By Sam Wilson
Ellicottville junior guard/forward Linnea Jimerson erupted Wednesday, scoring 21 of her 34 total points in the second half of the Eagles’ Holiday Valley/Ellicottville Sports Boosters Holiday Tournament opener, charging past Frewsburg in the process.
Trailing 29-20 at halftime Thursday, the Eagles won 52-44 with 34 points, 13 rebounds and three steals from Jimerson.
“That was her best all-around game for sure,” coach Chad Bartoszek said of Jimerson. “She’s really developing a knack for that shot fake and go, take it to the hoop. I think she’s developing that outside jumper, which is drawing a little more defense. She’s always had a knack for taking it to the rack but if she can start hitting them from outside that’s going to expand the zone and we can do some things.”
Jimerson earned the Olean Times Herald’s female Athlete of the Week honor for her efforts against Frewsburg.
Senior guard Evelyn Cortez added 9 points and five steals for Ellicottville (2-2) while playing all 32 minutes.
“It’s a lot of pressure on her to bring the ball up,” Bartoszek said. “She made some bad decisions, but she made a lot more good decisions. All we’ve got to do is erase some of those turnovers and she’s going to be a heck of a point guard for us. Couple that with Linnea’s ability to score and hopefully we have something here and we can build on this.”
Bartoszek said the second half came down to “focus and composure.”
“We’re a young team,” Bartoszek said. “We looked erratic all first half and we finally settled in the second half and you could just tell. We were playing basketball… we were running offense, we were playing defense, we were in our correct spots, we were running transition offense when we had it and we were pulling out when we didn’t. It was really nice to see them put together some things and they should be proud. That was a good team, we battled them pretty tough and it was good to come out on top.
“That was our best half (of the season). Linnea gets in foul trouble, that could throw a wrench into things, but we hung tough, kept it tied and when she got in there fresh we just kind of took off.”
Frewsburg (0-3) got 23 points from Dani Gray before the junior center fouled out in the fourth quarter, while Gabby Iuculano added 11 points.
Randolph won the other tournament semifinal Friday, defeating Gowanda 75-44, but Saturday’s weather forced the postponement of planned championship and consolation games, which will be made up outside of the tournament weekend. The Eagles lost their next game, 46-38, in a rematch against Hindsale Monday (see recap, B2).
With the graduation of Marissa Hamilton, the school’s all-time leading scorer now playing at the University at Buffalo, and strong rebounding forward Emmalea Erlandson, the Eagles have relied on their returning starting guards to start the season.
“We’re not close. We’re a ways away,” Bartoszek said of his team’s success in recent years. “We’re still really erratic at times, and we’re not very big, so we’ve got to kind of change some guards’ minds into boxing out and crashing boards, which they’re not used to doing. When you have Marissa, Emmalea Erlandson and Linnea last year, they took care of all the rebounds. Now we’ve got to re-teach girls to crash the boards and be a team rebounding team.
“There’s a lot of things we’re going to continue to get better at, but it’s nice that it happened here at home in our tournament.”
Iuculano 4 2-2 11, A. Carlson 2 0-0 4, Jones 1 2-2 4, Dilts 1 0-0 2, Gray 9 5-7 23, Cusimano 0 0-2 0. Totals: 17 9-13 44.
Mowery 0 5-6 5, Smith 1 0-0 2, Cortez 4 0-0 9, Jimerson 13 7-9 34, Earley 1 0-0 2. Totals: 19 12-15 52.
Frewsburg 19 29 35 44
Ellicottville 15 20 36 52
Three-point goals: Frewsburg 1 (Iuculano), Ellicottville 2 (Cortez, Jimerson). Total fouls: Frewsburg 17, Ellicottville 11. Fouled out: Gray.