OLD WESTBURY – Sage topped Old Westbury 56-53 in overtime to win the 2015-16 Skyline Regular Season Championship and garner the first seed in the Skyline Tournament next week.
Old Westbury (20-5, 13-3 Skyline) got off to a quick start in the first eight minutes going up 16-5 till treys from Frankie Pearson (Hoosick Falls, NY/Hoosick Falls Central) and Emily Parslow (Fonda, NY/Fonda-Fultonville) cut the Panther lead down to five going into the second quarter.
The Panthers responded with layups from Raven Pentz and Ruth Varagas to go up 20-11 to start the second quarter. The Gators responded with a 12-0 run led by freshman Kaitlyn Bowman's (Dannemora, NY/Saranac) six points to give the Gators their first lead of the game with 1:36 left in the half. The 23-20 score held, and Sage (20-5, 15-1 Skyline) went into halftime up by three.
After eight minutes of back-and-forth action in the third quarter, a layup from Old Westbury's Jasmine Robinson tied up the game 29-29 with 1:55 remaining in the quarter. Varagas recorded a layup 24 seconds later to give the Panthers their first lead of the half. Gen Schoff(Little Falls, NY/Little Falls) hit one free throw before time expired to bring the Panther lead down to 31-30 going into the final quarter.
Bowman started the fourth quarter action with a layup to put the Gators up one with nine minutes left in regulation. Old Westbury responded with a 9-0 run led by Monique Joseph to put the Panthers up 40-32 with 7:09 remaining in the quarter.
After almost two minutes of swapping points, a trey by Macie Holmes (Amsterdam, MY/Mekeel Christian Academy) and a layup from Schoff brought the Gators back within four to bring the score to 44-42 with 4:09 left to play. Old Westbury responded with three points of their own, but a Schoff three-point-play and a Pearson layup tied the game at 47-47 with 2:15 remaining. Although both sides made efforts to break the tie and pull ahead, the score held and forced overtime.
Old Westbury got out to an early lead on layupa from Crystal Barnes and Jasmine Robinson in the first minute of overtime. Schoff tied up the game with a 4-0 run of her own until Vargas hit a layup to pull Old Westbury ahead 53-31 with 2:50 left in OT. With 1:43 on the clock, Teagan Clough (Cohoes, NY/Watervleit) came up with a steal, and Schoff scored on the opportunity to tie the game 53-53. Schoff continued her dominating overtime effort with the go-ahead bucked with 55 seconds remaining to put Sage up 55-53. After two missed opportunities by the Panthers and big defensive board from Clough, they were forced to foul with 18 seconds left on the clock. Schoff hit one free throw to put Sage up 56-53. The Gators were able to hold on and take the game 56-53.
In a game with five lead changes and five ties, Schoff had a game-high 17 points with an impressive 21 boards with three steals. Bowman tied a career-high with a 14 point effort. The freshman added nine rebounds and two blocks. Parslow recorded a game-high six assists and Clough added two blocks.
Old Westbury was led by Vargas with 14 points and ten rebounds. Barnes had a team-high 12 boards while Robinson had a game-high five steals.
With their number one seed, Sage has earned a bye and home court advantage for the Skyline Tournament Semifinals. They will play the winner of Farmingdale and Mount Saint Mary on Thu., Feb. 25 at Kahl Gymnasium. Sage enters the tournament with their best regular season record in program history.
The Gators are attempting to become the second team in program history and the first under head coach Allison Coleman to win the Skyline Tournament and punch their ticket to the NCAA tournament.