Shonna Brooks lines up a free throw.
Two of the top six teams in NYSPHSAA Class D girls basketball get together tonight when Section VII champion Elizabethtown-Lewis travels to SUNY Potsdam to take on Section X champion Hammond.
The Lady Lions (19-1, ranked sixth) advanced through the Section VII tournament as the top seed with a first round bye followed by a 73-21 victory over Minerva-Newcomb in the semifinals and a 49-34 victory over Moriah in the finals.
The Hammond Red Devils (20-2, ranked fifth), were the second seed in the Section X tournament, opening with a 61-38 win against Harrisville in the quarterfinal round. They followed that with a 39-35 win over defending section champion Chateaugay in the semifinals and a 43-40 win over fifth seed Heuvelton in the finals.
Hammond was one-and-done in the Section X overall championship, falling to Salmon River, 50-35.
Both teams have the ability to score the ball, as the Red Devils bring a balanced offensive attack led by Alyssa Crosby, who has scored 410 points this season. She is an inside/outside threat, connecting on over 100 free throws and 29 three-pointers. Gabby Marshall leads the team in three-pointers with 43 connections from long-range on the season, while Courtney Bova is second on the team in scoring and Michayla Horton also averages over six points per game.
“We know that the Crosby girl is going to be one of the most talented players we have seen all year,” Lions head coach Don Ratliff said.
While the Red Devils have one key scoring threat, the Lions rely on balance, with Lily Whalen, the top scorer in the Valley region, with 296 points, connecting on 54 free throws and 16 three-pointers. Shonna Brooks adds 243 points from the interior, while Kearsten Ashline has scored 164 points with 14 three-pointers made.
Jasmin Barnes added 137 points in the backcourt, while Kylee Cassavaugh is one of the top defenders in the league while also scoring 79 points on the season. Savannah Graves also provides a key scoring role off the bench, with 76 points this season.
The Lions and Red Devils tip at 6 p.m. tonight at SUNY Potsdam. The winner will travel to SUNY Adirondack Saturday, March 9, to face Section II champion Fort Edward.