Dryden Lions

The Dryden Lions are closing in on another IAC North Large division title a year after they earned their first since 1991.

But seeing as nothing comes easily, Whitney Point is playing protagonist with three league games for each remaining and the teams deadlocked at 6-2 in league play.

“I think we all know that we all want a division title again and we want to go play at TC3 for IACs, but now we have to work for it,” junior Amy Gardner said Monday during practice.

Each squad needs to “take care of its business,” as head coach Ed Dow said of his Lions (7-7 overall). Identical records in league play at the end of the season will bring a tiebreaker game in which the winner plays the Large South division champion at Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) Feb. 16 in the Large School championship game.

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The head-to-head match-ups don’t factor into determining tiebreakers – it wouldn’t matter if they did, seeing as each won on their home court this year – but those two games do show what they Lions need to ensure they do to make a second go happen.

The consecutive titles would be the first since the Lions won in 1989, ’90 and ’91.

“We beat Whitney Point here by 17 points and it was because every time they got within 10, we buried a 3-point shot,” Dow said, emphasizing hitting shots as the key to the Lions’ wins these next two weeks.

When the teams met at Whitney Point, Dryden had less success burying those shots. Dow said his team shot the ball 104 times in some fashion and only made 22. They had 12 field goals and shot 10-for-28 from the free throw line.

The Lions lost by 11.

“We’re not very tall, so we need to run and try to get to lanes and get open shots,” he said. “So far they’re doing really good at that.”

Gardner has led the squad with an average 15.3 points per game, 5.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists. She said it’s all about hustle, focus and work going forward.

“Right now it’s more about fine-tuning things in practice,” she said.

Lindsey Goodenough is second on the team in points, averaging 6.1 despite missing three games due to an ankle injury. The 5-foot-4 senior also leads in bringing down the rebounds.

“I always tease her, you’re my only 6-footer on the court,” he said. “She thinks she’s 6-foot-tall and plays with that kind of aggression. She gets everything that’s loose.”

Said Goodenough, “I’m obviously the shortest one out there so you just have to play like you’re big and then you have the confidence you are bigger.”

She also has 33 steals, third on the team behind Gardner (42) and Keri Daley (37), another strong shooter. Veronica Cator-Syzmanski leads the team in blocks with 21 total.

The Lions have five games left on the schedule, beginning with Fabius-Pompey Friday on the road in a non-league game. Their remaining league games are at Lansing Tuesday, Jan. 31, vs. Southern Cayuga Feb. 2 and vs. Groton Feb. 7 for senior night.

Goodenough didn’t play the game at Groton in mid December, a tight win that has Dow calling his senior a “difference maker.” Dryden defeated Lansing, 46-34, in the first game. The coach said the goal is always 50 points comprised of 20 made shots from the floor and another 10 from the free throw line.

Whitney Point has Lansing, Trumansburg and Marathon left on the league schedule.

Follow Friday night games on Twitter, @casnegley. Get in touch with her at sports@flcn.org

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