If Schalmont could have one quarter back from the girls’ basketball season, it would have been the first eight minutes of Wednesday’s Class B semifinal.
The Lady Sabres got buried under an avalanche of three-pointers that gave top-seeded Tamarac a big lead, an advantage that was barely enough to keep Schalmont from playing in Saturday’s championship game.
“I always tell them to play fast, but not in a hurry,” said coach Jeff VanHoesen after the 57-53 loss at Troy High. “The first quarter, we were in a hurry. Then the nerves went away and they did a good job of executing and making better passes.”
Tamarac made Schalmont defend inside and out, as not only did the Lady Bengals make four threes in their 20-8 run, they also got six points from their No. 33, Adiya Henderson. The 6-foot-center proved to be the difference as she finished with a game-high 21 points.
“They’re tough to defend. You pick your poison. You want to take away Henderson, and they have several shooters who can hit threes,” said VanHoesen. “And they were hitting them early on.”
Schalmont junior Tralyn Randle did a tremendous job of shadowing Tamarac’s 1,000-point scorer Jenna Erickson. But Tamarac’s complementary players made seven of their eight three-point tries.
“Tralyn’s been our best defender all year,” said VanHoesen.
Down, 49-35, and looking at six minutes left in their season, the Lady Sabres turned it up.
Hailee Metzold had baskets off three consecuive drives as Schalmont began what would be an 18-4 run that was capped when Martin hit a three from the left wing and then scored off a Metzold pass, tying the game at 53-53 with under a minute to play.
Sam Casale immediately put Tamarac back ahead, and a steal and subsquent free throw from Erickson put the Lady Bengals into the final against Johnstown.
Metzold finished with 20 points, Randle hit 13 while holding Erickson to a season-tying low of nine (just two baskets) and senior Ryanne Olsen had 10. Schalmont, the No. 4 seed, finished the season 14-7.
“I can’t say enough abotu them, the leadership we have with the seniors. They just kept fighting,” VanHoesen said. “You could see the underclassmen looking at them, and wanting to keep fighing, too.
“That’s a testament to them. They pull together and try to win for each other. That’s all I can ask for.”
Hope Cerasulo finished with a game-high 27 points, and Annie Stock hit four clutch free throws in the closing seconds as third-seeded Johnstown edged No. 2 Watervliet, 49-46, in the first game of the semifinal double-header. Johnstown used a big second quarter to get an 11-point halftime lead.
“They had the first run, and we had that run at the end of the half,” said Derwin. “I told them that Watervliet would make another run. They don’t quit.”
Watervliet did rally, but never regained the lead.
JOHNSTOWN 49, WATERVLIET 36
Cerasulo 9-6-27, McCoy 1-0-2, Nellis 3-1-7, Barnhart 2-0-5, Stock 1-4-6, O’Rourke 1-0-2. Totals: 17-11-49.
Dockstader 2-2-8, Sziller 4-2-12, Clickner 4-0-10, Dugan 2-0-5, Clough 4-2-11. Totals: 16-8-46.
Johnstown 7 20 9 13 — 49
Watervliet 11 5 14 16 — 46
Three-point goals: Cerasulo 3, Barnhart, Dockstader 2, Sziller 2, Clickner 2, Dugan.
TAMARAC 57, SCHALMONT 53
Metzold 8-4-20, Olsen 3-2-10, Randle 5-2-12, Strijek 1-0-3, Barnett 1-0-2, Daversa 2-1-5. Totals: 20-9-53.
Erickson 2-4-9, Henderson 7-7-21, Gavin 2-0-6, Kreiger 3-0-9, Casale 1-2-4, Medved 0-2-2, Mitchell 2-0-6. Totals: 17-15-57.
Schalmont 8 17 8 20 — 53
Tamarac 20 15 8 14 — 57
Three-point goals: Olsen2, Randle, Strijek, Erickson, Gavin 2, Kreiger 3, Mitchell 2.