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Saturday, March 12, 2016: Shen, Ossining reach girls Class AA title game

   Leading off today: Shenendehowa took command early and rolled to a 68-25 rout of Williamsville North in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls Class AA basketball semifinals in Troy.

   The previously undefeated Spartans lead for less than a minute before the Plainsmen reeled off the next 13 points on the way to a 30-13 margin at halftime.

   Senior Carly Boland scored a game-high 20 points and 10 teammates also broke into the scoring column. Sophomore Cameron Tooley had nine points, followed by senior Sydney Quinn and junior Sydney Brown with eight points each.

   "There was a stretch in the second quarter, part of the third quarter where we played great team basketball where we were hitting open people, making the extra pass and when we play like that we're a good basketball team," Shen coach Joe Murphy said.

   Shen's opponent in Saturday's final will be three-time defending champion Ossining, a 72-55 winner over a Commack squad that had been surrendering just 38.7 points per game.

   Seton Hall-bound senior Shadeen Samuels scored 32 points and freshman Aubrey Griffin added 17. The Pride improved to 25-2 with the win, tying the program record for wins set in 2014.

   Boys Class B: Marlboro scored 21 consecutive first-half points, held Bishop Grimes to no field goals in the second quarter and rolled to a 74-60 win at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

   Marlboro, making its first appearance in the final four, led by as many as 24 points but saw the cushion reduced to 59-52 with 3:34 to play before senior Xavier Oliver's 3-pointer restored the double-digit advantage.

   The Dukes shot 8-for-17 from beyond the arc in the first half. The 21-0 run concluded with four consecutive 3-pointers, including a Nick Mongelli shot from the corner on his way to 12 first-half points to make the score 31-7. It was 40-16 at halftime.

   Oliver finished with 18 points, Nick Mongelli had 15 and Jack Rusk scored 14.

   Olean secured its third trip to a final with a 58-38 win against Hudson. Ben Eckstrom (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Elijah Ramadhan (10 points, 15 rebounds) had double-doubles for the Huskies, and Monty Shoemaker scored 15 points on five 3-pointers.

   Olean held previously unbeaten Hudson to a season low in points to keep its own perfect record intact. The Bluehawks went just 1-for-14 on 3-pointers and 15-for-48 overall from the field.

   "They are a great defensive team," Hudson coach Shawn Briscoe said. "We weren't scoring 80 points a game because we were playing bad defensive teams. We were scoring against good defensive teams, and this is the best defensive team overall. It isn't just on-ball defense, it is closing out. We got shots, but they weren't as open as they normally are."

MP3 audio Postgame comments from Olean coach Jeff Anastasia, who'll be inducted into the BCANY hall of fame Sunday:
  • Defending vs. Hudson's potent offense
  • On keeping his team sharp during a season of mostly easy wins
  • Regarding his busy weekend

       Boys Class C: Middle Early College earned a spot in the final by breezing past AuSable Valley 75-51 on the strength f senior Gary Foster's 22 points, including the 1,000th of his career.

       Middle College fell behind 2-0 but scored the next 13 points and raced to a 37-22 advantage at halftime to secure its fourth trip to a NYSPHSAA title game. The Kats won a championship in 2010.

       Haldane's path to its sixth straight win and the tournament final was decidedly more difficult. The Blue Devils made their first title game by edging Moravia 36-34, a defensive tussle along the lines of last week's 35-34 win vs. Stony Brook in the quarterfinals. Moravia's only lead came at 3-2, but Haldane simply could not pull away.

       Senior Will Zuvic had a team-high 12 points and 10 rebounds in the win before he fouled out. Leading scorer Tucker Beachak had six points on 3-for-15 shooting but managed eight rebounds and four assists.

       The closest thing to a cushion came when Aidan Siegel's 3-pointer -- his only points of the game -- rattled around and dropped in at the third-quarter buzzer.

       "It just kept our momentum going," Siegel told The Journal News. "I think it sparked us. We didn't have the best fourth quarter, but winning the end of the quarter was big for our team."

