March 1, 2013

Class C hoops final has a new look

PLATTSBURGH — The Section VII Class C girls’ basketball championship will have a bit of a different flavor this season.

AuSable Valley (17-2), which has been a powerhouse in Champlain Valley Athletic Conference’s Division II, moves from Class B into Class C this year to compete for the championship.

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Joining the Patriots in the title game is a Northern Adirondack team that before this year hadn’t won a game since the 2007 season.

The two teams will tipoff at 5:45 p.m. today at the Plattsburgh State Field House.

“My hope for this year was to win a few games,” Bobcats coach Jessica Barnhart said. “I definitely didn’t expect to win in the semis and have a chance to play in the finals (at the start of the year).”

One person who was expecting big things from the Northern Adirondack program this season was Patriots coach Roger Long.

“They definitely have come a long way,” Long said. “They have learned to win this year, and their kids are playing well and hard together.

“Some of their kids played AAU this summer, and my feeling going in was that Jess was going to do a good job and it was only a matter of them learning to win. They played us extremely well this season. I thought they’d be at least a .500 team, and they haven’t surprised me — I knew they had the capabilities.”

AuSable Valley has come away with a pair of victories against Northern Adirondack this season, but both games were competitive.

The Patriots captured a 60-43 win Dec. 14 at home and grabbed a 52-43 victory Jan. 17 in Ellenburg.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times in one season,” Long said. “There’s no question playing teams in your own section is difficult. We are all familiar with each other.

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