TROY — When Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons won its last sectional title 30 years ago, Abby Kienzle’s mother played for the team. Now, Kienzle’s mother is the Lady Knights’ JV coach, and Kienzle is a champion, just like her mom.
Kienzle, a senior guard, hit a 13-foot jumper with 1:13 left to give the Lady Knights a 37-36 lead, and then she tacked on a pair of free throws with 17.4 seconds remaining to clinch a 39-36 victory in the Section II Class D girls’ championship game over North Warren Friday at Hudson Valley Community College’s McDonough Complex.
It’s the first sectional title for the ND-BG girls’ basketball team since the Lady Knights won the Class B crown in 1989.
“We talk about the last time Bishop Gibbons won the title a lot, because my mom was on the team,” Kienzle said. “When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t nervous. I was very calm, and that’s a good thing. I knew good things were going to happen. To win a sectional title, and to be the MVP is just an amazing feeling,” she said.
ND-BG head coach Pat Moran was extremely proud of his team, which struggled offensively all night. The Lady Knights shot only 24.6 from the floor and just 11-for-22 from the line. But when they needed clutch baskets, they got them.
ND-BG (14-8) jumped out to an 11-2 lead early in the first quarter, but then the lid closed on the basket. North Warren began to hit from the perimeter and pulled within 11-10 after the first period.
The Cougars pulled away to lead by as many as eight points in the second period before ND-BG got baskets from Kienzle and Ava Megyeri in the final 20 seconds to cut the halftime deficit to 25-22.
Kaitlin Kramar hit a 3-pointer and knocked down a runner in the lane at the end of the third quarter to give the Cougars a 35-27 advantage, but the Lady Knights began to chip away in the final quarter.
Chloe Bessinger nailed two baskets to begin the final session, and Kienzle sank two free throws to pull the Lady Knights within 36-33. Juliana Jira hit a 6-footer in the lane to slice the deficit to just one before Kienzle took over the game in the final minute.
Kienzle finished with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Jodi Bartlett finished with 12 points on four 3-pointers for North Warren.
“I can’t believe it’s been 30 years since the last time we won a title,” Moran said. “When we got down by seven, I asked the girls what they were made of. When the game was over, I just wondered how did we win? North Warren is a great team, and Sydney Gagnon is a fantastic player. We worked hard all week, and my girls never gave up. We have a lot of heart. I know we didn’t shoot well, but this team couldn’t put teams away all season. That’s not the kind of team we are. We knew it would be a war in this game, but it’s funny. We have a father/son thing going with my father and I coaching the varsity, and we also had a mother-daughter thing going with Abby playing and her mom coaching the JV team.”
Gagnon 1-2-5, Monroe 2-0-4, Bartlett 4-0-12, Kramar 1-1-3, Brown 2-1-5, Urtz 3-1-7. Totals: 13-4-36.
Megyeri 3-0-6, Kienzle 7-5-19, Jira 1-0-2, Bessinger 3-2-8, Relyea 0-1-1, Santiago 0-3-3. Totals: 14-11-39.
North Warren 13 12 10 1 — 36
Bishop Gibbons 11 11 5 12 — 39
Defending champion Cambridge rallied to defeat Hoosick Falls 55-49.
The Panthers led by as many as five in the fourth quarter, but Cambridge stormed back. Sophie Phillips hit a jumper to tie the game at 49-49, and then the Indians closed the door by sinking six of eight shots at the line in the final 53 seconds.
Sophie Phillips scored a game-high 25 points for the Indians. Lillian Hickey scored 14 for the Panthers.
Hickey 5-0-14, Estes 2-0-4, Bownell 0-1-1, Wysocki 3-0-8, Walker 2-0-4, Thayne 8-2-18. Totals: 20-2-49.
L. Phillips 1-5-7, S. Phillips 10-4-25, Money 4-1-9, Nolan 3-2-9, Epler 1-3-5. Totals: 19-15-55.
Hoosick Falls 15 14 11 9 — 49
Cambridge 16 8 15 16 — 55