Tupper Lake’s Katie Stuart lines up a free throw against Norwood-Norfolk in the Section X/Class C semifinals Feb. 16. Carley Aldridge and Sam Sandford wait for the ball to go back into play.
The Tupper Lake Ladyjacks sprinted out to a 19-0 lead en route to a 64-34 win over Norwood-Norfolk in Class C sectional playoff action on Feb. 16.
The top-seeded Ladyjacks are now 15-4 on the year, and they'll face a Brushton-Moira club with a 9-8 record on Feb. 24 in Potsdam for the Section X Class C title.
The Ladyjacks used a full-court press to quickly dismantle a Norwood-Norfolk team that finished the season 1-18.
Ladyjack guard Katie Stuart tallied numerous fastbreak layups after Norwood-Norfolk turnovers and canned a few shots from long distance as well. She finished the game with 25 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and four steals. Senior guard Sam Sanford also showed a deft touch from outside, adding 17 points for the ’Jacks, while senior guard Carley Aldridge contributed six steals and 13 points. Forward Kelsie
St. Louis added five points and Kristin Bickford and Lindsay Maroun chipped in two points apiece to round out the Ladyjacks' scoring.
Stuart, a junior, has scored 309 points for Tupper Lake thus far this season, and Aldridge and Sanford have scored 200 and 189 points, respectively.
"Our press leads to a lot of points. A lot of our games have been like that," Stuart commented. "We're pressing a lot and deflections lead to layups. Carley gets tons of steals and Sammy's shooting really well. It turns our pretty well."
Ladyjack coach Jennifer Cook said that changing leagues catalyzed Tupper Lake's success this season.
Previously, Tupper was the smallest school in a division with behemoths such as Massena, Malone and Potsdam. This year, Tupper Lake is the biggest school in its league. The 'Jacks now square off against smaller Class D schools throughout the regular season.
"The last six years we've been playing in the Central Division, which has been really tough," Cook said. "I have to give credit to my kids for hanging in there. We've had losing seasons, but this year, playing in a different division, they've been able to win those games where I said before, 'If you play hard enough, you'll give yourself a chance to win.'”
“This year they believe that,” Cook said, “because they've been able to get the wins when they put themselves in that situation. That's made a huge difference in building their confidence, and that's made them a different group of kids."
The Ladyjacks certainly don't seem to lack confidence at this point.
When asked about her goals for the rest of the campaign, Stuart responded, "To win the Section X banner next week and then to go all the way."
Boys fall in semis
The Tupper Lake boys varsity basketball team held a 7-3 lead after the opening quarter, but were out-scored 42-30 in the final three quarters by top-seeded St. Lawrence in a 45-37 defeat Feb. 17.
Jordan Garrow finished with 11 points in the game, while Tim Larkin scored 10, Mitch Keniston 6, Morgan Stevens 4, Garrett Planty 4 and Brock Tarbox 2. The Lumberjacks ended their season at 7-12.
The Lumberjacks boys hockey season also came to an end Feb. 16 with a 6-2 loss in the Division II semifinals, also against St. Lawrence.