Kayla Napper of Saranac defends against Canton’s Mikaela Bessette

Kayla Napper of Saranac defends against Canton’s Mikaela Bessette during Tuesday’s Class B regional semifinal at Potsdam State. Canton won 49-47.

POTSDAM —The Saranac girls’ basketball team was faced with unfamiliarity in Tuesday night’s NYSPHSAA girls’ basketball regional semifinal against Canton at Potsdam State.

Not only did the Chiefs face an opponent they had not played this year, but they also experienced something they’ve only been through twice before — a loss.

Although the Chiefs had an opportunity to win it at the end, the Bears came away with a 49-47 victory to advance to the regional final at Hudson Valley Community College.

Canton will face Section II’s Hoosick Falls Saturday.

Although it probably wasn’t the outcome that he and his players envisioned prior to the start of the game, Saranac coach Time Newell couldn’t have been more proud of the effort that his players showed.

“It was a tough loss. We have a senior-laden team, and it hurts those seniors. I have eight seniors, and some of them have been with me for four years,” Newell said. “We’ve had a lot of success, and they’ve accomplished a lot. So, they’ve got a lot to be proud of. I know this game hurts them, but it just shows their character by how much it hurts. They’re having a hard time with it (right now), but they’ll be OK.”

After falling behind 36-29 to start the fourth quarter, Saranac saved its best efforts for last.

The Chiefs evened the score at 46-46 with 1:05 remaining in the game, and a pair of Kayla Napper free throws gave the them an opportunity to take the lead.

Napper went 1-for-2 for a one-point lead with less than a minute to go.

After turning the ball over following the Napper free throw, the Bears stopped the Chiefs on the next possession before Natalie DiSalvo played hero for Canton. She drove to the hoop, spun and hooked in a layup to give the Section X representative a 48-47 lead with 15.7 seconds left on the clock.

On the ensuing possession, Napper received contact while going up for a layup, but no call was made and the Bears were fouled on the rebound.

Things only got worse for the Chiefs as Napper was given a technical foul for unpleasantly tossing the ball to the referee.

The Bears received four shots at the line but made just one.

Trailing by two, Tori Trim had an opportunity to tie the game as time expired, but her shot from the right corner hit the rim and bounced off as the buzzer sounded.

The missed shot ended the season for the Chiefs and their eight seniors, but the game had no shortage of solid performances from those upperclassmen.

Seniors Kaitlyn Bowman (15 points), Trim (11 points), Summer Gillespie (10 points), Napper (8) and Amie Eggleston (three points) accounted for all of Saranac’s scoring output.

Although taking a loss hurt, Bowman said there was nothing she and her teammates would have done differently.

“Obviously being a senior and having so many other seniors on the team, it hurts knowing (Wednesday) we’re going home and turning our uniforms in,” Bowman said. “But I think we played our hearts out, and there’s nothing more that we could’ve done.”

DiSalvo led the way for Canton with a game-high 20 points, while Katie Clemmer and Kiersten Ashlaw had 10 and 7 points, respectively.

To start the game, the Chiefs (19-3) dug themselves in a bit of a hole as the Bears (17-6) came out of the gates hot and led 11-6 with 1:33 remaining in the first quarter.

Saranac fought back in the waning moments of the quarter, however, as a 5-0 run allowed the Section VII representative to tie it at 11-11.

That run didn’t carry over into the next stanza for the Chiefs, as Canton played tight defense and forced Saranac into plenty of one-and-done situations.

The Bears managed to capitalize on offense, taking a 25-19 lead into halftime.

Newell admitted that his team played a bit lackadaisical in the first 16 minutes of the game.

“We settled in the first half (for) too many perimeter shots, which didn’t give us a chance to get any offensive boards,” Newell said. “It’s been a year where these kids have shot really well, and (Tuesday) we didn’t shoot as particularly well as we normally do.

“We didn’t hit the boards enough in the first half. We had a great run in the second half, and I knew they’d respond (because) they always respond for me.”


