Lady Bills top Greenville in sectional opener
JOHNSTOWN – With career win No. 100 looming, Johnstown girls basketball coach Tim Derwin had his sights set firmly on win No. 1 of the postseason Wednesday.
The Lady Bills accomplished both with a 50-29 win over Greenville in the first round of the Section II Class B Tournament.
“I would absolutely rather have this win than my 100th win,” Derwin said. “Right now, all 100 wins means is that I was stubborn enough to stick around long enough to get that many wins. I didn’t want to talk about 100 wins. I wanted to win this sectional game and advance.”
Third-seeded Johnstown did that, but noy without its struggles, as senior tri-captain Hope Cerasuolo was hampered by foul trouble throughout and the Lady Bills were unable to shake the 14th-seeded Lady Spartans until the final quarter.
“Greenville is a good team. They played hard,” Derwin said. “I don’t think the final score is indicative of how hard they made us work for the win.”
The Lady Bills got out of the gates quickly, getting back-to-back baskets from Brianne O’Rourke in the first 32 seconds of the game, forcing Greenville coach Brian Haller to call a quick timeout to settle his team.
Carly Johnson hit a 3-pointer for the Lady Spartans to make it 4-3, but Johnstown closed out the first quarter with a 12-5 surge to take a 20-8 lead after eight minutes of play.
“We knew that this was the next level up for us,” Haller said. “We play some of the smaller Class B schools during the year, and Johnstown is one of the biggest. Johnstown is a well-coached team and we know they’re in a better league than us, and we had to play mistake-free basketball to beat them, and we didn’t do that tonight.”
O’Rourke finished the first quarter with eight points, while Hope Cerasuolo had nine points for the Lady Bills.
Johnson scored seven of Greenville’s eight first-quarter points.
Cerasuolo found herself in foul trouble in the second quarter, picking up three fouls in the first three minutes.
“They weren’t smart fouls for her,” Derwin said of Cerasuolo. “We’ve got to have her on the court to be at our best.”
After scoring nine points in the opening quarter, Cerasuolo scored just four points the rest of the way as she was forced to the bench for large chunks of time with foul trouble.
Greenville took advantage, scoring the first five points of the second quarter to close to within 20-13.
However, the Lady Bills regrouped and responded with a 9-4 surge to end the first half with a 19-17 advantage.
Johnstown opened the second half with an 8-0 run to push its advantage to 37-17, only to have Greenville close out the third quarter with a 10-4 surge of its own.
In the final quarter, Johnstown’s defense held the Lady Spartans to just two points as the Lady Bills sealed the victory.
“Our defense has kept us in games all year,” Derwin said. “We’re not the type of team that’s going to score 60-70 points a game. Our defense was consistent tonight, but our defensive rebounding was poor at times. We’ve got to keep teams to one shot and done.”
Having not played in more than a week and playing its first sectional game, Derwin said that his team struggled with nerves at time against the Lady Spartans, who already had one playoff game under their belts.
Greenville advanced to the first round with a 59-32 win over 19th-seeded Corinth in a play-in game Saturday.
“The pressure’s on us. There’s a lot at stake here,” Derwin said. “Greenville had already played a playoff game and came in with nothing to lose, and it’s easier to play like that.
O’Rourke finished with 19 points to lead Johnstown, while Cerasuolo added 13 points. Annie Stock grabbed 11 rebounds for the Lady Bills, while Kendra McCoy had eight rebounds. Megan Anagnostopulos added six rebounds and four assists for Johnstown.
Johnson led Greenville with a game-high 22 points.
“It’s no secret that we run our offense through Carly Johnson,” Haller said. “She had a great game tonight, but we just didn’t get the right contributions from other places.”
Johnstown (13-6 overall) will face sixth-seeded Hoosick Falls in the quarterfinals Saturday at Watervliet High School at 6 p.m.
“We’ve scouted Hoosick Falls, and they’re a good team. They’re are no easy wins in sectionals,” Derwin said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us and we’re going to begin preparing [Thursday]. We’re excited to advance, but now, we’ve got to get ready for the next one.”
Hoosick Falls posted a 51-36 win over 11th-seeded Voorheesville in the first round Tuesday.
Greenville ends its season with a 15-5 overall record.
“Our effort was great tonight,” Haller said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. We played hard the whole way.”
Johnstown 50, Greenville 29
Greenville8 9 10 2 – 29
Johnstown20 9 12 9 – 50
Johnson 8-4-22, Amedure 1-1-3, Krasney 1-2-4. Totals;10-7-29.
McCoy 1-0-2, Anagnostopulos 1-2-5, Barnholt 3-1-7, Cerasulo 6-0-13, Stock 2-0-4, O’Rourke 7-5-19. Totals 20-8-50.
3-point goals: Greenville 2 (Johnson 2); Johnstown 2 (Anagnostopulos, Cerasulo).