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High school girls basketball: Malone girls pounce early for Section 10 title

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CANTON — The Malone girls basketball team jumped out to an early lead in the Section 10 Class A title game against Massena on Monday, then cruised to a 54-23 victory to win the sectional crown in the opener of the championship doubleheader at SUNY Canton’s Roos House.

The Huskies’ Janelle Heden sparked the team by scoring 11 of the team’s 23 points as Malone held a 23-5 lead after the first eight minutes of the game.

Malone advanced to state tournament play and will compete in the Section 10 Overall Championship semifinal round at SUNY Potsdam’s Maxcy Hall.

“The first quarter was one of the best quarters that we played this year,” said Malone coach Shelley Skelly. “We talked about coming out strong and what Massena was going to do coming in, pack it in defensively on us, so we needed someone to step up from the outside — and that someone was Janelle. She really stepped it up for us.”

Heden scored for a game-high 18 points, connected on three of her four 3-pointers and finished the first half with 14 of the team’s 32 points. She added three assists and three steals.

Two other players, Rachel Lamica and Morgan Fountain, struck for double figures for Malone (17-1). Lamica dropped in 11 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while Fountain finished with 10 points and six rebounds. Emily Marshall contributed nine points, six assists and six steals.

Massena’s Bailie Young led the Raiders with 14 points and provided all four of the team’s 3-pointers, all of which were in the second half.

The Red Raiders (6-13) closed out a rebuilding season under first-year coach Justin Shope.

“We played tough defense the whole game tonight but we had trouble scoring and that put us in a hole,” Shope said. “We got down but we battled right to the end and that’s what you want to see.”

Young also finished with six rebounds and three steals. Jessica Rode grabbed five rebounds and added four steals for Massena.

“We had a very young team this year,” Shope said. “Our seniors, Samanntha Villnave and Robin Boudreau gave us great leadership but we had a lot of juniors and four sophomores and our four sophomores played a lot.”

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