Maine-Endwell overcame a slow start and the absence of one of its key players for more than a quarter to beat Horseheads, 53-43, Friday night in a matchup of state-ranked Southern Tier Athletic Conference girls basketball teams at Horseheads Middle School.
Daniella Dean scored eight straight points in the third quarter to key an 11-0 run that gave the Spartans the lead for good. She finished with 22 points and Amy Makis added 15 off the bench to help Maine-Endwell (10-1) beat Horseheads (9-2) for the second time this season.
“I think we had a lot of energy,” Maine-Endwell coach Sonny Spera said. “And you have to when you play a team the caliber of Horseheads and the talent they have across the board. You have to be spot on and then when you make a mistake or they get the better of you, you can’t hang your head. You’ve got to come back at it the next time. I thought our kids did a nice job.”
Ellie Leszyk scored 17 points for Horseheads, which is unbeaten against everyone else this season. Amanda Schiefen added 15 points, including eight in the first quarter.
Maine-Endwell, the 2013 Class A state runner-up and the state’s 12th-ranked Class A team, beat Horseheads at home, 54-39, in December. Horseheads is ranked 17th in Class AA.
“I think our defense was fine,” Horseheads coach Andy Scott said. “They hit a couple of big threes, but the bottom line is offensively we were not structured. I’ll take responsibility for that. I didn’t think we did a very good job setting up offenses, I didn’t think we did a good job handling the ball, I didn’t think we did a good job getting into our offense. Those are things that are on me as a coach. The good news is it’s January 17 and we’ve got some time to fix it.”
It took a bit for Maine-Endwell to get going, with Horseheads scoring the first seven points. Makis came off the bench to hit two 3-pointers in the second quarter to help the Spartans get even by halftime, 22-22.
“She’s our microwave. She heats up in a hurry,” Spera said.
The Spartans forced seven Horseheads turnovers in the third quarter to turn a 24-22 deficit into a 33-24 lead. Maine-Endwell’s advantage was 40-32 after three quarters following a 3-pointer at the buzzer from Horseheads’ Jen LaViola.
“The third quarter we made a couple of shots and we played pretty good defense and we rebounded,” Spera said. “The thing we talked about against a team like this that’s physical and strong and as tough as they are, you’ve got to rebound. And we need all five rebounding. We’ve got nobody big.”
Maine-Endwell was without starting senior Julie Yacovoni for much of the second half. She hurt her knee with 3 minutes, 30 seconds left in the third quarter and didn’t return until 1:39 was left in the game.
Horseheads scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to get within 42-38 and had a shot to close the gap to one late in the game, but a 3-point try from Leszyk rimmed out.
Makis and Dean combined to go 6-for-6 at the foul line in the final 1:12 after a three-point play by Schiefen brought the Raiders within 47-43.
“They’re a state finalist team from last year with nine seniors and they turned it up a little bit on us,” Scott said. “We’ve got work to do.”