Sayre edges EJ in OT to claim first district title.

By: The Review | Towanda Daily Review | March 3, 2017 | Photo courtesy The Review

 

Sayre edges EJ in OT to claim first district titleLOYALSOCK TOWNSHIP — For the first time in school history, the Sayre Lady Redskins are District IV champions.

The ladies from Sayre captured the school's first ever District IV Class AA basketball title Thursday, defeating East Juniata in overtime 38-36.

"It was an amazing game for these kids," said Sayre coach Eileen Sparduti. "I put those four seniors on the floor. Andi (Noldy) was playing out of position with Cam (Lane) — Ball and Tracy were the other two — and said this is it. We're either going to win it or lose it. This is what these seniors have wanted since junior high. It's their game. We set a couple of things. I'd like to say I drew up some master plan, but I didn't."

Claiming their crown, the Lady Redskins had to overcome a dismal first quarter as they made only one shot in that period and trailed 9-2.

The Redskins never really heated up in the second either, but the Sayre defense began to take hold as the Redskins trimmed their deficit to 15-10 at the half.

As the third quarter got underway, East Juniata stretched their lead to eight points, at 24-16, before the Lady Redskins got their offense in gear. First Camry Lane, then Kaeli Sutryk, and then Molly Ball drained three-pointers late in the third quarter to close the gap.

Sayre then took its first lead of the game with 7:03 left to play in the fourth quarter on a Kaeli Sutryk basket and then added another point to it with a Ball free throw.

East Juniata came back to tie at 31-31 and the Lady Tigers could have ended it with 51.6 seconds left in the game. However, they missed a crucial free throw opportunity, which sent the game into overtime.

Ensuing free throws in the overtime period gave the Lady Tigers a 34-31 lead with 2:30 left to go, but the Lady Redskins would not be denied.

Camry Lane answered for Sayre, hitting two free throws with 2:14 left to make it a one-point game. But East Juniata's Laurel Amey responded, making it a two-point game with another free throw.

That's when Ball came up big, draining a three-ball from the left corner to give Sayre the lead for good with 30 seconds to play.

Erin Heimbach for the Lady Tigers hit one of two from the line with 12.9 seconds left by the clock, but Lane connected on both ends of a 1-and-1 over 11 seconds later to put the game away and causing bedlam to erupt from the Sayre student section when the final horn sounded.

"It's honestly amazing," said Sayre senior Chloe Tracy. "I've played with these seniors for so long, then last year, I wasn't able to and I was so sad. To end our senior year like this is amazing. At the beginning of the season, we made goals and one of them was to make history and we did that."

"It's been such an amazing season so far, through winning in volleyball and making history in basketball," said Ball. "Words can't describe how much this means to us and our coach."

Tracy was locked up on Amey all night and held the Tigers' best scorer to eight points. Erin Heimbach led the Tigers with 13 points.

Lane paced Sayre with 12 points and had five rebounds. Ball ended with 11 points and six boards and Sutryk finished with eight points. Tracy added three steals and three assists.

The Lady Redskins will now travel to the PIAA Class AA state playoffs. The date, location and opponent for Sayre have not yet been announced.