Monday, March 8, 2010

Maple Hill and Watervliet girls move on to regional finals

The Maple Hill High School girls basketball team rejoices as the final buzzer sounds in Monday's Section II Class CC/C playoff victory over Greenwich.

(For Watervliet/Mechanicville video, please scroll down to the middle of this post)

If there was an MVP for the Section II Class CC/C girls basketball playoff game, Maple Hill junior center Katie Roth would certainly have earned the award. Roth scored 26 points and snared 21 rebounds for the Wildcats in a nailbiter, a 56-50 victory over Greenwich. (All photos by Erica Miller - The Saratogian).

Roth, who plays a bit at the guard position during the AAU season, certainly put those ball-handling skills to good use in Monday's Section II Class CC/C playoff game against Greenwich.

The Witches applied full-court pressure for most of the game, meaning Roth was often receiving long passes at midcourt. Unafraid to dribble with the ball, Roth got the Wildcats out of a number of sticky situations in transition. She finished with 26 points and 21 rebounds and also made the game-winning assist, setting up Jessica Dailey's three-point shot with one minute to play.

Greenwich's sophomore sensation, Dani DeGregory, seen here driving around Maple Hill's Erin Mosher, scored 13 points for the Witches. DeGregory, however, was limited to a 1-of-5 performance from the free throw stripe.

Jessica Dailey finished the game with nine points on a trio of three-point buckets, but none was bigger than her basket late in the fourth quarter. Much like Chris Despart's game-winning three-point bucket for the Maple Hill boys in overtime against Hoosick Falls in the Section II Class C title game, Dailey inbounded the ball from the sideline. She found Roth inside, but Roth kicked it back out - just as Sean Danaher did in the boys game - to a wide-open Dailey, who buried the shot that put Maple Hill ahead for good.

Maple Hill made five of its six free throws in the final minutes, withstood a DeGregory steal of a Dailey inbound - DeGregory was called for traveling under the basket - as the Wildcats won, 56-50.

Maple Hill receives a bye into the regional final and will face the winner of Wednesday's regional semifinal between Section VII champion Ticonderoga (9-11) and Section X champion Brushton-Moira (20-1). Saturday's regional final will be played at Adirondack Community College. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:45 p.m.

Maple Hill's Anna Racz scored the game's first four points and finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.

One of the unsung heroes in the game for Maple Hill was sophomore point guard Erin Mosher, who was called for a hard foul on DeGregory early in the fourth quarter. Maple Hill pulled an obviously distraught Mosher out of the game, but told her to relax because she was going right back in.

With 4:20 to play, Mosher buried a three-point bucket from the top of the key that put the Wildcats ahead by two. In the final minute, she watched as her two foul shots both bounced high off the back of the rim but swished in for big-time insurance points.

"She gets down on herself sometimes, but we have to remember sometimes that she is only a sophomore," said Maple Hill head coach Mark Bubniak. "She wasn't expecting to be the varsity starting point guard this year. We told her, 'Just relax. The coaches just want to talk to you for a second. We'll put you right back in.
"She had that big three. I didn't know if she had that in her to step up and hit that at that time. At that time, that was a clutch shot."

For The Record's story on the game, click here.

For The Saratogian's Greenwich-angle perspective, click here.

Watervliet head coach Gordie Johnson lifts the Section II Class B title trophy as his team cheers after Monday's victory over Mechanicville.

Watervliet High freshman Ailayia Demand drives around a Mechanicville player during Monday's Section II Class B final. The Cannoneers topped the Red Raiders for the second time this season, winning a fourth consecutive Section II title.

Demand was named Tournament MVP, scoring a game-high 16 points in the low-scoring defensive slugfest, a 38-27 victory for Watervliet.

Mechanicville committed 10 personal fouls in the first half and in front of a full house at Adirondack Community College, staying calm was a big factor for a mostly young Watervliet team.

“We definitely kept our composure,” Demand said. “That was one of our game keys.”

"She's not bad. But don't tell her that," Watervliet head coach Gordie Johnson said of his freshman MVP. "We want to make sure she keeps working hard and getting better. She's going to be a heck of a player. Her best basketball is still to come."

Mechanicville's Abby Maiello leaps over Watervliet's Kaitlyn Murray during Monday's game. Maiello, who did not score any points, grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds for the Red Raiders.

Another Watervliet freshman, Lashona Tolliver, stepped up, scoring seven points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Senior Nae White, Watervliet's defensive leader, had a huge second half. She scored all of her eight points after the break and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds for the Cannoneers.

"There are four seniors on this team that have been with me for about eight years," Johnson said. "We just don't want to say goodbye. We want to prolong this as long as we can and they showed a lot of heart."

Mechanicville's Alysa Russell leaps for a shot attempt over Watervliet's Julie Keegan.

Watervliet receives a bye into the regional final and will face the winner of today's regional semifinal game at SUNY-Potsdam between Section VII champion Saranac (17-4) and Section X champion Ogdensburg Free Academy (14-8). Saturday's regional final will be played at Hudson Valley Community College. Tip-off is scheduled for noon.

"I'm hoping we'll play for two more weeks," Johnson said. "I want to go to Hudson Valley, win the regional and go to the state Final Four."

2009-10 Section II Class B girls basketball All-Tournament Team:
Ashley Buonviaggio, Sr., Hudson Falls
Sam Randio, Soph., Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk
Nicole Manupella, Sr., Mechanicville
Shannon McBride, Sr., Mechanicville
Tierney McGlynn, Sr., Watervliet

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The commentary on the video clips was great! Thanks for adding that feature to your blog.

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