Lily Whalen of Elizabethtown-Lewis defends against Jessica Bain of Indian Lake/Long Lake.
The Indian Lake/Long Lake Lady Orange have defended their Section VII/Class D girls title with a 38-30 win over the Elizabethtown-Lewis Lions March 2.
The Orange overcame a 20-10 halftime deficit with a 28-10 second half.
“We got out of sync offensively and never got it back,” Lions head coach Don Ratliff said. “We made a couple of key turnovers in the second half, and they made their foul shots at the end of the game. They made a good adjustment offensively in the second half and while we adjusted, we didn’t defend it well. We just didn‘t perform in the end”
In the fourth quarter, Abigail Darling connected on a 17-foot jumper on an assist from Morgan King at the 5:12 mark to give the Orange their first tie since 2-2 in the opening quarter. On the following play, Darling stole the ball at half court and scored on a lay-up to give them their first lead of the game. Darling finished with nine points, all scored in the second half and blocked six shots in the game.
“What a second half Abby had,” Orange head coach John Reynolds said. “Getting the boost that we did from her off the bench was huge because we got our confidence and momentum back.”
“I just love Abby,” Jessica Bain, who scored 13 points, said. “To come off the bench and do what she did. it’s stuff that she always does in practice.”
“It was great for her to step in like that,” Shannon Farrell, who scored eight points, said. “She kept hitting those elbow jumpers, and when she blocks shots she has such great hands.”
“We wanted to prove ourselves in the second half,” Darling said. “After the first jumper fell, that just boosted my confidence. It makes me proud that I could help out the team tonight.”
Lily Whalen then tied the game for the Lions at the 4:30 mark of the fourth quarter with a pair of free throws. The Lions took the lead back when Clare Harwood grabbed an offensive rebound and found an open Kearsten Ashline for a 30-28 lead. Jessica Bain scored a jumper off a screen-roll play to then tie the game at 30-30 with 2:30 left.
Morgan Hinckley gave the Orange the lead back with a mid-range hook shot at the 1:50 mark at 32-30. Hinckley extended the lead, hitting a pair of free throws at the 1:10 mark for a 34-30 lead. Bain then added two more from the stripe to extend to a 36-30 lead.
Shannon Farrell connected two more free throws on with 6.2 seconds remaining, and the Orange were able to celebrate a successful title defense.
Morgan Hinckley added six points in the game.
“I think they just want to see the hair on my head turn another shade of grey,” Reynolds said of the free throws. “They shot 5-for-12 in the first half, and I guess they must need the pressure, because they finished the game only missing one. It was the same with our game against Westport, we made the free throws and had to if we wanted to win.”
For the Lions, Shonna Brooks finished with 15 points, with only two coming after halftime. Lily Whalen added nine points. Kearsten Ashline added four in the loss.
The Lions held a 16-7 lead after the first quarter and a 20-10 lead at halftime. The Orange had cut the lead to 26-22 after three.
The Lions were plagued with foul trouble in the first half, collecting 10 team fouls. Kearsten Ashline was forced out of the game midway through the first quarter, after picking up her second foul early. Clare Harwood picked up her third personal foul just before the quarter ended.
In the opening quarter, Brooks scored nine points as the Elizabethtown-Lewis Lady Lions used a 9-2 run to end the first eight minutes to give them a 16-7 lead.
The Orange will next play Saturday, March 10, at the Plattsburgh State Fieldhouse in the regional finals against the winner between Section X and II, with a trip to the state final four on the line. Last season, the Orange lost in the regional finals to Chateauguay, who is coached by Reynolds brother, Tim. The Bulldogs were ousted in the Section X finals.