First-year Mohonasen girls’ basketball coach Kelley Urbano knew what her team was up against in Tuesday night’s Class A semifinal against top-seeded Troy.
“We had to play pretty much flawless against them. They’re an unbelievable team,” said Urbano, whose Lady Warriors fell behind from the start and never got untracked in a 57-30 season-ending setback at Colonie.
Troy, which finished second to Albany in the Big 10, came out firing. Sophomore guard Kiana Patterson hit a pair of threes as the Lady Flying Horses scored eight unanswered points to open the game and led, 18-7, after the first eight minutes.
Mohonasen, the No. 5 seed, had beaten Foothills Council champ Queensbury to open the postseason. Troy, though, played at a higher level.
“Beating Queensbury was a confidence booster, then you have to come out and play Troy,” Urbano said. ”It’s a whole different ball game.
“I think the girls were a little shell-shocked. But that’s OK. You’d rather go out against the No. 1 [team] than get knocked out earlier.”
Troy expanded its lead to 34-14 at the half, and was up, 46-20, going into the final quarter.
The loss left the Lady Warriors with a final record of 6-14, a little better than Urbano expected.
“Coming in, I think everybody had lower expectations. The team wasn’t going to win many games,” said Urbano. “There was only one kid, really, coming back, and Kelsey [Cowell] isn’t much of a scorer. “
Mohonasen took its lumps in the tough South Division of the Suburban Council, which has two of the Class AA semifinalists in Shaker and unbeaten Bethlehem.
“There’s a reason why us and Averill Park are always a in the semifinals,” Urbano said. “This is the fourth of the last five years that we’ve been in the semifinal. It’s that competition all year that gets us ready.”
“Our goal was sectionals. Not many teams thought we’d make it back to the semifinals.”
Cowell was the focus of Troy’s defense much of the first half, and finished with just one basket in her final varsity game.
“She’s come a long way this year, taking over the leadership role and scoring 14-15 points a game,” said Urbano. “Her game has completely turned around.”
Urbano started two other seniors in the semi, point guard Morgan Miller and Cassandra Lupi.
Eighth-grader Saeeda Abdul-Aziz led Mohonasen with 11 points, hitting three three-pointers to go with a pair of free throws.
“Saeeda started off the first game of the year with 12 points against Colonie,” Urbano said. “She’s had her bumps, but you’re playing Shaker one night, Colonie another night. It’s only going to help you. It’s not going to kill you.”
Troy, 15-5, got 15 points from Mary Pattison, 12 from Patterson, and 11 from both Courtney Avery and Cheyenne Williams down low.
“We’ve got some good length, some good athleticism from our guards, C.C. is a big body in the middle,” said Troy coach Paul Bearup, whose team is playing in Class A for the first time.
“They’ve been motivated to get to the final. They’re pretty focused, so we haven’t had to do a whole lot to refocus them.”
Troy will meet No. 2 seed and unbeaten Holy Names for the title Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College. The Colonial Council champions ended Averill Park’s three-year run as Class A champ with a 47-45 win in the first game of the pair at Colonie.
Hannah Friend scored 11 of her team’s 16 points in the final quarter, and Mary Kate Murray got the winning basket on a drive through a pair of defenders with seven seconds left as Holy Names went to 20-0.
“I knew we had, what 12 seconds, and I knew I was going to get the ball,” said Murray. “I chucked it up, and somehow it went in. It was beyond lucky.
“I just wanted to take it to the hoop and get a foul. That’s what I wanted to do. “
“I’m very proud of her, it was a very gutsy shot,” Holy Names coach Steve Gilgliello said. “That’s just being a senior, and having four years of varsity experience. I’m just hoping she’s going strong to the rim.”
Murray’s only basket of the game put Holy Names in the final for the first time since 2010. It had gone out in the semis the last two years, and the three years prior to its last final.
“It means the world to all of us,” said Friend, whose team got its first lead, 30-29, with 2:37 to go in the third, then held on in a fourth quarter in which there were five lead changes.
“The fourth, quarter, I just said, ‘This is it, Hannah. If you’re going to do anything, this is the time.’ ”
Averill Park sophomore Jenna Miner had banked in a tying three-pointer with 48 seconds left, a shot that barely beat the 30-second shot clock.
HOLY NAMES 47, AVERILL PARK 45
Van Roy 3-8-14, Nunziato 2-0-6, Donnelly 5-0-10, Wood 2-3-7, Horton 0-3-3, Miner 2-0-5. Totals: 14-14-45.
O’Toole 2-2-6, Murray 1-5-7, Friend 7-3-17, Small 3-2-8, Deas 2-3-7, Vivian 1-0-2. Totals: 16-15-47.
Averill Park 12 8 13 12 — 45
Holy Names 16 11 4 16 — 47
Three-point goals: Nunziato 2, Miner.
TROY 57, MOHONASEN 30
Miller 2-2-7, Egan 1-0-2, Abdul-Aziz 3-2-11, Cowell 1-0-2, Lupi 2-0-4, Sloan 1-0-2, Ziobrowski 1-0-2. Totas: 11-4-30.
Pattison 4-5-15, Patterson 4-1-12, Avery 5-1-11, Knockwood 2-1-6, Williams 5-1-11, Bertrand 1-0-2. Totals: 21-9-57.
Mohonasen 7 7 6 10 — 30
Troy 18 13 15 11 — 57
Three-point goals: Miller, Abdul-Aziz 3, Pattison 2, Patterson 3, Knockwood.