Mustangs cruise to win over Hornell

HORNELL — The Dansville Mustangs used a 14-0 run in the second quarter to take a big lead over the Hornell Lady Red Raiders and then never looked back en route to the 63-40 road win in Hornell on Friday evening.

“It’s been really nice to see the girls put things together now that we are getting close to sectionals. They are really starting to play as a team and become really well rounded. I think the girls are really starting to come together, and it’s nice to see, especially against a good team tonight,” said Dansville head coach Kristen Kershner. “They are doing a good job of looking for each other, and they are not playing selfish basketball at all.”

The game was a complete team win, but as usual, the Mustangs were led by the dynamic duo of Arayana Young and Grace Rittenhouse. Young was a monster inside, finishing with 26 points, 21 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Rittenhouse also filled up the stat sheet with 17 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks in the win.

“It’s very, very nice to be able to rely on them. They play pretty well together, and if one of them is off, the other will usually have a good night,” said Kershner. “Arayana cleans up a lot inside and Grace gives us a great fast break option — it’s really good to have that.”

The game was fast and evenly played in the opening minutes, but points were hard to come by as the defenses dominated early.

Hornell slowly worked out to a narrow 5-4 lead halfway through the quarter, but that’s when the Mustangs took control. Dansville got steals, layups and putback chances as they closed the quarter out on an 8-3 run that gave them a 12-8 lead after the first quarter.

The momentum carried into the second quarter when Grace Rittenhouse buried a 3-pointer from the wing to start the frame and push the lead out to 15-8. But Hornell quickly regrouped as Leah Harkenrider buried a tough layup through contact. Then Jaden Sciotti hit a wide open triple following a missed rebound and suddenly the lead was down to two points at 17-15 with five minutes left in the half.

The Mustangs called a quick timeout, and then completely took over the game. Arayana Young and Grace Rittenhouse showed off their incredible inside-outside one-two punch as they led Dansville on a 10-0 run over the next two minutes that pushed the lead into double digits at 27-15.

HHS called a timeout of their own, but the Mustangs continued to control things. The run grew as big as 14-0 before Harkenrider finally ended the scoreless streak with a deep trifecta. Hornell continued to battle in the final minute and did cut into the lead, but Dansville still took a commanding 33-21 advantage into the intermission.

The game quickly turned into a physical matchup as the second half started. Hornell did everything it could to climb back into the game, but the Lady Mustangs dominated the glass and generated a ton of second chance looks in order to keep the lead in double digits at 38-25 halfway through the frame.

The game continued to be an evenly played contest through the rest of the frame, but because of that, the Mustangs lead was never truly threatened. Arayana Young continued to dominate inside, and when she scored the last four points of the frame, Dansville took its biggest lead of the night into the fourth quarter at 47-32.

At the start of the fourth quarter, the Mustangs came out and quickly put any thought of a comeback away. Dansville started the frame on a 7-2 run that pushed the lead out to an insurmountable 20 points at 54-34.

From there, each team started to put their bench into the rotation and made sure every person on the roster got playing time. When the final buzzer sounded, Dansville had secured a big 63-40 win.

Hornell was led by Jaden Sciotti, who poured in 22 points in the loss. Leah Harkenrider added nine points, which now puts her just eight away from the exclusive 1,000-point club. She will have one last regular season chance to eclipse the mark as Hornell (10-8) now prepares for one last home game on Tuesday evening when Wayland-Cohocton visits at 7 p.m.