Hammond, Heuvelton Girls To Meet For Class D Title
BY DAVE SHEA
POTSDAM - When the Section 10 Class D Girls Basketball Championship game is played on Saturday at 1 p.m. at SUNY Potsdam there will be a changing of the guard.
But the new champion will hardly be a stranger the roll call of sectional titles and state tournament representatives from the match of number one seed Hammond and number two seed Heuvelton. Heuvelton advanced past third-seeded Chateaugay 38-16 while Hammond controlled the second half to record a 53-38 win over fourth seeded and two-time defending Edwards-Knox.
Heuvelton has won three state titles and secured four straight sectional titles before E-K went back to back. Hammond won pair of state titles during a string of sectional titles from 2005-9 and last won the sectional title in 2011 and 2012.
"Getting to this game was our goal but we definitely have to put the ball in the basket. We have to play our best game to try and compete," said Heuvelton Coach Rob Powers looking ahead to the championship game.
Hammond 53 - Edwards-Knox 38: The 21-1 Red Devils entered the game riding a 21-game winning streak but still feeling a sense of nagging anxiety dating back to a loss to E-K in last year's semi-final round.
The tension was accentuated when the Cougars (12-6) regrouped from a 9-0 deficit to take a 27-20 lead late in the second half on the second of two putbacks by Jasmine Nezezon. The Devils cut difference to 27-25 on a putback by Kylie Vaugh and a dazzling length of the floor run to a pull-up 3-point jumper as time expired by Avery Kenyon.
"I give EK a lot of credit, they fought hard. We talked all year about last years game with them. And I think that put a lot of undo stress on the first 5. We talked a lot about composure, experience, discipline at halftime. But we were still jittery," said Hammond Coach Shawn Dack.
Things got worse but then they got better. A lot better.
The second half opened with Rachel Vachez continuing her big shot touch for the Cougars by hitting a three-pointer for 30-25 lead and a short while later Kenyon drew her third foul and went to the bench. Her sister Landree Kenyon replaced her and Coach Dack rotated a mix of starters and reserves and Devils went on a 16-2 run to 36-34 lead and finished with a 7-4 advantage in a slow paced fourth quarter.
While Hammond's defense sealed the driving lanes and forced E-K to the perimeter for its offensive attempts, the Red Devils prospered inside. Kylie Vaugh (8 rebounds) scored eight of her game high 18 points with baseline drives in the third period and Landree Kenyon scored all seven of her points in the decisive run. Avery Kenyon finished with 16 points, four rebounds and two steals on the night and Kelsey Bennett (4 steals), Alyvia Crosby (4 rebounds) and Sadey Sprabary (15 rebounds, 2 blocks) all added four points.
Sadey Sprabary grabbed 13 of her 15 rebounds in the second half where the Cougars were limited to one shot a possession and managed to score only 11 points. Hailey Cunningham contributed an effective floor game with seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.
"Our subs and JV players settled us down. Landree Kenyon took advantage bigtime and Zoey Cunningham, Alyvia Crosby and Hailee Manning were big in the defense," said Coach Dack.
Sadey Sprabary and Kylie Vaughan owned the glass in the second half and collectively we settled down and played basketball. "
Abby Hart (4 rebounds, 5 assists) scored 11 points leading the Cougars to their halftime lead and Lucy Frary (7 rebounds, 4 steals) and Rachel Vachez each finished with eight points. Jasmine Nezezon rendered a strong outing off the bench with six points and Hailey and Dekoda Matthews (5 rebounds) added three and two points.
"We played hard but we just couldn't score in the second half," said E-K Patty Taylor.
Heuvelton 38 - Chateaugay 16: Heuvelton (16-6) held Chateaugay (13-7) scoreless for over six minutes in the first quarter and eventually forced 23 turnovers against their Bulldog counterparts from the NAC East. The HCS offense, however, didn't catch up to the efficiency of its defense until the third quarter when center Bella Doyle and guard Rayna Cameron combined for seven and five points in a 16-2 run away from a 16-6 halftime lead.
As multi-purpose leaders Doyle finished with a 13-point, 11-rebound double-double with three steals and Cameron delivered 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Katie Cunningham tallied six points, Dakota Mouthorp followed with four and Rylin McAllister and Ali Trathen (3 rebounds) each added two points. Trista Ashley and Kaitlyn Sibley each controlled four rebounds.
Chloe Champagne (7 rebounds, 4 steals), Julianna Gordon (12 rebounds) and Anna Bleakly (6 rebounds) all scored four points for Chateaugay and Adrienne Secoure and Ayana Adams each finished with two points.
"It was a great game by Bella Doyle and eighth grader Katie Cunningham had an outstanding game. Our bench play was solid and we got great leadership from Rayna Cameron," said HCS Coach Rob Powers.
SECTION 10 GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK THURSDAY Class B Championship - SUNY Potsdam (#2) OFA vs. (#1) Canton at 6 p.m. folloiwed OFA Cantion Boys Championship game.
FRIDAY, Class C Championship - SUNY Potsdam (#1) Madrid-Waddington . vs. (#3) St. Lawrence Ctl at 6 p.m.
SATURDAY: Overall Class D Championship - SUNY Potsdam Semifinal Winners play at 1 p.m.