It’s a game every athlete dreams of.
It’s senior night on the road against your big rival, with sectional implications on the line.
That’s what Le Roy was facing against Cal-Mum…and Montana Vescovi responded by pouring in a career-high 37 points and leading the Oatkan Knights to a comeback victory, avenging an earlier defeat to the Lady Raiders, 62-45.
In their first contest this season, freshman Gillian Flint went off for 25 points in a 5-point Cal-Mum win, and the start of this game appeared as if she was picking up where she left off.
Flint, who has been averaging 20 points per game over her last four contests, scored 11 points in the first quarter as Cal-Mum raced out to a 9-point lead.
Every aspect of Le Roy’s game seemed to be sputtering, as Vescovi only attempted one field goal from the field (a miss) and went 5-of-12 from the foul line in the first frame.
The second quarter was a different story however, as the Knights scored the first nine points to tie the game at 17.
Vescovi also came alive, scoring 10 points in the period, including eight in a row at one point.
“It was a hostile crowd, I told them to just settle down and relax,” said Le Roy Head Coach Brian Herdlein. “I just told my girls that they were going to have a run and they needed to just keep doing what they were doing.”
The Knights clamped down on Flint, holding her scoreless in the quarter, but Cal-Mum junior Hannah Anderson took charge, scoring six points in a row, and Adrianna Molisani buried a three-pointer at the buzzer to take a 28-25 lead into halftime.
But, Vescovi came out firing in the third quarter, scoring 11 points in the frame.
“She’s an exceptional player,” Herdlein said of Vescovi. “She’s always been a scorer, but she’s added to her game. I tell her all the time that there aren’t a lot of people that can stop her. Mentally she came to play and she didn’t want to lose tonight.”
The Knights took a 39-37 lead with 2:39 remaining in the quarter and never relinquished it.
Le Roy held Cal-Mum just four points, and Vescovi scored 11 more points to vanquish their rivals eight miles up Route 5.
Even more impressive, Flint was held to just seven points after her monster first quarter.
“Flint came out on fire,” Herdlein said. “We really needed to have a girl stay on her the whole time and deny her the ball. I think we did a better job of that as the game went along.”
The Knights also got a strong game from senior Alicia Conte, who finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and three steals.
Vescovi’s 37 points puts her just 32 shy of 1,000 for her career, but she was solid in every facet of this game, adding nine rebounds and three steals to her stat line.
This win was not just important because of the rivalry, but because the win guarantees Le Roy (9-8) the fourth seed in Class B2 and one more home game.
“This was huge for us,” Herdlein said. “Any time you can play in this kind of environment, it gets you ready for that sectional environment. It’s always rough, you have to play four quarters and that’s what we had to do tonight.”
Flint finished with 18 points and six rebounds for Cal-Mum (11-7), while Anderson added 14 points and nine rebounds.