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Salmon River girls turn back Potsdam in Class B semis; SLC advances to C final

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FORT COVINGTON – The Salmon River girls basketball team out-scrapped and out-scored the Potsdam Sandstoners on Thursday to advance to the Section 10 Class B title game.

The lady Shamrocks poured in 45 points in the second half to post a 78-61 Northern Athletic Conference playoff victory, ending the Sandstoners’ winter campaign. The win advances the SRC girls to the Class B championship contest at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 22, against the top-seeded OFA Blue Devils who tuned up for the title game with a 5033 decision at home win over Gouverneur in the other Thursday night semi-final.

“There were two scrappy teams on the court tonight,” stated Salmon River Head Coach Karen Francis. “We were the better of the two.”

It was like a pair of boxers in the ring, as the two NAC Central Division rivals traded punches on the scoreboard with the Shamrocks winning each of the four-quarter rounds.

After Potsdam took the game’s initial lead, the SRC girls jumped in front on a Jaiden Mitchell 3-pointer and went on a 6-0 run before Potsdam answered and cut the Shamrocks’ lead down to one point.

That type of play would continue throughout the contest, as Salmon River built a lead only to have the Sandstoners rally. SRC held a 15-10 lead at the end of the first eight minutes of play as Taylor Francis swished a step-back 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded.

The two NAC rivals traded buckets in the second quarter as both teams tossed in 15 points with SRC holding a five-point lead, 33-28, at the half.

Potsdam cut the Salmon River lead back down to three points to open up the third quarter, with Salmon River, once again, going on a run to regain some breathing room. Another Francis trey put the hosts back in front by nine points and maintained the lead between nine and 11 points over most of the quarter.

But the Sandstoners didn’t fold and rallied again to cut their deficit back downto three points, 48-45, with just over a minute left in the third quarter. SRC’s Abby Kelly tossed in the stanza’s final five points, including a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left in the quarter to lift the hosts back in front by eight points, 53-45, by the end of the period.

Again Potsdam started the session by cutting into the Salmon River lead with the Shamrocks answering yet again.

This time Potsdam didn’t have an answer as SRC increased its lead to as much as 15 points.

A run by Potsdam brought the difference back to nine points, briefly, as another Francis 3-pointer put the Shamrocks back in front by double figures.

Salmon River secured the playoff victory as Sam Ghostlaw calmly nailed a pair of free throws after making her lone steal of the game, with Mitchell tossing in her second 3-pointer of the game for the final margin of victory.

The 78-point performance was one of the higher offensive outputs by the Shamrocks this season with the SRC girls seemingly peaking at the right time of the season.

“We haven’t peaked yet, but we are getting there,” added coach Francis, who was “impressed” with Salmon River landing four players in double figures.

As she has done for the majority of the season, Kelly paced the SRC offensive output and had another solid overall floor performance. Kelly tossed in a game-high 28 points and posted a unique double-double with 10 steals, adding seven rebounds and six assists to the playoff win.

Aliyah Cook followed with double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds as Kwio King finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals. Taylor Francis added 11 points and a pair of 3-pointers to the win as Jaiden Mitchell had a six-point, six-rebound, five-assist effort.

Shanielle Chambers and Sarah Vivlamore paced Potsdam (5-12) with 17 points and three 3-pointers each while Taylor Bonno and Breanne Sapp contributed 12 and 11 points, respectively, to the all-out effort of the Lady Sandstoners. Katherine Blanchard and Amanda Dillon closed out the Potsdam scoresheet with two points each.

OFA 50, Gouverneur 33: In Ogdensburg, the Lady Blue Devils (14-5) led 21-4 by the end of the first quarter and never looked back as Riley Luckie tossed through a game-high 17 points followed by Meg Dodge with 10 and Shannon Tooley with nine.

Kirstin Roberts paced the Wildcats (2-16) with 1- points followed by Jessica Rotundo with eight and Rachel Knowlton with four.

CLASS C GIRLS

In the Class C girls semi-finals on Thursday, St. Lawrence Central outlasted Tupper Lake 43-39 and top-seeded Canton beat Brushton-Moira 68-30. The Lady Larries will take on the Lady Golden Bears in the Class C final on Friday, February 22, at SUNY Potsdam’s Jerry Welsh Gymnasium starting at 4:30 p.m.

SLC 43, Tupper Lake 39: In Tupper Lake, the visiting Lady Larries (10-9) were outscored 14-4 in the third quarter but regrouped to produce a decisive 19-10 fourth-quarter run to come away with the win. Breanna Vatter led the SLC offense with 16 points, including four three-pointers, while Lindsey Thayer tossed through another pair of threes in a 14-point performance. Caitlin Grow and Jenna Kesner added four points apiece toward the winning effort. Sam Richards and Chelsea Savage each netted two while Noelle Rufa closed out the SLC scoresheet with a free throw.

Katie Stuart pumped through 28 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and collected seven steals for Tupper Lake (10-8). Ryanne O’Connor contributed seven points. Lizzie Zurek and Malorie McLear each finished with two.

Canton 68, B-M 30: The Bears (16-2) opened to a 15-8 lead in the first quarter where six players contributed offensively and expanded the lead to 38-15 by halftime with a 23-7 run over the Panthers (7-11). Katie Christy scored seven of her 13 points in the second quarter while Tori Daley contributed all nine of her points before halftime for Canton. Emma Rexford generated 15 points - 10 in the second half to lead all scoring. Kali Frank added eight followed by Kaeli Mace with seven, Rachel Sanderson with four and Chantel Rose with three. Jamie DiSalvo, Taylor Reed, Megan Howard and Emily Pinckney added two points apiece and Natalie DiSalvo accounted for the other.

Arielle Gary tallied nine points for Brushton-Moira. Caitlyn LaPage scored six while Alex Trickey added five. Macaela McCarthy and Danielle Trimm each scored four and Jenna Dufrane netted two.




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