Duanesburg triumphs in Class C to win first Section II girls’ basketball title

Duanesburg won the Section II Class C girls' basketball championship over Greenwich at HVCC in Troy on Saturday, March 5, 2022.

Duanesburg won the Section II Class C girls' basketball championship over Greenwich at HVCC in Troy on Saturday, March 5, 2022.

TROY — Duanesburg figured it could score points against Greenwich in Saturday’s Section II Class C championship girls’ basketball game if it could get in position to do so.

Greenwich, after all, had used its pressure defense as a chief weapon in reaching the title matchup with 23 straight victories.

“All the credit to coach [Chris Herron],” Duanesburg sophomore Allison O’Hanlon said. “We watched film and saw how they played defense. We were prepared.”

Duanesburg beat that press early and often until Greenwich called it off, and by that time the tournament’s top-seeded team had a substantial first-half lead that it rode to a 64-47 win at Hudson Valley Community College.

O’Hanlon scored a game-high 26 points in what was the Eagles’ first championship-game win, and tourney MVP Madison Meyer — the only senior who started the game for either side — collected 19 points on 8 for 10 shooting with five assists.

“I wanted to leave a legacy,” Meyer said after the game in which the Eagles never trailed. “I’ve been thinking about this since third grade.”

Duanesburg (22-2) beat each of its four playoff opponents by double figures, including a Greenwich (23-1) group that also rolled to the title game.

“This feels pretty cool,” Duanesburg coach Chris Herron said after his team, ranked No. 2 in the state, topped New York’s No. 4-ranked contingent. “But it hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m not sure it’s clicked with the girls, either.”

Duanesburg had previously lost in three title games, in 1978, 1982 and 2000, and back in 2020 when the last tournament was held, the Eagles were ousted in the quarterfinals.

“We worked so hard every day,” said O’Hanlon, who joined Brooke Kuzmich and Norah Niesz of Greenwich, Alexis Wright of Berne-Knox-Westerlo and Emily Dingmon of Corinth on the all-tournament team. “It finally happened.”

The quick start certainly helped, as Duanesburg built a 17-7 lead after the first quarter and was up 32-16 at the intermission. O’Hanlon had 13 points at the break and Meyer had 11.

“It was huge,” Herron said of the Eagles’ early lead that was partly a by-product of smart passes over the Greenwich press. “We looked at their scores and they hadn’t been jumped on. We wanted to panic them. It was the best case scenario for us.”

Greenwich lost Adrianna Rojas to a knee injury in the first quarter, which took away a key piece of its pressure package.

“Our defense determined everything all year,” Greenwich coach Jason Slater said. “You lose your best defender in the first few minutes, it takes some momentum from you.”

O’Hanlon gave Duanesburg its first double-digit lead at 12-2 when she sank three free throws with just under four minutes left in the first quarter. The sophomore also gave Duanesburg its first 20-point advantage at 30-10 inside the final two minutes of the half with two more from the line.

“We knew we had to beat their pressure if we were going to win the game,” Meyer said. “We ended up getting them out of it.”

Meyer had three layups as part of a 13-0 second-quarter run after the Eagles had put together a 10-0 spurt in the opening quarter that featured O’Hanlon’s first eight points.

“The key was starting fast,” Meyer said.

Duanesburg started four sophomores including Alex Moses, who had eight points and five assists; Hannah Mulhern, who had six points and a game-leading 10 boards; and Lauren Capron, who pulled down six rebounds and kick-started the 10-0, first-quarter flurry and a layup.

“We set goals,” Herron said. “When this 10th-grade class was in sixth grade we were talking about winning a Section II championship. Add the senior class with their leadership, and it made everyone better.”

Second-seeded Greenwich applied pressure again in the fourth quarter and got as close as 12 twice in at 53-41 on a layup by Cate Abate and at 55-43 on two free throws by Niesz. Duanesburg answered with nine straight points, a run that began with a layup and a 3 by O’Hanlon..

“They had a little comeback and we had to rally ourselves together,” Meyer said.

 Kuzmich scored nine of her 16 points in the fourth quarter as Greenwich cut into a 46-28 lead Duanesburg had established after three periods. Niesz had 14 points and Abate finished with 10.

“Playing from behind is tough against a team like Duanesburg,” Slater said. “You might get away with that against a team that is not so great.”

Duanesburg will play the winner of the sub-regional between Section VII’s Northern Adirondack and Section X’s Madrid-Waddington in a Class C regional final next Saturday at HVCC at time to be determined.

“Since the beginning of the year, our goal is we wanted to win,” O’Hanlon said as she thought of what lies ahead for the Eagles. “We respect everyone else, but at the same time, we believe in ourselves.”

Greenwich 7 9 12 19—47

Duanesburg 17 15 14 18—64 

Greenwich scoring: Kuzmich 5-5-16, Spiezio 0-1-1, Niesz 4-4-14, Abate 5-0-10, Autiello 2-1-6. Duanesburg scoring: Moses 3-2-8, Meyer 8-3-19, Capron 1-0-2, A. O’Hanlon 8-7-26, Mulhern 2-2-6, K. O’Hanlon 1-0-2, Bates 0-1-1.Team totals: Greenwich 16-11-47, Duanesburg 23-15-64. 

Categories: -Sports-, High School Sports

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