stepped up there and put in some baskets, she had a couple of drives to the hoop in the fourth quarter which also helped us. She's definitely the person that we can count on when things get tough."

"It's the things that we practiced and practiced when it comes down to the wire like this and just keep your head in the game, be smart," Flint said of the team being able to hold the lead late in the fourth quarter. "To do all those little things right. I think Avery [Bolton] coming off the bench was a big spark to our team. Just doing those little things that we practiced all year."

"We know how to dig deep for sure," E/M coach Sarah Lawrence added. "I think we work well under pressure in situations like that. Like we said, our defense kind of saved us. That's our strongest point. Just reiterating on those little things that we worked on from October when we started the season. Just finding those little things and taking it all the way."

E/M split a pair of games this season with CV-S, with E/M winning 34-22 on the road on Nov. 22 and CV-S taking the rematch 57-52 in the Tri-Valley League semifinals on Feb. 7 in Edmeston.

"We played them the first game of the season and they are a good team," Flint said about Saturday's matchup. "They definitely have grown since the first time we played them. We played them in the playoff game, it was a good game. We kept with them. We're going to make some adjustments. They're very athletic, they're very good, they have some height. It's going to be a tough game but I think we're up for that challenge."

"Bring our defense, for sure, especially down low," Lawrence added. "They're big and lengthy and they know how to rebound."

Edmeston/Morris 47, Schenevus 41

Edmeston/Morris 15 9 8 15 — 47

Schenevus 8 11 9 14 — 41

E/M: Jennadee Cotten 0 0-0 0, Hannah Wist 0 1-2 1, Avery Bolton 1 0-0 3, Molly Rifanburg 6 8-11 21, Maeve Robinson 0 0-0 0, Haylie Lund 4 3-3 11, Abby White 0 0-0 0, Taryn Lund 1 1-2 3, Carly Bond 0 0-0 0, Mackenzie Hoyt 0 0-0 0, Brenna Bolton 2 0-0 4, Maddie Coleman 2 0-0 4, Emma White 0 0-0 0, Julia Vunk 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 13-18 47

S: Autumn Burton 4 0-0 9, Amber Burton 3 0-0 7, Cady Ritton 1 2-9 4, Sam Barrett 5 4-8 16, Val Beardslee 0 0-0 0, Lexi Keator 0 0-0 0, Carleigh Reed 1 2-4 5, Cassie Miller 0 0-0 0, Leah Brundege 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 8-21 41

Three-point baskets: E/M 2 (A. Bolton, Rifanburg); S 6 (Barrett 3, Au. Burton, Am. Burton, Reed)