MAYVILLE — Although Silver Creek dropped a 47-38 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 2 West basketball game at Chautauqua Lake on Friday night, the result itself seemingly played second fiddle to a much larger picture.
Going into the contest, Black Knights senior Abby Rice was just 9 points away from 2,000 career points. And despite the loss and how long in the game Chautauqua Lake kept him waiting, Rice added another accolade to what was a special high school career.
“That says everything” said Rice. “I’ve worked all my life to grow up and be a great basketball player and my goal was to play college. It’s just another step in growing my game and it shows my love and dedication to the sport. .
Ten seconds down in the fourth quarter, Rice found herself on the free throw line for two shots, with 7 points at that point. After converting both free throws and officially entering the record books, play was paused and Rice was treated to a celebration on the field, which included contributions from Silver Creek and Chautauqua Lake. Rice went so far as to say that next to her playground, Chautauqua Lake was the second-best place to cross the cape.
“I was a little upset that I had to score my 2,000th point not in my own gym, but if I had to do it anywhere else it would be here,” said Rice. “I play AAU with Lily (Woodis of Chautauqua Lake) so I wasn’t just getting it with my Silver Creek teammates, but I was getting it with my off-season teammate.”
Rice’s coaches, her parents, Tammy and Kevin, had a memorial ball ready to celebrate the accomplishment, it was Woodis, who presented Rice with the ball and a congratulatory hug.
“She is the most spectacular player I know” said Woodis. “She’s the nicest, most supportive player ever and she’s a phenomenal basketball player. I just love her and I love that I got to have that moment with her.
Rice would finish with 12 points, and Chautauqua Lake certainly didn’t make it easy for her. From the opening tip, Rice was face-protected and double-teamed. And Rice’s inability to lose defenders, with sophomore Taylor Donato getting a heavy dose of Rice’s mission, coincided with the rest of his teammates turning frosty, as the Lady T-Birds took advantage. early.
“It was part of our game plan, obviously,” said Chautauqua Lake coach Bill Persons. “You know she’s the star player for them and she’s just a great all-around kid. Hearing my kids talk, they really respect her. They were just as happy when she got her 2,000th point.
More than halfway through the first quarter, Woodis and Donato made their mark on the scoreboard. Donato hit a 3-pointer to give Chautauqua Lake an 8-4 lead, before Woodis scored 5 points and Donato finished with another 3-point play, giving the Thunderbirds a 16-6 lead after the first period.
Silver Creek continued to struggle in the second quarter as Rice’s stifling defense continued to stifle Silver Creek’s offense. Meanwhile, the Lady T-Birds were assisted on the attacking glass, converting several second-chance opportunities. Sophomore Ava Olson herself made a 6-0 run midway through the second quarter, and at halftime Donato hit a long two at the buzzer to extend the lead to 29-14 before the break.
“This game was our biggest fight” says Tammy Rice. “We dug a deep hole. Chautauqua Lake came in ready to play, they beat us on the boards, they were aggressive and they did a great job of turning Abby down.
The third quarter featured more of the same. Rice had 7 points early in the frame, and Maider Arenas followed with a basket to give Silver Creek some offense, but Chautauqua Lake’s Natalie Gilkinson followed Olson’s lead in the second quarter and scored 4 points itself. , followed by 6 more points from Woodis to extend the lead to 37-18. Getting scores from Olson and Gilkinson, to go along with Woodis’ production, was something Persons was happy to see, especially since he only had six girls available for the game.
“It was a two-sided story” said People. “Ava gave us eight points in the first half, and Natalie gave us eight in the second half, and Lily gave us 12 in total… The girls all played a great game and I was really proud from Ava and Natalie… With only six tonight, it’s getting a bit difficult to shoot and it was a bit of a late notice that we only had six.
Although the match seemed out of reach late in the third, with the score at 41-20, Rice reaching the milestone seemingly lit a fire under his team. The Lady Black Knights took both points from Rice and ran, scoring nine more in a row afterwards, cutting the deficit to 41-31. Gilkinson responded with two baskets, but the Lady Black Knights managed to cut the deficit to seven points, at 45-38, with only moments remaining, but a final bucket Gilkinson crushed the comeback attempt. Tammy Rice said the team corrected many of their mistakes early in the game, which led to their comeback attempt.
“When we entered the game, there was no pregame conversation about his 2,000 points,” says Tammy Rice. “The girls didn’t even know we were stopping the game, none of that. So, I was hoping that would take some of the pressure off, but I think it was still there. After that, we relaxed and started connecting.
Woodis and Rice each finished with 12 points to lead all scorers. For Chautauqua Lake, Gilkinson finished with 11 points, while Olson and Donato each scored 8. Emma Wolcott added 5 points and Emma Lindsey scored 3. Along with her 12 points, Rice added 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks, while Jade Bouvier scored 10 points and had seven rebounds, three assists and four steals. Malani Eldridge scored 9 points with five rebounds, while Arenas had 5 points and Cam Karcz had 2.
When the final buzzer sounded, Rice found herself among the elite of high school basketball, taking a step few players even come close to. Surrounded by friends, family and teammates, she was able to celebrate her achievement with everything a player could wish for, except for one thing: a win.
The victory would instead go to Rice’s friend, teammate and person who called Rice an idol, Lily Woodis, who, out of respect and a smile, said she was happy with the trade.
The Lady T-Birds (3-5, 2-2) next face Southwestern on Wednesday at Southwestern High School, while the Lady Black Knights (7-4, 0-3) face North Collins the same day at Ruisseau d’Argent . Rice will have another day of recognition, as she, Eldridge, Carz, Bouvier and Emily Schneider will be honored for senior night.