CORNING - Corning Community College only led for 10 out of 40 minutes, but ground out a 58-49 victory over Finger Lakes Community College Saturday in the subregional round of the NJCAA Region III playoffs.
“The sign of a good team is [to] maybe not play your best and still win,” CCC head coach Mike Wright said. “We like to think that today, that’s what we did.”
The Red Barons were not at their best on offense in the first half, shooting 8-for-40 from the field and finding themselves down 22-19 at the break.
Despite the poor shooting, the message at the half was clear.
“[I told them] we didn’t really need to change anything,” said Wright. “I thought defensively we were playing well, we just weren’t making shots. We just needed to take a deep breath and make shots.”
The Red Barons came out of their offensive stupor in the third quarter, netting 16 points in the frame, culminating with their first lead of the game with 1:21 to go in the third after two Taylor Kelly free throws.
Corning continued to build offensive momentum, starting off with an 8-2 run to begin the fourth quarter powered by four points from Kelly that put the Red Barons up 46-40 with just over four minutes to play.
Finger Lakes responded with a 5-0 run of its own on a triple from Nevaeh Mack and a score from Becca Reeves that cut the deficit to just one with 3:18 left in the game.
The ensuing Red Barons possession, Kelly connected on a catch-and-shoot three-pointer from the right wing that put CCC up four. A Breanna Palmatier and-one layup sealed the victory for the Red Barons a few possessions later.
Kelly led CCC with 24 points and three 3-pointers to go with 11 points in the final quarter.
“Taylor is a shooter, she’s just going to keep shooting,” said Wright. “She really came up with some big buckets for us tonight.”
Palmatier added 15 points and Hannah Morse contributed nine points for Corning.
Abigail DeFisher led Finger Lakes Community College with 21 points.
Corning, the seven seed, will travel Tuesday to No. 2 seed Onondaga,
“They’re very talented [and] very good,” said Wright of Onondaga. “We’ll go play as hard as we can play and do the best we can.”