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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, March 12, 2009
Lady Birds lose a close defensive struggle in Class CC finals
By Jordan J. Michael
TROY Voorheesville missed a sectional championship by two points in a physical game Friday night.
“We left everything on the floor, but came up short,” said Lady Bird Casey Becerra.
“I’m very happy with the effort of my team,” Head Coach Bob Baron said. “We fought hard to the bitter end.”
Many shots were taken in the girls’ Class CC final. Very few of them went in.
Voorheesville and Hoosic Valley were a combined 13 for 69 from the field in a championship game that was full of steals, turnovers, and blanketing defense.
The Indians, Wasaren League regular season title holders, held off the Lady Birds, 25 to 23, after Voorheesville couldn’t get a foul in the final seconds of regulation play.
“This game was really uncharacteristic of us, compared to our previous play,” said Voorheesville Head Coach Bob Baron. “You can’t turn over the ball that many times and expect to win games. We didn’t take care of the basketball.”
The Lady Birds had 27 turnovers in the game and Hoosic Valley had 18. The turnover ratio was 17 to 11 at halftime.
“It was a real physical game and the offenses didn’t get a chance to flourish,” Baron said. “We knew that their play was going to be tough, but it was so rough that it threw everyone off their game.”
“The refs let us play and it got quite physical,” said Becerra, who was named to the Class CC All-Star team with her Voorheesville teammate Elizabeth Madden, after the game.
It took several minutes for either team to score in the opening quarter. The Indians got on the board first with a lay-up from Samantha Anderson. Becerra answered a few minutes later to tie the game at two.
The first quarter saw no more scoring and it ended in a 2-to-2 tie. The tone was set for a defensive battle.
Jane Pritchard stepped up and hit a running jumper for Voorheesville and Carolyn Houston answered down low for Hoosic Valley. Moments later, Jacqueline Daly had a steal for the Lady Birds and hit Sarah Goss for the easy lay-up.
Kelly Glath gave Voorheesville an 8-to-5 lead with a jumper from around the foul line. Houston tied the game at 8 with a three-pointer. The Indians had a 9-to-8 advantage at halftime after lousy shooting by both teams.
“I’ve never seen that many shots for such a low score. Both defenses were very good,” said Baron. “The physicality of the game exceeded the expectations. I was a little surprised.”
Madden gave the Lady Birds a 10-to-9 lead at the beginning of the third quarter that was quickly taken back by Houston. After Anderson made a rebound put back at the other end, Becerra sank an open three to tie the game at 13 with about 3:55 left in the quarter.
The Indians’ Talyor Sullivan fouled Becerra as her lay-up fell through. Becerra hit the free throw and Voorheesville had a 16-to-13 lead. Goss put the lead to five after making two from the charity stripe.
Anderson and Houston brought Hoosic Valley back and the game was tied at 18 heading into the fourth quarter.
The final leg of the struggle
The Indians and the Lady Birds were toe-to-toe till the end. Each team had an answer to the others scoring as the crowds excitement climaxed.
Carlee Chapko received a pass and dropped in an open three for a 21-to-18 Hoosic Valley lead. The team didn’t have much time to celebrate because Pritchard quickly responded with a mini hook shot across the lane as she got hit. Pritchard made the foul shot and the game was tied at 21.
The two teams traded a couple of turnovers and Madden found herself at the free throw line with about two minutes left. She gave Voorheesville a 23-to-22 lead with two clutch free throws.
Houston, the Class CC Most Valuable Player, made her case by scoring the final points of the contest with about a minute left. She missed a jumper, only to grab her own rebound and put up a shot while getting fouled. The shot went in, as well as the free throw, and the Indians had a 25-to-23 lead.
The Lady Birds would have a couple of chances to tie the game or win it with a three. Brittney Creed threw the first Voorheesville chance out of bounds past a stretching Glath. After a time-out, Glath received another inbound pass, only to loose the handle. Hoosic Valley fell on the ball and called a quick timeout.
“It was tough to see the refs award that time-out to them at the end,” said Baron. “The player really didn’t have possession of the ball and Glath was reaching for it. I addressed that in the huddle and told my girls to foul right away.”
The Indians had an inbound at half court and Madden almost stole the pass with 6.2 seconds left. Voorheesville couldn’t catch up with the quick passing and the horn sounded. The Lady Birds took a slow and painful walk to the bench.
“We tried as hard as we could for a foul at the end because it was our only chance,” said Glath after the game. “I think a few of us thought Madden had gotten the steal. They passed the ball quickly and escaped the foul.”
“You can’t foul away from the ball because that’s an intentional foul,” Baron said. “I can’t blame Madden for going for the steal. It was a great effort and almost worked.”
Becerra led the Voorheesville scoring with eight points and Goss had a strong night under the basket with four points and nine rebounds. Houston was the spotlight of the game, finishing with 16 points.
Baron told The Enterprise that, even though the players and fans may go away feeling down, they should look at the good side. “The bar has been raised for this program once again,” he said. “We went from 5-16 to 17-6. It was a great season and not one of my players should be disappointed.”
“Everyone would like to play basketball forever, but only one team can move on,” said Becerra. “We might be sad right now but we can look back and see that we were the group of girls that set the bar for other teams to come.”