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Saturday, March 12, 2016: Aquinas rallies, beats Shenendehowa in OT

   Leading off today: Down five points with 38.4 seconds to play, Aquinas forced overtime and went on to a 55-51 victory over top-ranked Shenendehowa in the semifinals of the NYSPHSAA boys Class AA basketball tournament Saturday.

   State football co-player of the year Earnest Edwards finished with 21 points -- nine in the fourth quarter and seven in overtime -- despite battling flu symptoms to foil the defending champions. The improbable rally began with Jason Hawkes' off-balance 3-pointer, and Edwards drove for a layup following a missed Shen free throw with :07 to go.

   Edwards 3-pointer and reverse layup gave Aquinas a 50-45 lead early in overtime. Shen cut the deficit to 53-51 in the final 10 seconds and had possession briefly after Edwards missed a free throw. But the ball was poked free and David Vito was fouled near midcourt.

   The loss ended a stellar season for Maryland recruit Kevin Huerter, who was 7-for-10 on 3-pointers and scored 30 points to go with nine rebounds. He was selected Mr. Basketball by the Basketball Coaches Association on New York.

MP3 audio Postgame comments from the Aquinas locker room:
  • Coach Mike Grosodonia praises senior Earnest Edwards
  • Two-sport star Earnest Edwards reflects as his high school career winds down

       In the second semifinal, Middletown was too much for Baldwin on the boards and came away with a 77-64 win. Middletown grabbed 20 offensive rebounds and enjoyed a 40-27 advantage overall.

       "As I said early in the year, we have a big upside," senior point guard Daniel Grant told The Times Herald-Record. "When we hit our intensity level, it's like we go berserk. (Teams) don't know how to react."

       Senior guard Gary Brown finished with 22 points and five rebounds.

        Middletown ended the first half on a 10-0 run for a 33-23 lead. Baldwin closed to within 63-60 midway through the fourth quarter, but Bright Afful turned an offensive rebound into a bucket to stretch the lead.

       Boys Class A: Elmont survived an inadvertent whistle in the closing moments and edged Byram Hills 50-48 with the help of Travis Robinson-Morgan's 12 points, all posted in the opening quarter.

       Trailing with :03.8 to go, Byram Hills guard Skylar Sinon intentionally missed the back end of a one-and-one and the ball appeared to go out of bounds off a teammate. But with the play blown dead prematurely, the possession arrow gave the ball back to the Bobcats. Sinon got a look for a corner 3-pointer but shot short, advancing Elmont to the final against Troy.

       Byram Hills trailed by as many as 15 points in the second quarter, but the fast pace started to wear on the Spartans. "This is a big court and we came out tremendous, but in the second half, our legs were shot," coach George Holub told Newsday. "Our guys love to play in transition, but we had to go to the halfcourt."

       Jalen Burgess scored 11, including two free throws with 1:05 left that made the lead 50-44. Sophomore K.C. Ndefo blocked seven shots and pulled down 10 rebounds.

       Troy was relentless in its semifinal to kick off the day at the Glens Falls Civic Center, beating Williamsville South 78-39. Ten Flying Horses scored, led by Daniel Buie's 17 points and Jack MacLaren's 16.

       "They get mad at me when I talk about our past teams and we tried to get this team to create its own legacy and they were fantastic today," coach Rich Hurley told The Record. "We shoot the ball like we did today, I don't want to jinx it, but we'll be tough to beat.


  • 2016 NYSPHSAA boys basketball brackets
  • 2016 NYSPHSAA girls basketball brackets
  • 2016 NYSPHSAA boys hockey brackets
  • 2016 N.Y. complete wrestling brackets (PDF)
  • 2016 N.Y. boys swim championships
  • N.Y. indoor track championships: Boys | Girls

  •    "We hit more threes today than we did all year, our defense was fantastic and just the energy, getting out on their shooters, the way we shared the ball today, our effort, that is one locked-in group in the locker room."

       Girls Class C: Pine Plains will play for the championship against South Seneca on Sunday after knocking off defending champion Cooperstown 57-44.    "We're one game away from being No. 1 in Class C," said Ashley Starzyk, who scored 13 points and grabbed 17 rebounds.

       Cooperstown pulled within 38-37 to start the fourth quarter on a basket by Julie Ford (20 points). But the Bombers responded with a 7-0 run to create breathing room.

       Pine Plains shot 22-for-30 from the free-throw line while Cooperstown ended the day 1-for-3. Nine of junior guard Tia Fumasoli's team-high 15 points were from the line.

       Kelsey Shaulis had 21 points and Emily Lavarnway 18 to lead South Seneca over Northern Adirondack 57-49 in its semifinal.

       Girls Class D: Defending champion Heuvelton downed Eldred 59-45 to return to the championship game at Hudson Valley Community College. Paige McCormick scored 19 of her 29 points in the second half to wipe out a 26-22 halftime deficit. She also posted 15 rebounds.

       Nathalie Barr scored 16 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Madison McCormick chipped in with eight points and six rebounds, including a 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 50-43.

       Eldred's Jordan Lopes had 19 points in a losing effort.

       The final will be a rematch of the 2015 semifinals (won by Heuvelton 57-39) thanks to Panama's 46-43 win against Fort Edward.

       A 3-pointer from Fort Edward's Kaciey Sardina (24 points) tied the game 29-29 with 2:33 left in the third quarter, but Panama freshman Madalyn Bowen scored on a drive to the basket and scored six of her team's next nine points for a 38-31 lead to begin the fourth quarter.

       "Madalyn knocked some big-time, senior-type shots down," Panama coach Jeff Angeletti told The Buffalo News. "She's done that all year for us. I think she's our X-factor because she can penetrate and she can knock down the jump shot."

       Fort Edward had one more run at it, trying again at 41-41, but Panama was steady at the free-throw line. Two Taylor Bowen foul shots with :25 left turned it into a two-possession game.

       More to come: Saturday's NYSPHSAA, PSAL and CHSAA finals will be recapped a bit later, along with hockey and indoor track developments from Saturday.

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