Saturday, March 27, 2010

Averill Park wins Federation title!

Katie Duma (13) hoists the New York State Federation Tournament of Champions trophy after earning Tournament MVP Honors. Next to her are Amber Dushensky (44) and Michaela Ottati 3). (Photos - Associated Press).

The Crooked Lake House will be rocking Saturday night. The Averill Park High School girls basketball team proved Saturday afternoon that they were, without a doubt, the best Class A basketball team in New York State.



The Warriors battled St. Anthony's of Melville through three quarters, taking a one-point lead into the final eight minutes.

Michaela Ottati hit a three-pointer early in the fourth and Katie Duma made a rebound and a long pass to Molly Streb for a layup on an ensuing possession. Averill Park closed it out at the foul line and won, 60-48, at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

Tournament Most Valuable Player Katie Duma scored 22 points, going 13-of-15 from the foul line. The Holy Family-bound senior tied a Class A tournament record with 18 free throws made over a two-game span. She also tied a Class A tournament record with five three-point field goals made in two Federation games.

“It's the icing on the cake,” Duma said. “It's a senior season I'll remember forever.”

Members of the Averill Park girls basketball team celebrate after winning the 2009-10 New York State Federation Tournament of Champions Class A crown.

Michaela Ottai, an Amsterdam transfer that was the new kid on the block among a group of seniors that had been playing together for the better part of the decade, played the game of her life. She scored 14 points and snared 16 rebounds in a game that made this Averill Park team immortal.

It took 24 minutes for the Warriors to figure out St. Anthony's man-to-man defense, but for the Averill Park faithful, it was worth the wait.

“We just had to adjust. They had their hands up and they were very long,” Ottati said. “They got their hands in the passing lanes. It kind of disrupted us a little bit in the beginning, but then we knew we had to adjust and we made good passes.”

Averill Park finished with a 26-1 record.

It was an incredible postseason run for Averill Park, which traveled the Empire State en route to becoming its champion. The Warriors knocked off an undefeated Holy Names team in the Section II Class A final and traveled to Syracuse for a regional semifinal three days layer. Three days after that, it was off to Potsdam for the regional final. The Warriors won a pair of games in the Final Four in their backyard at Hudson Valley Community College before heading to Glens Falls.

A Federation title is a rare feat for a Section II team. Germantown did it twice in the late 1980s, St. Johnsville won twice in the early 1990s and Colonie, in 2001, was the most recent champion from the Capital Region.

Click here for the full story on the game in Sunday's edition of The Record.

--
Averill Park's main offensive weapons, Katie Duma and Michaela Ottati, got most of the attention this year, and rightfully so. They were two of the best scorers in Section II in quite some time.

Sister act Brittany O'Shea, the senior point guard, and Brooke O'Shea, the exciting sophomore forward, also played a big role in the Warriors' success.

But it really was a cast of unsung senior heroes that made this Averill Park team one to remember.

Katie Hawes was as gritty as they come on the inside, providing tremendous post defense all year long.

Amanda Fitzgerald was a valuable piece off the bench, able to spell Brittany O'Shea or serve as a lockdown defender in the backcourt.

Molly Streb always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, ready to deliver with a key rebound or a clutch shot.

Lauren Nunziato was a three-point shooting sensation off the bench who provided instant offense for the Warriors when the starters were struggling to connect.

Amber Dushensky was also a significant contributor in the frontcourt when head coach Sean Organ called her name.

--Averill Park's Brooke O'Shea, seen above poking at a loose ball, will be the leader of the Warriors' team next season as a junior.

What a wonderful end to a superb season for the Averill Park girls. They lost their final regular season game by a single point at Colonie, which was not a good omen for the postseason. The Warriors, however, put those demons to rest with an inspired run all across the state, cheered on, of course, by the Gold Mine.

Don't think a group of fans can help carry a team? Just ask the Lady Warriors.

The nine seniors on the roster will be scattering around the nation when they go to college later this year, but I'm sure the people in Averill Park will never forget their hometown heroes for what they did on the basketball court during the 2009-10 season.

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Liz said...

a very nice video and pictures. congrats to the Averill Park girls!

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