Halee Calabrese drives to the basket against Huevelton in the Class D girls semifinals March 18 in Troy.
Photo by Jill Lobdell
TROY — The Moriah girls varsity basketball team was welcomed to the NYSPHSAA Class D final four for the first time ever by the two-time defending champions, Huevelton.
It wasn’t a warm one.
The Bulldogs opened with a 31-9 first quarter as they scored a 73-46 victory over the Vikings March 18 at Hudson Valley Community College.
“We knew what we were up against, and it all came down to that first quarter,” head coach Steve Pelkey said. “We didn’t hit some short shots, they hit everything. After we got the jitters out and got through the first, it was a different game.”
The Vikings held a 26-22 advantage through the middle 16 minutes, but were unable to keep the momentum in the fourth, when they were outscored by Huevelton, 20-11.
“We ran out of gas,” Pelkey said. “The girls played very hard and I had told them we wanted it under 10 heading into the fourth quarter, we just were not able to do that and at that point, I think they knew what was going to happen.”
McKenzie Sprague led the Vikings with 16 points and 7 rebounds along with 4 assists. She was named a member of the All-Tournament Team.
Madison Olcott followed with 14 points and four assists, while Halee Calabrese added 10, Malayla Stockwell 4 and Emily Haase 2.
Paige McCormick led Huevelton with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists.
Pelkey said while the team was disappointed with the loss, they were hoping to build off the experience much like their male counterparts at the school have.
“We hope we can build off this like the boys have,” Pelkey said, referring to the Vikings four straight trips to the final four and two straight to the title game.
“Hopefully this is something that motivates us for next year,” he said. “The goal has always been to get here, now the goal becomes getting back here, just like the boys have done. Hopefully it gives them the motivation to work over he summer and do what they need to in order to be successful.”