They’ve been here before,
But Averill Park girls’ basketball coach Sean Organ has reminded the Lady Warriors that they should make the most of a third consecutive trip to the girls’ basketball state semifinals.
“Our kids work just as hard as anybody. They earned the right to get back [to the state semifinals],” said Organ, whose 2010 team won the Federation championship. “They understand that this is something that is rare, and even though it’s happened a couple of times over the past few years, it may never happen again. They savor that. They worked hard for that opportunity.”
The 17-5 Lady Warriors meet 22-2 Pearl River of Section I in a 3:15 p.m. semifinal at Hudson Valley Community College, the fourth of six semifinals today.
The Lady Warriors earned their latest trip to the state semis by beating Scotia-Glenville in the Section II final and Jamesville-DeWitt in last weekend’s regional championship game.
Outstanding two-way guard Brooke O’Shea has enjoyed a strong senior season, as has classmate Bridget Carney, the team’s inside threat.
Senior guard Julia Mai helped Averill Park get out quick last weekend with a pair of three-pointers.
“She is doing a good job of coming out and getting us into our offense,” said Organ, who also starts juniors Alison Nunziato and Elaina Ryan. “She doesn’t get much credit for her defense, but she’s done a good job neutralizing the other team’s primary ball handler.”
The Lady Warriors, who controlled Scotia’s Cassie Broadhead in the sectional final, face another tough defensive assignment today.
“We know that Pearl River is maybe the best team in this tournament,” Organ said “They’re fast. They shoot the ball really well. They have a very strong press. So, we have a huge challenge.
“Our kids have gutted it out.”
Fairfield University-bound senior Christa Scognamiglio is the Pirates’ career scoring leader, and had 13 of her 21 points in the third period as Pearl River rallied past Red Hook in its regional final.
Senior forward Christy Carey added 16 points and 14 points against Red Hook.
The winner plays Saturday at 7 p.m. against the winner of the other semi between Section XI’s John Glenn and Rochester East (Section V). They play today at 1:30.
Section II’s other two regional champs are in Saturday semifinals.
Hoosic Valley, 23-1, gets 23-0 Coleman Catholic of Section IX in a 2:15 Class C semifinal. Argyle plays another Section IX champ, Livingston Manor, in a 10:45 a.m. Class D semi.
The Class B semis — South Jefferson (III) vs. Rochester Aquinas (V), 10 a.m.; Saranac (VII) vs. Irvington (I), 11:45 a.m. — open today’s schedule.
The Class AA semifinals close today’s competition. Riverhead (XI) meets Penfield (V) at 6;15, followed by Circero-North Syracuse (III) vs. Ossining (I).
The latter game features two of the top players in the country in
C-NS senior center Breanna Stewart, the 201 Naismith Award winner who scored 31 points in beating Colonie last weekend, and Ossining junior guard Saniya Chong, who scored 39 in her team’s 90-78 win over Binghamton in a regional final.