SCHENECTADY – With Mayfield's top scorer sidelined with an ankle injury, Camryn Meca stepped up in a big way.


The senior guard drained two of her four three-pointers in the fourth quarter to lead No. 18 Mayfield past No. 15 Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons 37-34 in the opening round of the Section 2 Class C girls basketball playoffs Friday, Feb. 16.


“She usually makes them at the right time for us,” Mayfield coach Brian Moore said of Meca.


Mayfield (13-8) lost leading scorer Sydney Sheldon late in the third quarter when she injured her right ankle while trying to prevent a turnover. Ava Megyeri converted the layup at the other end of the floor to pull Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons (8-13) to within one point of the Panthers. Then on Mayfield's next possession, Abigail Kienzle forced a turnover and made a fast break layup to give the Golden Knights a 24-23 lead – their first since early in the second quarter.


That's when Meca took over. She drained a corner three-pointer to put Mayfield ahead 26-24 at the end of the third quarter. Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons pulled ahead again early in the fourth quarter, but Meca went on a personal 8-1 run to create a five-point Mayfield advantage.


“There was nothing else I could do but step up,” said Meca. “This is my senior season. I couldn't let this be my last game.”


Sheldon made some efforts to get back into the game. She tested her ankle behind the bench and had it taped up, but she stayed on the sideline for the entire fourth quarter. Moore said he is confident Sheldon will return for Tuesday's second-round game at No. 2 Mekeel Christian.


“She's a fighter. She'll be back for Mekeel on Tuesday,” said Moore.


Both teams struggled to get going in the first half. Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons saw a number of shots bounce off the rim, while Mayfield was committing several unforced turnovers.


“They played tough, strong, deep man-to-man defense,” said Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons coach Patrick Moran. “They adjusted to us on our screening, which made it tougher on us.”


Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons thought it had an advantage down low with junior forward Sarah Malinowski, who scored eight points and added several rebounds in the first half. However, Malinowski also got into foul trouble, and she wound up spending much of the second quarter on the bench.


With Malinowski off the floor, the Golden Knights struggled to hit their shots. That allowed Mayfield to close out the first half on a 10-2 run that gave the Panthers a 17-12 halftime lead.


Meca opened the third quarter with a three-pointer to increase Mayfield's lead to eight points. The three-pointer was Meca's 40th of the season, which placed her in a select club of Section 2 players.


“I knew I had to one more to make to get to 40,” said Meca.


Slowly but steadily, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons crawled its way out of its eight-point deficit. Kienzle and junior varsity call-up Ryann Relyea each scored four points during a 12-3 run that put the Golden Knights in front 24-23. But every time Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons thought it had gained the momentum, Meca hit a key shot for Mayfield to take it right back.


Meca finished with 16 points, and her four three-pointers tied her with Julie Hampton for the Mayfield team record for most threes in a season (43). Sheldon contributed eight points before getting injured, and junior forward Katie LaGrange added seven points off the bench.


Malinowski netted 10 points, and Relyea chipped in with seven points for Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons.


“The kids played hard. I'm very proud of all of them,” said Moran.



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