       Boys Class D: Down 16 points early in the fourth quarter, Moriah went on a 23-4 run -- posting the final 16 points of the game -- to rally past Panama 62-59.

       "We were fighting for our life," Vikings coach Brian Cross said.

       Taylor Slattery scored 16 of his 24 points in the final quarter, including a pair of dunks that excited the Moriah fans. "Oh, it made the place go crazy," Cross said.

       Slattery also had six rebounds and seven assists.

       Panama's Josh Odell made five first-half 3-pointers en route to 19 points and a 38-26 lead. The Panthers were still up by 59-46 with 5:26 to play but would not score again.

       "If they were going to shoot the way they did in the first half, we were not coming out of the locker room," Cross said.


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  •    The Vikings will face Oriskany, a 59-40 winner over Clark Academy in the other semifinals.

       "It's what everybody wants," Oriskany coach Chris Mahoney said. "You've got 26-0 vs. 26-0. But we've got to show up ready to play. The boys are looking forward to the challenge."

       The winner will finish the season as the state's first unbeaten Class D team since Argyle in 2013. The last small-school final between unbeatens came in 1993 when Clyde-Savannah beat Tuckahoe 76-66.

       A 14-2 spurt in the second quarter gave Clark Academy the lead, but Oriskany got 20 points from Shamis Lasher and 14 from Anthony Warcup. The pair also combined for 23 rebounds as the Redskins held a 49-37 rebounding edge.

       Girls Class A: Jamesville-DeWitt will play in its third straight final after defeating Section 5 champ Our Lady of Mercy 56-47 at Hudson Valley Community College. J-D lost the 2014 and '15 title games.

       Carly O'Hern led the Red Rams with 19 points, and Jamie Boeheim and Meg Hair added nine each.

       Trailing 24-22, J-D went on a 12-2 run in the second quarter on the strength of two 3-pointers by O'Hern. Mercy never got closer than eight the rest of the game despite 23 points from Traiva Breedlove.

       In the other semi, Floral Park eliminated Rye 61-55 as Kaela Hilaire scored 26 points -- including nine in the fourth quarter -- and Faith Balletta backed her up with 11 points and 15 rebounds.

       The Knights advanced to the NYSPHSAA championship game for the first time in the history of the program.

       "It's the time of my life right now," Balletta said. "And this is the chance of a lifetime."

       Balletta hit all five of her field-goal attempts and capped a 12-0 run midway through the second quarter with a layup to open a 22-13 lead. Marykate Guerriero and Natalie Hickman made threes on consecutive possessions late in the third to open a 43-34 advantage.

       Girls Class B: Westhill's Delaney Martin put up 24 points in a 58-41 win over Marlboro, moving the Warriors to within a victory over their first state crown since 1996. Freshman Mackenzie Martin chipped in with 12 points and 11 rebounds..

       "It's unreal," said Westhill's Shannon Bunce. "We've been waiting for this. We've been practicing hard. It's a dream come true, honestly."

       Livonia made it to its first final by virtue of a 50-41 win over Canton.

       Bulldogs scoring leader Molly Stewart finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, and junior Madeline Herzog came off the bench to score 10 points. A pair of free throws by Stewart with 5:09 remaining put Livonia ahead for good at 35-33.

       Canton was dogged by 5-for-211 free-throw shooting, including 2-for-8 work in the fourth quarter.

       CHSAA girls: Etalyia Vogt scored a team-high 15 points as St. Anthony's downed Christ the King 59-51 in the state semifinals at St. John Villa.

       "We have been preparing a long time for this victory. We just played hard as we can and we played together and we proved everyone wrong," the Friars' Jayla Jones-Pack said. "People thought we were going to lose and we proved them wrong."

       The win advances St. Anthony's to Saturday's state final against Monsignor Scanlan, which eliminated Cardinal O'Hara 59-51. Crusaders junior Delphynia Sparks hit a 3-pointer with 5:55 remaining in regulation to break a 44-44 tie and scored 12 of her 15 points in the second half.

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