Alyssa Crosby and Gabby Marshall combined for 28 points, propelling the Hammond girls’ basketball team to a 47-31 defeat of Elizabethtown-Lewis in Tuesday’s Class D regional semifinal at Potsdam State’s Maxcy Hall.
Lions coach Don Ratliff said during his 13-year tenure, he hadn’t seen a team shoot as well as the Red Devils (21-2) did from the perimeter.
Hammond finished with 15 field goals, including nine 3-pointers and eight free throws.
“We’ve kind of prided ourselves on our defense,” Ratliff said. “Forty-seven points is the most we’ve given up all year long. They had four options on the perimeter, and they all shot the ball extremely well. The game plan was OK, but they were just better than what we could defend. They were the best team we’ve seen.”
The Red Devils jumped out to an 18-7 first-quarter lead.
Crosby, who entered the contest averaging 18.6 points per game, fired 11 points in the opening stanza.
“We told her, ‘You’ve got to be the best player on the floor,’” Hammond coach Shawn Dack said. “Leaders lead, so it was nice to see her be assertive and aggressive.”
Ratliff said Crosby was just too much to handle.
“We talked about picking our poison and what could beat us, and she did something that we were afraid of,” Ratliff said. “She started out strong, and then the perimeter girls picked it up when we put more pressure on her.”
The Red Devils switched from a smothering 1-3-1 full-court press to a 2-3 zone, forcing Elizabethtown-Lewis (19-2) into committing numerous mistakes from the get-go.
“Unfortunately for us, they started out pretty quick,” Ratliff said. “We weren’t converting shots that we made all year. They hit some shots, and I think we missed our first four 3-pointers.”
Facing a double-digit deficit, the Lions responded with a 2-3 zone of their own, which Hammond was able to exploit with ball movement and uncontested looks from beyond the 3-point line.
“We worked that ball side-to-side to open up the shooters,” Dack said. “We’ve pretty much done that all year. The girls understand it, and they have a good concept of it. We worked hard on it, so it was nice to see them move that ball and recognize situations.”
Crosby finished with a game-high 16 points, while Marshall added 12 and Courtney Bova 10.
Elizabethtown-Lewis closed the fourth quarter on an 8-4 run, but the damage had been done.
Lily Whalen paced the Lions with 15 points. Shonna Brooks fired in eight points, while Jasmin Barnes contributed seven.
Dack praised Elizabethtown-Lewis and its willingness to scrap throughout.
“I’d just like to congratulate Elizabethtown for the season they’ve had,” Dack said. “Believe me, we know it’s difficult getting into a spot that you’re not accustomed to. Next year, I think you’ll see their outcome be a little bit different.”
Ratliff loses Emily Morris, Crystal Grady, Kylee Cassavaugh, Jennifer McGinn and Kearstin Ashline to graduation but expects seven players to return.
“This is the best team I’ve ever had,” Ratliff said. “I mean, I had a 22-2 team four years ago, too. These guys scored about the same amount but had given up about eight points less a game. These guys play well together.
“I just went into the locker room and talked to the underclassmen first. Our leading scorer is coming back. She’s got a chance to be our school’s scoring leader, and I’ve got four other girls that have played good minutes and were effective. We’re excited about it.”
With the win, Hammond advanced to Saturday’s regional championship at Adirondack Community College against Section II’s Fort Edward.
Hammond Central 47,
J. Barnes 3-1-7, Grady 0-0-0, Cassavaugh 0-0-0, McGinn 0-0-0, Whalen 4-4-15, Brooks 4-0-8, Graves 0-0-0, Ashline 0-0-0, Disorga 0-1-1, A. Barnes 0-0-0. Totals: 11-6-31.
Marshall 4-0-12, Wilson 0-0-0, Bova 3-2-10, Whalen 0-0-0, Crosby 6-1-16, Bowman 0-0-0, Langtry 0-0-0, Bush 2-5-9. Totals: 15-8-47.
Elizabethtown-Lewis 7 5 11 8 — 31
Hammond 18 10 15 4 — 47
3-point goals: Hammond (9): Marshall 4, Bova 2, Crosby 3. Elizabethtown-Lewis (3): Whalen 3.