Nicole Adach would not be denied.
Adach had 17 points and 11 rebounds as top-seeded Mohonasen won its first Section II title since 2002 with a 44-39 victory over Suburban Council rival Averill Park in the Class A championship Saturday afternoon at Hudson Valley Community College.
It was the third nail-biting game between the SC South Division rivals in the last two months, and ironically, it had the widest margin of victory — Mohonasen (21-2) won each previous contest by one point.
The victory also gave the Mighty Warriors a measure of revenge — AP beat Mohonasen in last year’s sectional title game, 55-26.
Adach, the tournament MVP, scored two consecutive field goals to start the fourth quarter, the second one coming after she grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back up. That gave the Mighty Warriors a 36-29 lead with 6:57 remaining in the game.
“She was not going to let us lose,” Mohonasen coach Paul Brosious said. “That’s what it looked like, watching her play. She made so many big plays, big shots, big offensive rebounds, big defensive plays, big defensive rebounds.”
“She was getting to the point where she was getting so upset she just went out and went crazy,” said Michelle Aviza, who joined her longtime friend and teammate on the All-Tournament team.
Undaunted by Mohonasen’s lead however, No. 2 Averill Park (15-8) stormed back, getting to within one point, 40-39, when Lauren Nunziato turned a steal into a fast-break layup with 1:40 to go. But AP would not score again, as Mohonasen sophomore point guard Lea McLain made four free throws across the final 42 seconds to seal it.
“When I got fouled, I knew I could make my free throws,” McLain said, “especially if it was a close game and we definitely needed the points.”
Adach went 7-for-12 from the floor for Mohonasen, which won the Section II Class B title seven years ago. Dayna Lashin added seven points. McLain scored six points and grabbed nine rebounds. Courtney Cowell grabbed eight rebounds and guarded Katie Duma, the Warriors’ leading scorer, for most of the game.
The win comes in Brosious’ first season at Mohonasen. He won the Class C crown in 2006 as coach of Schenectady Christian and then lost in the title game in each of the past two seasons.
Mohonasen will return to HVCC on Saturday in advancing to the state regional championship game.
As the buzzer sounded, Mohonasen’s players charged off the bench, leaping and celebrating at midcourt.
“Michelle and I talked about it, and we did not want it to be our last game,” Adach said. “We really wanted to prove that we could come back this year, same matchup, and beat them. … It’s unbelievable. There’s really no words for it.”
“After last year, coming here and getting killed, we had so much adrenaline, we wanted to come and just show what a great season we’re having and finish it off,” Aviza said.
Bri. O’Shea 1-1-3, Duma 3-3-11, Hawes 0-0-0, Nunziato 4-0-9, Bro. O’Shea 1-0-2, Streb 6-0-12, Dushensky 1-0-2. Totals: 16-4-39.
Adach 7-1-17, Cowell 2-0-4, Lashin 3-1-7, Aviza 1-3-5, McLain 1-4-6, Tallman 1-0-2, Baker 1-0-3. Totals: 16-9-44.
Averill Park 5 18 6 10 — 39
Mohonasen 10 8 14 12 — 44
Three-point goals: Duma 2, Nunziato, Adach 2, Baker.
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Categories: High School Sports