March 17, 2013

AuSable girls fall in state semifinals

TROY — As Meghan Strong’s second 3-pointer of the third quarter splashed into the net to give AuSable Valley a two-point lead, it looked as if her team had all the momentum.

The Patriots had stormed back from a nine-point deficit with a barrage of triples, but that hot shooting quickly turned cold.

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AuSable Valley managed just two points the rest of the way and Bishop Kearney pulled away for a 56-41 victory in the NYSPHSAA Class C girls’ basketball semifinals at Hudson Valley Community College Saturday. The win puts the Kings (18-8), the Section V champion, into today’s title game against Harpursville.

While the Patriots’ 2012-13 campaign comes to an end, it was undoubtedly a banner year for the team. AuSable Valley (19-3) captured its first Section VII title in 20 years and knocked off Hoosic Valley, the defending state champion and top-ranked team in the state, in regional play.

“Couldn’t be more proud,” said Strong, a sophomore who led AuSable Valley with 14 points on Saturday. “This is what we’ve been working for since Day 1. We played our best and I think we have nothing to hang our heads about.

“I think we’re going to be back here next year for the championship game.”

But while AuSable Valley matched up well with Hoosic Valley, it entered Saturday’s game with a noticeable size disadvantage. In the early stages, that didn’t matter with neither team able to hold onto the ball or shoot well, and the first quarter ended tied at 9-all.

The game picked up in the second quarter, and AuSable Valley led briefly, 16-15, on sophomore Madison Rondeau’s 3-pointer. Emmanuella Edoka answered with a triple of her own. That wasn’t the last time she would do that in the quarter. After a Strong triple cut the deficit to four, Edoka hit from deep again to send Bishop Kearney into the half up 28-21.

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