POTSDAM - The Hammond Girls and the Madrid-Waddington Boys took divergent routes to the same destination, a berth in Saturdays Class D regional finals, in Tuesday nights twinbill of New York State Tournament basketball action at SUNY Potsdam.
Make that regional finals berths opposite top-ranked and undefeated Section 2 Champions.
Hammond (21-2) controlled Elizabethtown-Lewis (19-2) from opening tip and secured a 47-31 victory and a meeting with Fort Edward at Adirondack County Community College at noon on Saturday.
You wouldnt believe how hard we worked since last Tuesday to get ready to get back to the regional finals. We expected them to play man-to-man but they came out in zone. But it didnt matter because we were ready for anything, said Hammond Coach Shawn Dack after his Lady Knights buried nine three-pointers.
Our seniors gave us great leadership. We talked to Gabby Marshall about playing like a senior and she was ready to hit those three-point shots.
Madrid-Waddington (17-7) erased an 11-point deficit in the second half and used three outstanding defensive plays in the final 30 seconds of an electrified fourth quarter to claim a 49-46 win over Moriah (11-11). The Jackets earned a 4 p.m. matchup with Argyle at Hudson Falls High School and a rematch of last years regional which vaulted M-W into the New York State Final 4.
Moriah shot the ball well, their big guy clogged up the middle and they penetrated our man-to-man defense very well in the first half. We went to a zone in the second half and that worked better, said M-W Coach Aaron Jones.
I just cant enough about our guys. After we cut their 10-point lead down and they built it back up to 11 a lot of teams would have let down. But our guys just dont quit on anything.
Hammonds preparedness was illustrated on the opening tip which Alyssa Crosby directed to Courtney Bova who took the ball to the basket for a tough fastbreak conversion. Crosby, who spent much of the Section 10 Tournament playing in the post, shifted to the perimeter and buried a pair of three-pointers and scored 11 points leading the Devils to 18-7 first quarter lead.
She netted a three in the second quarter and went to score a game-high 16 points, grab 10 rebounds and pass out four assists.
Marshall (9 rebounds) netted a three-pointer in all four quarter scoring 12 points. Bova (4 assists) knocked two threes in the third quarter and finished 10 points and Emily Bush (5 rebounds) provided nine interior points through the first three quarters where the Devils opened a 43-23 lead.I really thought we would see a lot of man to man tonight. But they came out zone. The team played very well and I feel very good about my shots. said Marshall. I feel a little anxiety about playing the regional finals but thats okay. We are all really excited.
Lily Whalen buried three three-pointers leading the Lions with 15 points. Shonna Brooks scored eight second-half points and Jasmin Barnes tallied seven points with five rebounds.
Hammond is the best team we have seen all year. They just had too many options for us, said E-L Coach Colby Pulsifier. We tried to take the middle away and make them make the extra pass. They made the passes and they shot the ball very well. They made nine threes and we had only given up 15 all year.
Midway through the fourth quarter. Moriah had methodically built a 27-16 lead by controlling the tempo and the boards through the combination of smooth freshman center Dan Jaquish (12 points, 9 rebounds), crafty shot-making southpaw forward in Derek Brassard (16 points) and point guard Jessup Calkins, who did an outstanding defensive job in preventing penetration to M-Ws standout floor general Colin OBryan.
But the Yellowjackets revived their cause with a swarming defense which forced a quick flurry of turnovers. Richard Wright scored off a steal and OBryan invigorated the halfcourt offense with an acrobatic drive down the lane and a pull-up jumper to cut the difference to 27-23.
Jacob Barney opened the fourth quarter with a three to tie the score at 30-30. Eight lead changes and three ties later, the Vikings had a 46-45 lead on a jumper by Brassard and control the ball as the contest approached its final 30 seconds.
But the M-W defense denied the Vikings a good look and with the shot clock running down, Greg Thompson intercepted a pass to the wing and raced downcourt to a layup for a 47-46 lead with 29.4 seconds to play.
The Vikings bid to answer was snuffed as Maurice Rease intercepted an interior pass and netted two free throws for a 49-46 lead. A final desperation possession for Moriah produced two three-point attempts and OBryan blocked the second from behind at the buzzer.
I was just hanging back and he kept looking to the wing. So I just waited for the pass and picked it off, said Thompson of his decisive steal. Our defense has been off and on at times but we have been able to turn it on when we need it.
OBryan (8 rebounds, 8 assists), scored six of his 14 points in the fourth quarter where Wright (10 points), who scored six points in third quarter, and Rease (10 points), who netted two threes in the first quarter, also netted clutch jumpers. Thompson (6 rebounds) finished with eight points and Zach Brock added four.
Greg Thompson struggled with foul trouble tonight but he just keeps making big plays, said Jones. Colin OBryan just came through with a great fourth quarter and Zach Brock grabbed some key rebounds).
Tyler Pratt (6 points) and Ryan Shpur (8 points) both key clutch time jumpers for Moriah.
CLASS C GIRLS
Hoosic Valley 44, Canton 25: Defending state champion Hoosic Valley (20-3) relayed the momentum of an 11-2 second-quarter run past the Bears (19-3). Emma Rexford anchored the Canton scoring with 15 points, including three three-pointers. Katie Christy chipped in six points while Kali Frank and Emily Pinckney with two apiece as the Lady Bears who trailed 15-11 after the first quarter and 26-13 by halftime. Cassidy Chapko scored 22 points, pulled down 10 rebounds, had seven steals and handed out four assists in leading Hoosic Valley.
Alyssa Paul was the teams next leading scorer with eight points.
Hoosic Valley advances to take on Section 7 champion AuSable Valley in the Class C quarter-final round on Saturday at SUNY Plattsburgh.