MANLIUS — Senior Night turned out to be extra special for the Bureau Valley girls basketball team on Thursday night.
Joined by county rival Princeton, the two teams came together on the hardwood to compete and also honor the life of Bureau Valley senior Cora Peters, who passed away on Dec. 30 after a long fight with cancer.
Bureau Valley won the game 54-40, as both teams and cheering sections were dressed in purple to raise cancer awareness. As the game drew to a close, the Storm student section chanted “Cora Peters” until the final buzzer sounded.
“Tonight was all about the seniors, and I was so happy that everyone came together and worked hard tonight to make it special for them,” Storm coach Tiffany Gonigam said. “That was the biggest crowd we’ve had all year, and they came out in full force for the seniors and for Cora. That was probably one of the best Senior Night atmospheres I’ve ever seen as a player or a coach. It was really special, and I know it meant a lot for the girls to have that support tonight from everyone, including the Princeton community. It was so neat to see everyone come together for that reason.”
Princeton coach Kevin Hieronymus said his team wanted to show their support to Bureau Valley for their loss.
“We didn’t know Cora personally like they did but we know she was an outstanding young lady and is sorely missed by the Bureau Valley community,” he said. “My heart goes out to them and the Peters family. We just want to let them know we care and we share their loss.”
Along with the tribute, there was a game to be played. Thursday’s varsity contest was the nightcap of a triple-header that featured all three levels in action.
Bureau Valley (9-16) controlled the pace of the Three Rivers crossover contest for most of the night, trailing just once when Zoe Mead put the Tigresses up 2-0. The Storm scored 12 of the next 16 points in the first quarter and then extended their lead with a big second period.
Helena Osk Arnadottir, Savanna Dean and Darcy Kepner all hit threes in the second for BV as they outscored PHS 17-6 in the quarter. The Tigresses had putbacks from Alison Van Den Bussche and Ivy Rhodes in the period, but that was the only field goals that would fall as they struggled from the field, hitting 5 of 29 shots in the first half.
“They were all in the paint on our shot chart,” Hieronymus said of his team’s field goals attempts. “I don’t remember one that I would have taken back. They were all where we wanted them at.”
Princeton started to heat up in the third and after falling behind 37-18 following a steal and layup from Arnadottir, went on an 11-3 run to close out the quarter. Brianna Barajas and Stephenny Farrell sparked the run with points inside, taking advantage of Storm center Nicole Bornsheuer missing most of the third after re-aggravating an ankle injury.
Bornsheuer would return in the final quarter, however, and was a difference maker, scoring 5 of her 9 points, including a three-point play within 10 seconds of re-entering the game. She also finished with a game-high 14 rebounds as her and teammate Carlie Bickett combined for 26 boards on the night, 12 of them coming on the offensive end.
“I think part of our problem in the third quarter was not having Nicole on the floor,” Gonigam said. “Even if she doesn’t score a lot she draws a lot of defense because of her height and the threat she is for our team.”
Princeton outscored Bureau Valley 28-25 in the second half.
Darcy Kepner led the Storm with 12 points. Arnadottir added11. Barajas topped PHS with 10 points, Farrell scored 9 and Kelly Schmidt chipped in 8.
Notes: In underclassmen action, the Tigresses won the first two games of the evening. They took the sophomore game 44-27 behind 18 points from Ivy Rhodes. Savanna Brunoehler scored 8 for BV. In the freshman game, Princeton won 29-18. Michaela Mall scored 10 and Sarah Murray chipped in nine points. … Both teams will have unusual circumstances on Saturday. Princeton will play two games in one day, hosting Henry at 2 p.m. and then traveling to Hall for a 7:30 p.m. makeup contest. BV will travel to Fulton for a game that counts as either two wins or two losses. Due to scheduling conflicts, the two teams couldn’t find a make-up date for a December postponement, so Saturday’s contest is worth two games for the price of one.
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