Colonie had been waiting all year for another chance to win a Section II Class AA girls’ basketball title.
And a young, talented Albany team was not about to get between the Lady Raiders and their goal.
Colonie shook off a sub-par second quarter that allowed the Lady Falcons to grab a halftime tie, and rode Sydnie Rosales’ 11 straight fourth-quarter points to a 64-55 win Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College.
“It means a lot,” said Rosales, who was named the tournament MVP after finishing with a game-high 23 points. “We just stayed focused and stayed ourselves.”
“It means everything to us,” said senior forward Kawandi Young, who only scored seven points, but pulled down 11 rebounds and had seven steals. “Last year, we came up short. This year, we were dedicated to winning. Our dedication and our drive paid off.”
Colonie took an 11-8 lead after one quarter, and led, 23-13, two minutes into the second. But Albany, looking for its first sectional title since 1998, refused to be intimidated. When Emia Willingham-Hurst found Cara Waterson for a buzzer-beating layup, the Big 10 champs pulled into a 27-27 tie.
“We let up. I think we got comfortable with the lead that we had, and defensively, we let up,” said Colonie coach Heather Fiore.
Down six heading into the fourth quarter, Albany came back to within one.
“We had our opportunities. We didn’t capitalize on them,” said Albany coach Kelly Haggerty-MacNabb.
Then it was the Rosales Show, as the junior hit a pair of threes to start her run of 11 consecutive points that put Colonie up, 58-51, with two minutes left.
“There are certain times when I get it and I throw it up and I know its going in, so I go for it,” Rosales said.
Loggins helped with seven of her 22 points coming in the final quarter. She also had 11 rebounds.
“We have four players [Rosales, Young, Loggins and Jaclyn Welch] that all average in double figures,” Fiore said. “It can be anyone of the four that step up.”
The 20-2 Lady Raiders advance to this Saturday’s regional final against Section III champion Cicero-North Syracuse and All-American Breanna Stewart.
Willingham-Hurst turned in a 19-point, 12-rebound game, and 10th-grader Breahanda Stratton had 13 points for Albany.
“This should make them that much hungrier and make them work that much harder,” Haggerty-MacNabb said. “This [19-2] is the best record Albany has ever had. They need to keep their heads high.”
Watervliet, the only unbeaten team in Section II, wasted a quick lead in its Class B semifinal against Colonial Council rival Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, before rallying for a 49-43 win.
Junior guard Ailayia Demand got her team back on track by scoring 12 of Watervliet’s 14 points in the third quarter, helping 21-0 ‘Vliet take a one-point lead into the final quarter. Demand wound up with 26 points.
In the other Class B semifinal, Tamarac took a different course to a win over Cohoes, as
10th-grader Jenna Erickson got 17 of her 19 points in the second half of the Bengals’ 48-36 win.
Watervliet and Tamarac will play Tuesday night at Stillwater High School for the Class B title.
COLONIE 64, ALBANY 55
Rosales 7-5-23, Welch 4-2-12, Young 3-1-7, Loggins 6-10-22, Kipper 0-0-0. Totals: 20-18-64.
Willingham-Hurst 7-4-19, Stratton 5-1-13, Canty 5-1-11, Waterson 1-0-2, Terrell 0-1-1, Greer 4-1-9. Totals 22-8-5.
Colonie 18 9 16 21 — 64
Albany 11 16 10 18 — 55
Three-point goals; Rosales 4, Welch 2, Willingham-Hurst, Stratton.
TAMARAC 48. COHOES 36
M.Alston 4-0-12, Gibbs 5-2-10. McDonald 0-3-3, Vanelli 2-0-6, Manzer 0-1-1, Dessmgue 1-0-2, Fitzgerald 0-1-1. Totals: 13-4-36.
Mulqueen 1-0-2, Warner 3-1-8, Erickson 5-7-19, Matazinsky 3-11-17, Johnson 1-0-2. Totals: 10-19-48.
Cohoes 15 7 6 8 — 36
Tamarac 6 14 16 12 — 48
Three-point goals: M. Alston 4, Warner, Erickson 2.
WATERVLIET 49, RAVENA-COEYMANS-SELKIRK 43
Stott 1-0-2, Vosburgh 1-1-4, Rebeor
4-0-11, Hotaling 2-4-8, Randio 8-2-18. Totals: 16-7-43.
Demand 8-4-26, Chartrand 1-0-3, Murray 2-0-5, Tolliver 7-0-14, DeGuire 1-1-3. Totals: 20-4-49
Ravena 12 12 8 11 — 43
Watervliet 10 6 14 16 — 49
Three-point goals: Vosburgh, Rebeor 3, Demand 2, Chartrand, Murray.