Bears Repeat; Run Away From Hammond Girls' Effort
BY DAVE SHEA
POTSDAM - Hammond Central played with a heavy heart on Friday night at SUNY Potsdam. The Class D Champion Lady Red Devils matched up with Class B Champion Canton looking to add a first Overall Section 10 Playoff Championship to the enormous legacy of their program.
The Red Devils also desperately wanted a win to honor the memory of Coach Tom Chapman, the school's longtime, coach, athletic director, physical education teacher and community leader, who passed after a long battle with cancer on Thursday.
"The girls took it hard," said Hammond Coach Shawn Dack.
The Lady Devils trailed 16-11 after one quarter, pulled within 30-27 when Kylie Vaugh scored at the buzzer of the first half and took a 48-47 lead after three quarters when Avery Kenyon scored in the closing seconds to cap an 11-point quarter.
The Lady Bears, who have won seventh straight Class B titles, followed the lead of skilled senior guards Katie Chisholm and Sarah Sieminski, who scored 25 and 22 points with four 3-pointers apiece to answer. They answered with an outstanding and decisive 27-10 fourth quarter run to gain a 74-58 victory, a repeat Section 10 title and four overall times in the last seven years. In reaching their goal they stopped 23-2 Hammond's 23-game win streak.
"Run" was the watchword of the surge as the Bears (21-3) used stellar interior defense and strong rebounding to trigger a flurry of transition scoring which produced the first 12 points of the final quarter. Despite losing NAC West Division MVP's Avery Kenyon (ankle injury) and Kelsey Bennett (five fouls) with three minutes to play the Devils' effort never wavered but couldn't deter the poised Bears from their destination.
"Hammond is a very good team and we knew that we would have to hit our shots against their defense. We had shots go down early but we had to box out better after the first quarter. We rebounded well and the key for us was that spurt of transition scoring in the fourth quarter. We love to get out and run," said Canton Coach Jim DiSalvo.
"I heard about their loss on the way to the game and I feel bad for them. I heard he (Coach Tom Chapman) was a wonderful man. I think this game showed that both teams can do well in the states. We play on Tuesday against Mechanicville or Mekeel Christian (play on Saturday) at Saratoga along with OFA so it should be a great night."
Hammond will enter state play at the regional finals level playing the Section 3 Champion for a berth in the New York State Final Four later in the week.
Jan Reetz Award recipient Katie Chisholm continued as the Bears' primary fast break finisher striking for 13 points in the fourth quarter and sealed the win hitting five straight free throws. Chisholm also buried two 3s in the first and third quarters and Sarah Sieminski's 22 points featured a 3 in all four quarters and seven points in the first quarter. Emily Wentworth delivered a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double and Maddie Hoy scored five points with two fast break finishes in the fourth quarter. Other scoring came from: Lexi Huiatt with five points and three steals, Mary Lobdell and Kelsea Whitter with two points apiece and Gretchen Warner and Jilly DiSalvo with one free throw apeice.
Avery Kenyon netted 10 of 12 free throws leading Hammond with 20 points. Kelsey Bennett went 4-5 from the foul line and hit two 3s scoring 13 points with four assists and Kylie Vaugh tallied 10 points with six rebounds and three blocks.
Other scoring came from Landree Kenyon with a fourth quarter 3-pointer, Hailey Cunningham with four points and five rebounds, Alyvia Crosby with four points, Sadey Spabary with three points and Hailey Manning with one point.