POTSDAM — Although the first game of the night came down to the wire, the same could not be said for the second outing of the night.

In the Class B boys’ Section X’s Ogdensburg Free Academy walked away a victor.

It was clear from the start that the young Hornets squad was in for a rude awakening as Ogdensburg jumped out to a 10-0 lead before Plattsburgh’s Nate Hughey stopped the bleeding.

There wasn’t much scoring from the Hornets the rest of the way, however, as the Blue Devils managed to take a 31-4 lead heading into the second quarter.

Leading the way for the Section X representative was shooting-sensation Kinnon LaRose, who is expected to play at the Division I level in college next fall.

Starting the game 4-for-4 from long range, LaRose finished with a game-high 25 points.

As a result of that stellar play, the Blue Devils led the Hornets 54-9 at the half.

Although Plattsburgh managed to tack on 24 points in the third quarter, Ogdensburg was able to run away with things in the second half.

Plattsburgh coach Chris Hartmann was pleased with the effort of his young team, which has just three seniors.

“We knew that everything went around LaRose, but they have a great supporting cast,” Hartmann said. “Ogdensburg has always done a good job at teaching people their roles and having guys fill those roles. Their defense is outstanding.

“I think this is a great experience. We have three freshman and two sophomores, and we only have three seniors. We beat a great Beekmantown team (in sectionals), and I couldn’t be more proud of the guys. We’ll be back next year, and we’ll be battling again. Hopefully, we’ll be in the same situation.”

Nate Hughey paced the Hornets in the losing effort with eight points, while Daniel Piper and Alex Follmer added seven and six points, respectively.

In addition to LaRose, the Blue Devils also received stellar outings from Jack Nanke (14 points) and Dakota Brady (nine points).

Ogdensburg moves on to play Hoosick Falls Saturday at Hudson Valley.

Canton 49, Saranac 47

Saranac (47)

Bowman 7-0-15, Trim 4-0-11, Gillespie 3-2-10, Napper 3-1-8, Eggleston 1-0-3, Duquette 0-0-0, Webster 0-0-0, Provost 0-0-0. Totals: 18-3-47.

Canton (49)

DiSalvo 6-4-20, Clemmer 4-1-10, Ashlaw 1-5-7, Luther 3-0-6, Bessette 2-1-5, Beaudin 0-1-1, Smith 0-0-0. Totals: 16-12-49.

Saranac 11 8 10 8 — 47

Canton 11 14 11 13 — 49

3-point goals: Saranac (8) Trim 3, Gillespie 2, Napper, Bowman, Eggleston. Canton (5) DiSalvo 4, Clemmer.

Ogdensburg 93, Plattsburgh High 33

Plattsburgh High (33)

Hughey 4-0-8, Piper 3-0-7, Follmer 3-0-6, Bedard 1-2-4, Brandham-Pizzaro 1-0-3, Cutaiar 1-0-2, Woodward 1-0-2, Channell 0-1-1, Sanchez 0-0-0, Senecal 0-0-0, Ready 0-0-0, Hall 0-0-0, LaBounty 0-0-0. Totals: 14-3-33.

Ogdensburg (93)

LaRose 9-2-25, Nanke 6-2-14, Brady 4-0-9, Ross 2-1-7, Rogers 3-0-7, Lalone 3-0-6, Fisher 3-0-6, Peo 2-0-6, Sargent 1-2-5, Pinkerton 2-0-4, Ramm 1-0-2, Dalton 1-0-2, Badlam 0-0-0, Pope 0-0-0, Miller 0-0-0. Totals: 37-8-93.

Plattsburgh 4 5 12 12 — 33

Ogdensburg 31 23 23 16 — 93

3-point goals: Plattsburgh High (2) Piper, Brandham-Pizzaro. Ogdensburg (12) LaRose 5, Peo 2, Ross 2, Brady, Rogers, Sargent.

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Hometown: Brushton, N.Y. SUNY Plattsburgh graduate with a degree in multimedia and newspaper journalism. Freelance sports writer.

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