The seven seniors on Red Jacket’s girls basketball team are feeling the urgency to make something of their final Section 5 tournament. The furthest the Indians have made it in recent years is the semifinals.
“We’re giving it our all,” senior Bailey Hixson said. “It’s our last year; we have nothing to lose.”
“We have to get our team in that state of mind to realize that it’s now or never,” classmate Chelsey Jacobs added.
Red Jacket defeated host Honeoye 71-35 in a Finger Lakes West League match on Wednesday. The Indians improved their record to 13-3 with just a home game against Dundee remaining on their regular season schedule.
Hixson led Red Jacket with 16 points, five blocks and two steals. Teammate Daniele Ogrodowski recorded 15 points and 10 rebounds; Corinna Capron recorded seven points and eight rebounds; and Jacobs scored 15 points.
Taylor Pestle paced the Bulldogs (3-14) with 15 points, and BreAnna Bugbee chipped in eight points and 10 rebounds.
Red Jacket led 11-8 early in the game before closing the first quarter with 11 unanswered points. The Bulldogs made two free throws to start the second frame, and the Indians went on a 12-0 run. Red Jacket led 41-20 at halftime.
The Indians thrived in transition, getting many layups off steals and rebounds. Red Jacket also moved the ball around quickly, with no player holding the ball for very long. Ten of the team’s 12 players scored in the game.
“We’ve all worked together for a long time,” Ogrodowski said.
“We pass the ball to get it to everyone,” Hixson added. “Now that we’re getting toward the end of the season, everyone is in tune with each other.”
Indians coach Jeff Clark was pleased with his team’s unselfishness on offense as well as the strong defensive effort.
Red Jacket is in Class C2 for sectionals. Clark expects it to be a competitive bracket with Perry (14-2), Lyons (15-2), Harley-Allendale Columbia (15-2) and Cuba-Rushford (14-2) among the other top teams. H-AC, the defending sectional champion, defeated Red Jacket twice this season.
Clark thinks his team is more mature this year than last.
“They’re ready to face a tough defense,” he said. “They were a little rattled by a real strong Keshequa defense last year, but I think they’re more prepared for that. They’ve seen that more. They’ve experienced that from both Romulus and H-AC, so I think they’re prepared to deal with it.”
The coach believes that if the girls continue to be selfless on offense and play strong defense, they will be capable of making a deep run in sectionals.