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first_imgMaybe it only figured that, in order to reclaim the Section III Class AA championship, the Cicero-North Syracuse girls basketball team first had to work past the side that kept the Northstars from the title the last two years.In Sunday’s sectional semifinal at SRC Arena, the no. 2 seed Northstars went up against no. 3 seed West Genesee, one round earlier than when they had met in the 2018 and 2019 title games.Here, though, it was C-NS’s turn to prevail, and it did so in an emphatic manner, combining a suffocating defense with a third-quarter scoring burst from Jessica Cook to put away the Wildcats 57-32. In fact, while Cook sat during the second period, C-NS held the Wildcats without a point for more than six minutes, the relentless pressure more than atoning for some struggles on the other end.So the Northstars led 20-11 at halftime, and then Cook returned in the third quarter, where she proceeded to take the Wildcats apart with a series of powerful moves to the basket.By the time this surge was done, Cook had 16 points in that period, on her way to 23 points overall, and the game was far out of WG’s reach.Aside from their great defensive work, Alita Carey-Santangelo put up 12 points, with Julia Rowe adding eight points. No Wildcats player scored in double figures as Catie Cunningham led them with eight points.They had reached this round in contrasting manners. WG needed overtime to turn back no. 6 seed Fayetteville-Manlius  53-46 in last Tuesday’s sectional quarterfinal round, the Hornets proving tough to eliminate even without leading scorer Lexie Roe.C-NS, meanwhile, had no problems against no. 7 seed Auburn in its quarterfinal, dominating in all phases of the game on the way to eliminating the Maroons 66-27.Attacking and putting up baskets at will, the Northstars still were not happy after a first quarter where it had raced out to a 23-11 lead.So C-NS cranked up its defense, limiting Auburn to just two points in each of the next two periods, and everyone contributed, too, with all 10 players that saw action getting on the scoreboard.Cook still led the way with 20 points, while Carey-Santangelo gained 13 points. Rowe and Mackenzie White had six points apiece as Nicolette Kasch added five points.After West Genesee fell, C-NS could focus on the sectional final most had anticipated against top seed Baldwinsville, who had outscored Rome Free Academy 68-57 in the other semifinal.The Northstars gave the Bees its lone defeat of the season, 50-45, on Jan. 17, but B’ville won the return match 48-40 on Feb. 13, a game Rowe missed. Their third encounter takes place Saturday night at 5 p.m. at Onondaga Community College’s Allyn Hall.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story Tags: C-NSgirls basketballcenter_img Though both regular-season meetings between C-NS and WG went in the Northstars’ favor, their Feb. 11 encounter was a close 60-52 decision that required 36 points from Cook.Nothing like that was needed here, with C-NS swarming the Wildcats from the outset. In the first 90 seconds alone, the Northstars forced two turnovers and converted baskets off them.Even when WG used a pair of timeouts and grabbed a pair of slim leads during that first quarter, it didn’t faze C-NS, and that proved more true when Cook picked up two early fouls.last_img read more