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Sunday, March 6, 2016: Shenendehowa beats C-NS to reach semifinals

   Leading off today: Shenendehowa started quickly and never let up Saturday, scoring a 56-44 win over Cicero-North Syracuse in the NYSPHSAA girls Class AA basketball quarterfinals.

   The Plainsmen broke to a 14-2 lead as Samira Sangare (10 points) hit a pair of early 3-pointers against the state's co-No. 1 team and rode a balanced attack into the state semifinals in Troy next weekend. Cameron Tooley led the way with 11 points and four assists, and Sydney Brown put up nine points and 15 rebounds. Carly Boland and Morgan O'Brien also chipped in with nine points apiece.

   "It is a great feeling knowing you did everything you could to win and keep playing," Brown told The Times Union. "We didn't want this to be our last game."

   That's always a distinct possibility against C-NS, the eight-time defending Section 3 champion and previously unbeaten this season. Now, Shen moves on to meet surprise winner Williamsville North, still undefeated after a 59-56 win over third-ranked Penfield.

   It was the first time a Section 6 school had advanced to the final four in the largest class since the tournament added Class AA in 2004. Before that, Buffalo-area schools hadn't beaten their Rochester counterparts in Class A since 1997.

   Ally Delano made a layup to give the Spartans their first lead at with 44 seconds left, but Penfield's Makaila Wilson (26 points) made a lay-up and was fouled. Her free throw put the Patriots ahead with :20 to play before Erika Taplin made four straight free throws down the stretch. Taplin was 8-for-8 from the line in the final four minutes.

   "Me and my dad practice that at home all the time -- 20 seconds to go, game on the line," Taplin, who finished with 30 points, told The Buffalo News. "I thought, 'I've got to make them.'"

   Bid to repeat still alive: Down by a point at halftime, Cooperstown found another gear over the final 16 minutes and defeated Watkins Glen 62-44 to keep alive the defense of its state Class C championship.

   Cooperstown outscored the Senecas 37-18 in the second half.

   "It was definitely the defense tonight," senior guard Jen Flynn told The Daily Star. "We were not ready for our season to be over."

   Amanda Pike hit a quick 3-pointer on her way to 13 first-half points for Watkins Glen, an indication that the game might play out closer than Cooperstown's 12-point win in the 2015 quarterfinals. Liz Millea gave Cooperstown its first lead early in the second quarter and the teams traded buckets through the next six minutes. After the half, Flynn was assigned to guard Pike, holding her to six points in 16 minutes.

   "Jen had a gut check tonight," coach Mike Niles told The Daily Star. "It was a brave defensive effort."

   Flynn scored all eight of her points in the second half and Millea (29 points) put Cooperstown ahead to stay with a 3-pointer midway through the third quarter.

   Cooperstown won its first girls state team title in any sport last season with a 61-34 victory vs. Northern Adirondack. The Hawkeyes will play 2015 semifinalist Pine Plains in next weekend's semifinals, with Northern Adirondack facing

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  • South Seneca in Saturday's other Class C contest.

       Canton wins a squeaker: Katie Clemmer converted an offensive rebound to give Canton the lead with :26.6 to play and Mikaela Bessette raced downcourt to strip the ball from a Northeastern Clinton player from behind, closing out a 50-48 victory in Class B.

       Canton's Natalie DiSalvo scored 15 of her 18 points in the second half and the Golden Bears took advantage of two Northeastern Clinton starters fouling out -- including center Kayla Carder (13 points and 18 rebounds).

       "These girls have worked so hard and they deserve this, but I just wish that some of the other great players who have come through here in my 10 years would have gotten the chance," said Canton coach Mike Meyers.

       More Saturday roundups: This is the fourth of today's recaps of Saturday action in New York high school sports. From earlier today:

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