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Historic SLC girls hoops season ends in state Class C opener

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POTSDAM - One breakthrough season continued at the expense of the other on Tuesday as Section 7 champion Northern Adirondack Central outscored Section 10 champion St. Lawrence Central 42-25 in the opening round of the NYSPHAA Class C girls basketball playoffs.

“We got off to a pretty good start and we played pretty good defense for most of the game but we only scored seven points in the second half and it’s pretty hard to win any game when you do that,” said SLC coach Chad Gauthier after his squad came up short against the Bobcats at SUNY Potsdam’s Jerry Welsh Gymnasium in a matchup that featured two programs making their state tournament debuts.

“Give Northern Adirondack credit. They played hard on defense and they moved the ball well. They were a good team,” Gauthier noted.

Tuesday night’s win over the Lady Larries became another high-water mark for an NAC program that has gone from ending a nine-year winless streak to moving one win away from reaching the state final four under the guidance of coach Jessica Harrica.

“This is my fourth year of coaching this group. Four years ago, we went winless in 18 games and the next season, we decided to not have a varsity team. Last year, we had varsity again. We had our first win in nine years and we finished with a five-hundred record. So,” Harrica said, “we’ve gone from the bottom of the barrel to the top of it.”

“We’ve won our first sectional championship. Now we’ve won our first state playoff game and that gives us more confidence for the next game,” she added.

The Bobcats improved to 15-6 with the win and will now get set to take on Section 2 champion Hoosic Valley at Hudson Valley Community College starting at noon in the state quarterfinals while the Lady Larries see their inaugural Section 10 championship season end at 13-8.

Tuesday night’s game saw SLC work it way to an 8-0 lead when junior Chelsea Savage connected with 1:42 left in the first quarter but in what proved to be a sign of things to come, senior Jillian Scott buried a three-pointer on the next NAC possession for the final points of the opening frame.

The teams traded three-pointers to open the second quarter but a pair of free throws by sophomore Haleigh Agans with five minutes remaining in the half put SLC ahead 13-9. Junior Magan Magee then sparked a decisive 9-3 run over the next four minutes with three straight three-pointers, the third putting NAC ahead 18-16 with 41 seconds. Senior Abby Taylor tied the game with a midrange jumper on the next SLC trip down the court but with time running out, sophomore Taylor Durnin fired through her only three of the game and the Bobcats went into halftime leading 21-18.

NAC opened the second half by scoring five straight points before senior Lindsey Thayer ended the short run by converting from close range with 5:01 left in the third quarter. Neither team scored again until Savage cut the deficit to 26-22 with 3:18 left but NAC countered with the final five points of the quarter which ended with Scott netting a three-pointer at the buzzer to make it 31-22 heading into the final frame where the Bobcats generated nine more unanswered points before Thayer ended a nearly eight-minute scoring drought when she netted a midrange jumper with under four minutes remaining.

Thayer finished with a team-high nine points followed by freshman Bailee Gauthier with five, Savage with four and senior Jenna Kesner with three while Taylor and Agans wound with two points each.

Magee finished with four three-pointers in an 18-point effort that led the way for NAC. Scott tallied 13 points followed by Durnin with six, Rachael Venne with three and Makenna Magee with the other two.

“I saw NAC play a couple of times but they didn’t make three-pointers in either game like they did tonight. That killed us,” noted Gauthier.

“It was pretty emotional for everyone at the end but we had a great season. I’m very proud of the girls. They got to this game for the first time and we’re a young team so we’re already looking forward to being back here again next year,” he added. “It’s going to take more hard work though.”

OTHER STATE OPENERS

A total of four Section 10 champions opened their respective state tournaments on Tuesday. The OFA boys were the only ones to advance after overpowering Section 2 Class B champion Voorheesville 80-49 while Tupper Lake fell to Section 7 champion Seton Catholic 60-57 in a Class C boys opener and the Canton Central girls dropped a 65-52 decision to Section 2 Class B champion Tamarac

OFA 80, Voorheesville 49: At the Saratoga High School gym, OFA (22-1) scored the first seven points in the first and second quarters en route to opening a 40-23 lead at halftime and never looked back in halting the Blackbirds.

Junior Kinnon LaRose finished with 30 points going 12-20 from the field with seven assists, four rebounds and four steals. Senior Matt Piercey logged 18 points on six-of-nine shooting, logged seven rebounds and four assists while Colin Ross chipped in 16 points on six of 11 shooting and five rebounds and three assists. Seth Pinkerton added six points and six boards playing solid defense staying out of foul trouble. Jack Manke added six boards, three assists, and two points.

Logan Hotaling finished with 19 points going nine-of-18 from the field and added 10 boards for the Blackbirds, who saw a 20-game win streak brough to an end as they closed out their season at 21-2. Noah Crawford added eight points, four rebounds and three assists while Isiah Meaux and Dylan Hensel tallied seven and six.

OFA will face Section 7 champion Plattsburgh on Saturday at SUNY Plattsburgh at 1:45 p.m. for the right to play in the state final four in Glens Falls on March 14-16.

Seton Catholic 60, Tupper Lake 57: A rough first half cost the Lumberjacks (14-8) in a Class C first-round game against Section 7’s Seton Catholic at SUNY Potsdam.

Seton Catholic (17-3) outscored Tupper Lake 25-18 in the opening half but the Lumberjacks battled back to tie the game at 57-57. Kaden Baugh launched a three-pointer at the buzzer that hit the back of the rim then bounced straight down through the basket after time expired to lift the Knights to the win. Baugh scored 25 points to lead the way followed by Chris Kustos with 14 and Keagen Briggs with 10.

Mitch Keniston led the Lumberjacks with a 22-point effort. Anson Gagnier scored 14 points and Morgan Stevens tallied 12.

Tamarac 65, Canton 52: At the Troy High School gym, Tamarac went on a 22-13 run in the fourth quarter to pull away and eliminate the Golden Bears (16-6.

Tamarac (21-2) led 43-39 through three quarters. Jenna Erickson led the Bengals with a 32-point game. Adiya Henderson scored 19 points and Alex Mitchell added 11 for Tamarac.

Tori Daley led Canton with 17 points and Kali Frank tossed in 11.



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