Taylor Saltus of AuSable Valley goes up for a shot against Lesli Moore of Ticonderoga as Meg Campney follows the play
The upset alert was sounded Feb. 21 as the Ticonderoga Lady Sentinels headed into the locker room with a 15-14 halftime lead over top-seed AuSable Valley in the Section VII/Class C semifinals in Beekmantown.
However, that siren was short-lived as halftime gave the Lady Patriots and sharp-shooter Meghan Strong regroup, outscoring the Sentinels 26-2 in the third quarter en route to a 51-25 victory.
"We had a motivational speech that was less about x's and o's and more about about energy and desire," Patriots head coach Roger Long said. "When Meghan hit a three-pointer at the start of the third quarter, I felt good after that went in. That broke the dam for us."
In the third quarter, Strong scored all of her 11 points in the game, connecting on a pair of three points, a layup and three free throws. The team accounted for 26 points, 11 rebounds (five offensive), six assists, eight steals and one blocked shot, while Ticonderoga had two points, five rebounds (two), one assist and two steals.
"We played really good defense and rotated well in the first half," Sentinels head coach Shelley Young said. "We hit the boards real strong and did a nice job breaking their press. In the third, I think we just ran out of gas and they hit the gas pedal. I am very pleased with the effort, because they beat us twice and we were able to put a scare in them.
The Patriots trailed 10-6 after the first quarter and 15-14 at halftime.
"We did not come out as strong as we wanted," Strong, who finished with four assists and two steals to go with her 11 points, said. "Taylor Saltus and Logan Snow were strong and we got a good pep talk at halftime that got our confidence up. I was proud of the team. We knew we wanted to win and keep playing."
Saltus carried the Patriots in the first quarter with five of her game-high 12 points. She also finished with seven rebounds (five offensive), three assists and 11 steals, six coming in the third quarter run.
Snow, meanwhile, was crucial in the second quarter, scoring four of her nine points and grabbing six of her game-high 13 rebounds (seven offensive). She also contributed four steals.
"We were doing good in the first half, but we were still struggling to score," Snow said. "Once they started falling, we were able to gain the confidence. I was calling for the ball early, but then I got in foul trouble."
"Logan and Taylor were very aggressive on the ball," Long said. "Logan was always around the glass and the ball early."
JV call-up Madison McCabe added eight points and two rebounds for the Patriots, while Madison Rondeau added seven points and five rebounds, Sierra Snow scored two points to go with six rebounds (four offensive) and three steals. Sydney Snow, another call-up. had two points and two rebounds, while Haley Taylor added four rebounds and Bryce Douglass had an assist and block.
For the Sentinels, Andrea Rich scored 11 points to go with four rebounds, two assists and three steals. Kylie Austin scored six points and added 10 rebounds, while Tiffani Purkey scored five points with a rebound and Meg Campney scored three points and added three rebounds. McKenna Kelly and Lesli Moore each had a pair of rebounds, with Moore adding two assists and a steal.
The Patriots advance to the Plattsburgh State Fieldhouse for a Friday, March 1 Class C championship matchup with Northern Adirondack, who defeated Seton Catholic in the other semifinal.