BINGHAMTON – All Mariah Ruff needed was a little help from her friends.
Oneonta’s star sophomore scored a game-high 23 points, surprisingly just two in a tense fourth quarter, as the ‘Jackets held off Norwich in a 41-36 Section IV Class B title victory Friday night at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
It was the fifth straight Section IV title for Oneonta, the last two under second-year head coach Matt Miller. For Norwich, it was a second straight finals appearance in which it fell a few points shy.
“I guess we just need to find a way to get over the hump,” said Norwich coach Josh Bennett, clearly sobered by the moment.
For two quarters, Ruff did everything possible on the offensive end. She scored inside, outside, and at the free throw line putting her team’s first 15 points of the first half. At the end of the half, she stole the ball from Norwich’s Jenni Borfitz near midcourt, and dished to teammate Kelsey Baker for the layup as the first-half horn sounded. To that point, Oneonta’s collective – aside from Ruff – went 0-for-8 from the field.
“Mariah was doing a good job of getting dribble penetration, but our players were getting passes from her five feet behind the three-point line, and they couldn’t do anything from that far out,” Miller said. “We kept reminding our kids to get closer to the basket. They did a better job in the second half of putting themselves in position to catch and shoot.”