The final score and which team will come out on top, Paul Brosious could not say, but the first-year Mohonasen girls’ basketball coach did offer one guarantee heading into today’s state Class A semifinal game at Hudson Valley Community College.
“The girls are going to bring it. That’s one thing I know,” Brosious said. “They’ve shown so much heart. They’ve been in so many games that could have gone either way, and they pulled them out.
“We’ve gotten that loose ball, created that shot late in the game, gotten the big offensive rebound. All of them have been doing it all year long.”
Never relenting and making plays in clutch situations has propelled Mohonasen (22-2) into its first state final four. The Mighty Warriors have won 17 consecutive games to set up today’s 3:15 semifinal against Albertus Magnus (Section I, 24-2).
Bethlehem (19-6) and Hoosic Valley (25-1) will also see final-four action at HVCC, and along with Mohonasen will be looking to end Section II’s state title drought that goes back to 2003.
“My girls are maybe a little nervous, but they’re excited more than anything,” Brosious said. “They’re enjoying this whole thing, and they should. This program has had some struggles the last few years, and getting to this point, I’m happy for them.”
Mohonasen won the Suburban Council South Division title before beating Scotia-Glenville, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Averill Park in the Section II tournament, then topping Mexico in last Saturday’s regional final, 50-32, behind Nicole Adach’s 14 points, 10 rebounds and three steals.
Albertus Magnus got 20 points from St. Bonaventure-bound guard Alaina Walker in its 49-43 regional title-game win over Cornwall. Albertus Magnus is ranked No. 1 in the state, two spots ahead of Mohonasen.
“The competition in Section I is really good. I’m from down there, and they play a tough game, but we’re battle-tested. We’ll be ready. What we’ll see, the girls are used to it,” Brosious said. “The league we play in, we play against Class AA teams in just about all of our games, and one of them is in the state final four. It was great preparation.”
The Class A final four also includes 1:30 semifinal opponents Floral Park (Section VIII, 16-7) and Newark (Section V, 23-2). Saturday night’s championship game is set for 7.
“I hope we’re playing in that game,” Brosious said. “I’ve got some information on those teams, but our focus is the semifinal. They definitely present a challenge.”
Albertus Magnus is an up-tempo team led by Walker (20 ppg.) and sophomore guard Felicia DaCruz (10 ppg.). Walker had 26 points and 12 rebounds in a 43-27 regional semifinal win over Maine-Endwell, while DaCruz had nine points and five assists in the win over Cornwall.
“They like to hit the outlet and go. They like to run, so we’ve got to stop their transition,” Brosious said. “Mexico tried to transition some, but this team has more speed and quickness than Mexico. I’d say they’re more similar to Averill Park the way they run.”
Walker and DeCruz will be coupled with guard Maura Power and frontline players Meghan Richards, 6-foot Kerry Higgins and 6-4 shot block artist Theresa Miller.
“We’ve watched a lot of tape of them,” Brosious said. “We know what they run and what their players like to do. We’ve got to try to take it away. I hope our defense is there.”
It was last Saturday, along with a strong rebounding performance which limited Mexico’s second- and third-chance opportunities. Michelle Aviza snared nine rebounds to go along with 10 points, and Lea McLain had 13 boards with eight points.
“Rebounds will be a big part of the game,” said Brosious, who will also call on Dayna Lashin, Courtney Cowell, Ashley Tallman and Brittany Baker for boards and point production. “We’ve got to hold them to one shot. They’re such a good offensive team. We can’t give up second and third shots. We’ve got to box out, and get in there.”
Albertus Magnus won state Class B championships in 1991 and 1992.
Bethlehem will make its first semifinal appearance since 2003 tonight at 8 against Kingston (Section IX, 23-1), which is in its third straight Class AA final four. Alex McCullough and Jaclyn Oskam combined for 25 points, and Bethlehem beat Cicero-North Syracuse in its regional final, 50-40, for its 10th straight victory since losing to Mohonasen.
Kingston advanced with a 58-55 triumph over Mount Vernon, and won its three previous playoff games by five, one and two points.
Hoosic Valley, a winner of 22 straight games, will meet Stony Brook (Section XI, 18-4) Saturday at 2:15 in a Class C semifinal. Hoosic Valley limited Ticonderoga to 11 points and Madrid Waddington to 26 in a pair of regional wins, and is back in the semis for the third year in a row. Hoosic Valley went 27-0 last year before losing in the Class B final to Briarcliff.
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Categories: High School Sports