It took the whole season, but Randolph finally ran into a team it could not match up against.
Bishop Kearney was quicker, more athletic, scored more off the fast break and controlled the boards to the tune of a 64-48 victory over the Cardinals on Friday. The Class C Far West Regional game was played before an estimated 400 at SUNY Buffalo State.
The never-say-die Cardinals trailed by as much as 42-22, but made it interesting in the second half with their season on the line.
Kearney started a frontcourt that stood 6-2, 6-1 and 5-10. When Randolph wasn’t losing battles on the boards, Kearney’s quickness was taking the Cardinals out of their offense, forcing them to take shots they didn’t want.
Randolph, looking to return to the state final for the second year in a row, instead ends the season, 19-4.
Randolph got out to a slow start, falling behind, 9-2. Just when it was looking like the game was slipping away early, Mandy Finch and Mckenna Maycock brought the Cardinals back. Maycock hit a big three-pointer with 1:08 left in the first quarter to give Randolph its last lead at 15-13.
“I thought we weren’t playing our typical game,” Randolph coach Shawn Huntington said. “Even in the first quarter, I thought we were a little hesitant. Anytime we hesitated this year, it wasn’t good.”
Maycock was held to six points in the first half but finished with 26, ending her sophomore season with 623 points. She scored 156 in five playoff games.
“I think we played tense, I think we played scared, no one wanted to drive in,” Maycock said. “We were all just standing there. We were all slow. It was like we weren’t there. They were big and strong and we weren’t rebounding, weren’t boxing out.”
The second quarter really hurt Randolph as Kearney started out on a 10-0 run and outscored them, 16-3. Randolph matched Kearney basket-for-basket in winning the third quarter, 15-14, but Kearney proved a tough team to come back on. Randolph grabbed the momentum in the fourth quarter, getting within 50-43, but Kearney was able to use the clock and close out the Cardinals.
Kearney (17-8) was led by its tall frontcourt: Kharysma Bryant scored 16, Skyler Gausney-Jones had 16 and Princella McCullough 15. Kearney advances to the final four of the New York State Championship next weekend in Troy.
“You know, they’ve got some length over there,” said Huntington, “and that’s kind of frightening for a smaller team. We weren’t really clicking off the bat. They hung in there. We always thought we were a couple shots away from getting back in the swing of things. In the fourth quarter things started to boil a little bit. I think we were one quarter short.”