When eighth-grader Lashana Tolliver hit a turnaround-jumper in the lane to give Watervliet a two-point lead over Mechanicville with 1:20 left in the fourth quarter, there was only one thing on her mind.
“We’re going to Hudson Valley,” Tolliver said.
The Cannoneers are indeed heading to Hudson Valley Community College on Saturday for the Section II Class B girls’ title game at noon. But getting there wasn’t easy, as the top-seeded Cannoneers held off the
12th-seeded Red Raiders, 44-39, in the semifinals Tuesday at Saratoga Springs High School.
Watervliet (16-6) will face third-seeded Johnstown (20-3), which downed seventh-seeded Hudson Falls, 43-30.
The Raiders (11-12) gave the Cannoneers fits. They jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the first quarter, and had a 22-18 halftime lead. Nicole Manupella scored 11 of her 17 points in the first half to spark Mechanicville, which lost twice to Watervliet by a combined 29 points during the Colonial Council season.
“They’ve got some kids that can shoot it,” Watervliet coach Gordie Johnson said. “They’ve got some kids that compete. They’re a tough, aggressive, typical Colonial Council team. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We just wanted to win by one.”
The Cannoneers closed out the third quarter on an 8-0 run to take a 35-33 lead. It was the first time Watervliet led in the game.
“I called a couple of timeouts and told them, ‘Just relax out here,’ which is hard to do,” Mechanicville coach Bob Murphy said. “I just told them to take a deep breath.”
The Raiders continued to battle, and tied it, 39-39, on a Manupella layup with 1:58 left. But that would be their last score.
Tolliver, who led Watervliet with 14 points, made two free throws to make it a 43-39 advantage with 34.1 seconds left. Jen Gates made one foul shot with 13.7 seconds left to seal the win.
Give Johnstown’s Hillary Kollar a couple of extra feet beyond the three-point line, and she will bury you.
Hudson Falls couldn’t stop the Foothills Council MVP in the other semifinal. Kollar hit four three-pointers and scored 16 points, leading the Lady Bills to the win.
“When Johnstown came to our place, we were able to bump them a little bit more, and keep a hand in Hillary’s face,” said Hudson Falls coach Greg Smith, whose team beat Johnstown, 54-36, Feb. 13. “Tonight, Hillary decided to step out another three to four feet behind the arc and let fly. The ball dropped for her. She’s a great player.”
Kollar hit a three in each quarter. She scored 10 points in the second half, including six in the fourth as the Lady Bills put the game away.
Kollar hit a three-pointer with 4:30 left in the fourth quarter to give Johnstown a 36-27 lead. That started the Lady Bills on a 10-4 run.
“Once we started on our run, we decided we should take it into our hands and finish the game strong,” Kollar said.
WATERVLIET 44, MECHANICVILLE 39
Manupella 6-4-17, Russell 4-1-11, DiDomenico 0-1-1, Maiello 2-0-4, S. McBride 0-2-2, Sullivan 1-2-4. Totals: 13-10-39.
White 5-2-12, Tolliver 5-4-14, Demand 3-3-9, Gates 2-1-5, McGlynn 1-0-2, Murray 1-0-2. Totals: 17-10-44.
Mechanicville 11 11 11 6 — 39
Watervliet 8 10 17 9 — 44
Three-point goals: Manupella, Russell 2.
JOHNSTOWN 43, HUDSON FALLS 30
Bartlett 2-1-5, Bromley 3-2-8, Buonviaggio 2-0-4, Cartier 3-1-7, Derway 1-0-2, Purdy 1-2-4. Totals: 12-6-30.
Kollar 4-4-16, T. Sweet 1-0-3, Derwin 3-0-6, Cooper 2-3-7, Croucher 2-1-6, Kosowicz 1-1-3, Nellis 1-0-2. Totals: 14-9-43.
Hudson Falls 6 8 11 5 — 30
Johnstown 8 10 13 12 — 43
Three-point goals: Kollar 4, T. Sweet, Croucher.
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Categories: High School Sports