By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
BROADALBIN -- With the Stillwater Lady Warriors beginning to offer a late comeback Wednesday night, Broadalbin-Perth Lady Patriots senior forward Kaitlin Wood snuffed it out.
With just more than five minutes to play, Stillwater's Tori Menneto offered a 3-pointer that could have cut B-P's lead to 15 points.
But Wood was waiting for the shot, emphatically blocking it before grabbing the loose ball to bring it up court, where a no-look pass to a cutting Katie Herba resulted in a momentum-shifting three-point play.
From there, the Lady Patriots rolled to a 54-27 victory in the championship game of the Broadalbin-Perth Holiday Tournament.
"Once something gets me [going], I just go off right after it," said Wood, "and the team followed me."
Wood added a couple more baskets and a few rebounds after the big block, as the senior finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds on her way to being named the tournament's most valuable player.
Herba was named to the tournament's all-star team, but the junior guard could have shared the top honor with Wood. Herba played a well-rounded game, offering 10 points, six rebounds, seven assists and three blocked shots.
"Her motor never stops," B-P head coach Michael Magliocca said of Herba.
The only problem B-P (4-3) faced Wednesday was that it seemed to take the club some time to get in gear. Despite holding Stillwater (3-4) to two points in the first quarter, the Lady Patriots led by just five.
"We always start off a little slow and then we get into the game," said Herba. "I think we just start moving faster, we get our lungs going and we get our shots going."
The Lady Patriots did get going in the second quarter, as B-P took a 22-9 lead into halftime.
"I thought our defense was superb in the first half," said Magliocca. "Defensively, we got a little bit sloppy toward the end of the third and the fourth quarters, but we really set the tone in the first half with our defense."
Even though the B-P defense slipped a little bit in the second half, Stillwater could not take advantage.
"We weren't moving the ball like we should," said Stillwater head coach Kelly Mraz. "It looked like we stayed on the bus and that we didn't show up."
The two teams were playing five days after the start of the tournament. The tournament's schedule was hampered by last week's storm, but Mraz said the uncertain schedule was not to blame for her team's shoddy play.
"It's the same thing for Broadalbin and they came out to play," said Mraz. "So, we can't use that as an excuse -- unfortunately."
Stillwater's Brooke Ferrell was named to the tournament's all-star team after a game in which she scored five points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
For B-P, Rachel Orapello was also named to the all-tournament team. Orapello had six points, a tally matched by teammates Kylie Gifford and Monica Magliocca.
The Lady Patriots now head on the road Friday to play Albany Leadership Charter, before returning to play next week in the Foothills Council. B-P is winless this season in league play, but the club does not feel like it is far off from breaking through in the Foothills Council.
"Our defense was good tonight," said Wood. "We've been working on it a lot, but now we need to work on our offense more."
"We just need to keep practicing," Herba added.