Mohonasen’s girls’ basketball team earned an “A” in composure Saturday.
The Mighty Warriors fought off Mexico’s aggressive full-court press and multiple zone defenses and pulled away for a convincing 50-32 victory in the Region 2 Tournament Class A finals at Hudson Valley Community College.
Mohonasen (22-2), winner of 17 straight games, advances to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association semifinals Friday against the Region 1 champion, Albertus Mangus of Section I, back at HVCC at 3:15 p.m. The winner of that game plays for the state title Saturday at 7 p.m.
Suburban Council South Division and Section II champ Mohonasen, the state’s fourth-ranked team, captured its first-ever regional victory in its first regional appearance since 2002. The Mighty Warriors did it with poise and composure.
“We talked about composure all year. That’s what wins games at this time of the season,” said Mohonasen coach Paul Brosious. “They’ve learned how to play against pressure by playing in the tough Suburban Council all season. They don’t panic. We like physical play. The Suburban Council is a very physical league.”
Mohonasen led virtually the entire game and was ahead, 14-9, 24-16 and 35-27 at the quarter stops.
Mexico (19-6), the Section III champion, featured several strong post players who weren’t afraid to mix it up in the paint. The Lady Tigers also employed a trapping press in an effort to pick up the tempo in their comeback bid.
Although Mohonasen turned the ball over 16 times, the Mighty Warriors’ defense, which allowed only one team to score 50 points against it all year, and some clutch shooting, prevented any prolonged Mexico runs.
“We knew they were going to press us,” said sophomore point guard Leah McLain, who scored eight points, grabbed 13 rebounds and added three assists. “We know how to take care of the ball, and there was nothing they did to us that we weren’t prepared for. This game shows how good we really are and how good we can be. A lot of people don’t think we’re that good of a team, but I think we can win a few more games.”
Michelle Aviza, one of two seniors on the roster along with Nicole Adach, contributed 10 points and nine rebounds.
“They had some really good post players, and we knew that going in,” she said. “Our post players were ready for this game, and they were ready to play physical. We handled their press very well, also.”
Adach got off to a slow start but scored seven of her game-high 14 points in the second quarter. She also contributed 10 rebounds and three steals.
“I think we just had more skills than they did,” said Adach. “We knew they could shoot and that they had some good post players, but we’ve played good defense all year. I think we were well prepared.”
Courtney Cowell and Aviza buried back-to-back treys as the Mighty Warriors opened up a 10-4 lead. Adach then took control of the second period, scoring seven consecutive points in the final four minutes of the half.
Mexico’s physical post play began to take its toll a bit on the Mighty Warriors, who began to foul in the paint. Mexico was able to get into the double bonus early in the second half, but after cutting its deficit to 28-25 with 4:36 left in the third quarter, Mexico began to miss free throws. The Lady Tigers misfired on six of their last eight free-throw attempts in the period.
Despite all-out pressure by Mexico, Mohonasen dominated the final quarter and eventually turned the game into a rout. Cowell’s second three-pointer of the game gave Mohonasen a 10-point cushion with 5:31 to go, and the Mighty Warriors kept pulling away from there.
“We played a very tough team, but we were prepared,” said Brosious. “Nicole and Michelle have been making big shots for us all year, and Courtney’s two threes were very important. I never worry about Leah handling the ball. She’s played like a senior all year.”
Evie Josbena led Mexico with 10 points, while her sister, Angie, added eight points and nine rebounds. Mexico was 11-for-32 from the line, while Mohonasen was 14-for-20.
Tripoli 2-0-6, E. Josbena 3-4-10, Hall 0-1-1, A. Josbena 1-6-8, Sawyer 1-0-2, Raymond 2-0-5. Totals: 9-11-32.
Adach 5-3-14, Aviza 2-5-10, McLain 2-4-8, Lashin 2-0-4, Cowell 3-2-9, Tallman 1-0-3, Corradi 1-0-2. Totals: 16-14-50.
Mexico 9 7 11 5 — 32
Mohonasen 14 10 11 15 — 50
Three-point goals: Adach, Aviza, Cowell 2, Tallman, Tripoli 2, Raymond.
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Categories: High School Sports