Taylor Saltus of AuSable Valley looks to pass against Saranac's defense.
The No. 3 AuSable Valley Lady Patriots again found themselves in another tough fight against No. 2 Saranac Feb. 21 in the Class B semifinals at Plattsburgh High School.
Tied in the final 15 seconds with the ball in the hands of junior guard Meghan Strong, the Patriots looked to be on the verge of getting of the potential game-winning shot.
However, after a drive to the basket by Madison McCabe was picked off by Saranac’s Summer Gillespie, it was Saranac holding their breath as Gillespie raced down the court and converted the game-winning layup for a 50-48 victory.
“We have played two very close games against Saranac this year so we knew this was going to be a tight one,” head coach Roger Long said after the game.
The game started out with AuSable (14-5) scoring the first five points of the contest followed by a 12-3 run for Saranac. The Lady Pats then scored the final four points of the first eight minutes to level the score at 12-12.
The Patriots trailed 29-19 at the half but rallied in the third quarter as they had in previous games, quickly cutting the lead to a single basket before ending the third quarter trailing the Chiefs 35-31. A Madison Rondeau three-pointer midway through the fourth quarter gave the Patriots their first lead of the second half, and after the teams exchanged possessions the Patriots held a 48-46 lead but were unable to convert on late free thrown opportunities.
“The biggest thing for us was things were not going our way in the first half and we had a conversation at halftime and said we could either quit or fight hard,” Long said. “We showed a lot of heart fighting back in the third quarter. We hit some key shots down the stretch but we did not shoot the ball great throughout the game. The difference in the game for me was the fact that we were 2-for-15 from the free thrown line tonight.”
Long said the last set for the Patriots started too early.
“The whole idea was to get Meghan to draw contact on their big kids with a screen, take the ball into the lane and read it from there,” Long said. “She attacked too early. The Gillespie girl got the steal, covered a lot of ground and made the bucket.”
The Madison’s - Rondeau (7.6 ppg) and McCabe (8.7 ppg) - each scored 11 points for the Patriots.
“Madison McCabe did a lot to get us back in this game,” Long said.
Strong (12.5 ppg), who played through the game injured, and Logan Snow (9.9 ppg) both scored eight points, while Taylor Saltus (10.8 ppg) added six points before fouling out early in the fourth quarter. Sydney Snow and Bryce Douglass each scored two points.
Class D playoffs
- Elizabethtown-Lewis 67, 7. Willsboro 27
The Lady Lions (14-5) used a 19-6 second quarter to pull away from the Lady Warriors (4-15) and advance to the Section VII/Class D semifinals Feb. 21. Lily Whalen (19.6 ppg) paced the Lions offense with 23 points while Jasmin Barnes (14.2) added 15, Savanah Graves 13, Emma Disogra 7, Angel Barnes 6 and Myra Adams 3.
For the Warriors, Andrea O’Hara (12.9 ppg) finished with 8 points, with Stephanie Blanchard scoring 7, Taylor Bigelow 5, Payton Gough 5 and Amanda Henrichs 2.
- Keene 51, 6. Crown Point 25
Trailing by two after the first quarter of play, the Lady Beavers (14-3) outscored Crown Point 35-10 over the next 16 minutes to pull away for a win to advance to the Class D semifinals Feb. 21. Elaina Smith (8.9 ppg) led Keene with 18 points while Hanna Whitney (14.2) scored 13, Naomi Peduzzi (11.7) added 9, Tucker Geiger (10.1) 5, Taylor Geiger 2, Madison Gifford 2 and Daria Venner 2.
- Minerva/Newcomb 60, 5. Westport 32
A 25-9 stretch over the middle two quarters of play sealed a trip to the Class D semifinals against Moriah for Minerva/Newcomb, who defeated the Lady Eagles (11-8) Feb. 21. Senior Brendee Russell (12.4 ppg) scored 12 points in her final game, while eighth grader Hannah Schwoebel (6.8) added 8, Ellie Schwoebel (9.1) 4, Sydney Mitchell 3, Sarah Looby 3 and Emily Rascoe 2.
Moriah scored a 68-6 victory over Schroon Lake to advance to the Class D semifinals, which will be played at AuSable Valley High School Tuesday, Feb. 25 with Elizabethtown-Lewis facing Keene at 6 p.m. and Moriah facing Minerva/Newcomb at 7:30 p.m.