Two state-ranked girls teams with substantial win streaks will clash in one of several intriguing matchups among Southern Tier Athletic Conference basketball semifinals to be played Wednesday night.
Tenth-ranked Maine-Endwell will host 20th-ranked Owego (both Class A) in a game scheduled for 6 p.m. tipoff. The Spartans have won 11 in a row and the Indians 12 straight.
“Whichever team wins the tempo battle,” said coach Scott Snyder, whose Indians will strive for a controlled pace of play with which they can maximize their interior game against a smaller, pressing-and-running M-E group.
Owego, which has had four two-digit scorers in seven consecutive games, is led by 6-3 senior Rachel Merrill with 13.6-points and 9.9-rebound averages, and a school-record four-season total of 167 blocked shots. Fellow senior Jill Silvanic (12.6 ppg) has 102 3-point goals in three seasons. Sophomores Emily Merrill and Kim Lavender combine for 20 points and 15 rebounds per game.
Maine-Endwell’s customarily balanced scorers are headed by sophomore guard Daniella Dean (13.7 ppg) and senior Julie Yacovoni (10.0).
The other girls semi will be a rematch of last year’s title game, in which Oneonta was a one-point winner over Horseheads. That is to start at 6 p.m. at Horseheads.
Oneonta, the state’s second-ranked Class B team, features an eight-senior cast headed by St. Bonaventure-bound point guard Mariah Ruff. Horseheads, led by guard Ellie Leszyk’s 13.9 points per game and forward Amanda Schiefen’s 13.6, is a STAC playoff participant for a seventh year in succession — but seeking the program’s first championship.
Norwich rolls into the 7 p.m. semifinal at Elmira as New York’s fourth-ranked Class B team and on the heels of the program’s first unbeaten regular season since 1992-93 — when the Purple Tornado claimed the first of back-to-back state championships.
Point guard Michael Sutton heads a Norwich squad built around its ability to apply aggressive man-to-man defense from buzzer to buzzer. That defense figures to be tested by an Elmira group that last week put 93 points on the board in a victory over Union-Endicott.
The Express comes in on a seven-game win streak.
The other 7 p.m. semifinal pits Susquehanna Valley against Union-Endicott on the Tigers’ floor. U-E was Metro Division champion by a game over M-E. SV endured two games worth of Central Division tiebreaker.
“They shoot the ball well, they’re athletic — and then C.J. Krowiak,” Sabers coach Mark Ward said, referencing U-E’s prolific-scoring senior guard. “It’ll be interesting. I want to see where we’re at. It’ll be a great test for us.”