The Elizabethtown-Lewis Lady Lions, Section VII/Class D champions.
The Elizabethtown-Lewis girls varsity basketball team made their third time to the Plattsburgh State Fieldhouse a charm, earning the Section VII/Class D championship with a 49-34 win over the Moriah Vikings.
"We were nervous at the beginning, but once we realized what we could do we picked it up a notch," senior guard Kylee Cassavaugh said. "It feels good to finally win this because it was the third time and this is a charm."
"We stayed out of significant foul trouble and Shonna Brooks played really smart with the fouls that she had," head coach Don Ratliff said. "Jasmin Branes, Lily Whalen and Kylee played a ton of minutes and were very smart all night on the court."
The Lions gradually pushed their lead throughout the game, starting with an 8-6 lead after the opening quarter which ballooned to an eight-point, 23-15, edge at halftime. After adding to that lead by one point, 35-26, after three, ELCS used an 8-0 run at the start of the third quarter to pull away and claim the sectional crown, their second of the season after also winning the Class D soccer title in November.
Brooks finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds (seven offensive), one steal and three blocked shots.
"It is awesome that we were able to win this one after winning the title in soccer as well," Brooks said. "We have got to work hard to prepare for our next game Tuesday. Coach says that he has a game plan and we will work on that."
Whalen scored 18 points to go with four rebounds, three assists and four steals.
"Our defense has improved a lot throughout the year, and we really needed to play good defense against Moriah," Whalen said. "We have played together for so long we just know what we are going to do and where we are going to be on the court. It feels great to win and we will get ready for our next game and work to improve."
Cassavaugh added four points, one rebound and two steals, while Savannah Graves also scored four points to go with four rebounds and a blocked shot.
"It has been really fun, and I am glad that I have had the opportunity to play with this team," Graves said. "It feels good to win this title."
Angel Barnes scored the final two points of the game for the Lions off an assist from Jenn McGinn. Kearsten Ashline added two points, three rebounds, an assist and a steal.
Jasmin Barnes, who missed last year's title game against Indian Lake/Long Lake due to injury, contributed with three rebounds, three steals and an assist.
"It was good to be part of this team for the past two years and to get to play in this game and win," she said.
Emily Morris, who returned from Nicaragua two days before the game, had two rebounds and an assist.
"While I was gone, you realize what you have and cherish everything when you come back," Morris said. "It was great to come back to my friends and the team and winning made it that much better."
For Moriah, Lauren Pelkey scored 12 points to go with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Taylor Sprague added seven points, two rebounds and a block; Madison Stahl had four points, three rebounds, one steal and one block; Sarah Slattery had four points, five rebounds and a steal; Lauren Cross two points, three rebounds and a steal; Halie Snyder two points and two rebounds; Val Wykes two points, three rebounds and an assist; and Caitlin Pelkey one point, one assist and one block.
"They stretched us out well defensively," head coach Steve Pelkey said. "The girls have been playing better throughout the year, but we had a lot of nervous kids out there for this game. I am very proud of the way that they played all year long and we felt that anything we got after the sectional semifinals would be icing on the cake. We will cherish this run and learn from it."
The Lady Lions (19-1) travel to Potsdam Tuesday, March 5, to face Section X champion Hammond at 6 p.m.