CLINTONVILLE — It’s not often that two defending champions clash in a semifinal matchup.
Tuesday, though, that is exactly what happened in the Class D semifinals at AuSable Valley Central School.
High School Sports Magazine
Moriah, which captured the Class C title a season ago, battled back to knock off Indian Lake/Long Lake 34-30. The Orange claimed the Class D championship in 2012.
The Vikings will take on Elizabethtown-Lewis in Friday’s Section VII Class D title game at 4 p.m. at the Plattsburgh State Field House.
Moriah took a 12-8 lead after the first quarter but went cold shooting in the middle two quarters, scoring just nine total points.
The Orange took advantage and built up a 22-17 lead at the half and a 27-21 lead at the end of three.
The Vikings had fallen behind by 10 in the third quarter, but a late 3-pointer by Lauren Cross gave them some momentum heading into the fourth quarter.
“(Indian Lake/Long Lake) is a very good ball club,” Moriah coach Steve Pelkey said. “We knew this was going to be a battle coming in. We really needed to pick it up in the second half.
“I thought (Sarah) Slattery did a great job in the second with her effort. She really sparked us.”
Trailing for most of the game, Slattery proved to be the difference-maker in the second half — especially in the fourth quarter.
A Slattery rebound and subsequent three-point play gave the Vikings their first lead of the second half 29-27 with 4:01 left in the game.
“I felt like we weren’t really playing our game and that if I could push the tempo it might help us,” Slattery said. “The played a 1-3-1, which is something that we weren’t prepared for, but we pulled it together as the game went on.
“(The three-point play) was pretty big, especially against their tall girls.”
Slattery led a balanced scoring attack with eight points and six rebounds for Moriah. Lauren Pelkey added six points and five rebounds, while Madison Stahl also finished with six points.
Shannon Farrell and Abby Darling each finished with nine points to lead Indian Lake/Long Lake.
Jessica Bain tossed in six points to go along with her nine rebounds and five steals.
“(The Orange) are a good ball club and very tough defensively,” Pelkey said. “We expected it to be a low-scoring game. It didn’t surprise me at all.”
The Vikings were able to seal the victory down the stretch with Cross and Taylor Sprague connecting on 3-of-4 from the foul line.
Moriah 34, Indian Lake/Long Lake 30
L. Pelkey 2-1-6, Sprague 0-4-4, Stahl 2-1-6, Wykes 0-0-0, C. Pelkey 1-0-3, Slattery 3-2-8, Snyder 1-0-2, Cross 1-2-5. Totals: 10-10-34.
Indian Lake/Long Lake (30)
Farrell 4-1-9, Darling 4-1-9, Bain 1-4-6, Hinckley 0-1-1, Smith 0-5-5, Hamden 0-0-0, King 0-0-0. Totals: 9-12-30.
Moriah 12 5 4 13 — 34
Ind Lake/L Lake 8 14 5 3 — 30
3-point goals: Moriah (4) L. Pelkey, Stahl, C. Pelkey, Cross.
ELIZABETHTOWN-LEWIS 73, MINERVA/NEWCOMB 21
CLINTONVILLE — Two minutes into the first quarter, the Lions and Mountaineers were tied at four.
At the conclusion of the first half, Elizabethtown-Lewis had taken a 36-point lead at 43-7.
Kearstin Ashline led the way with 21 points and 11 rebounds as the Lions moved into the Section VII Class D championship game.
“They came out pretty focused,” Elizabethtown-Lewis coach Don Ratliff said of his players. “Minerva/Newcomb did a fine job at beating our zone press to start.
“We struggled early against their pressure, but we calmed down and were able to get some easy opportunities.”
Shonna Brooks added 20 points for the Lions, while Lily Whalen tossed in 11. Jasmin Barnes pulled in seven rebounds.
Kylee Cassavaugh had a strong night defensively, limiting Minerva/Newcomb’s hot-shooting MaKenzie Winslow to nine points.
“I thought we shared the ball well,” Ratliff said. “We gave the ball up for a better look even when we had a good look.
“And they talked to each other on the floor.”
Despite being down throughout most of the game, the Mountaineers never gave up and played tough until the final horn.
Winslow led the way with her nine points, while Gabby McNally chipped in with six points and five rebounds.
With the win, the Lions will take on Moriah, which is coached by former schoolmate of Ratliff.
“Moriah plays well,” Ratliff said. “They are talented and very aggressive. We match up well size-wise.
“They have had some success (in the Field House) with winning Class C last year. I’m looking forward to playing against Steve (Pelkey); we went to high school together.”
E’town-Lewis 73, Minerva/Newcomb 21
Bennett 0-0-0, Winslow 4-0-9, G. McNally 2-2-6, Miller 0-0-0, Rubertone 1-0-2, D. McNally 2-0-4, McCall 0-0-0, Hee Voo 0-0-0. Totals: 9-2-21.
J. Barnes 1-1-3, Cassavaugh 1-0-2, Whalen 4-2-11, Brooks 10-0-20, Ashline 8-4-21, McGinn 0-0-0, A. Barnes 1-0-2, Graves 4-0-8, Disogra 2-0-4, Grady 1-0-2, Burdo 0-0-0. Totals: 32-7-73.
Minerva/New 5 2 6 8 — 21
Etown-Lewis 19 24 16 14 — 73
3-point goals: Minerva/Newcomb (1) Winslow. Elizabethtown-Lewis (2) Whalen, Ashline.