TROY — The Golden Knights’ most successful girls’ basketball season in more than 30 years ended in Friday’s Class D state semifinals.
After winning its first regional championship since 1988, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons fell 56-26 to the Franklinville Panthers at Hudson Valley Community College to close its best season in decades.
“It’s surreal, at this point,” Bishop Gibbons head coach Pat Moran said of the team’s journey to the semifinals. “I’m extremely proud of the girls and what they’ve accomplished.”
The Golden Knights were down eight points in the fourth quarter of their sectional championship before rallying to victory. Then, the team advanced to the final four after defeating Westport in last weekend’s regional championship on the strength of 12-point games from both Abby Kienzle and Ava Megyeri.
The Knights, though, were the underdogs going into the game against the formidable Panthers.
“They are just very good,” Moran said. “They’re tough to stop, and I knew that coming in.”
Danielle Haskell scored 33 points to lead the Panthers to their victory, while teammate Abby McCoy added 10.
“They’re outstanding young ladies,” Moran said of Haskell and McCoy. “Those two we knew would be very good.”
The Knights had a hard time generating offense against the Panthers. Bishop Gibbons senior Jailene Santiago scored the first two points of the game, but the team only scored two more for the remainder of the quarter and trailed 14-4 after the opening period.
“They had great defense,” Moran said. “They stopped us from what we wanted to do.”
Julianna Tortello began the second quarter with a 3-pointer, one of only two in the game from the Golden Knights. The second of these came from Santiago at the end of the third quarter.
Kienzle led the team in scoring with 10.
Franklinville led 27-13 at halftime and 42-17 after three quarters.
Moran credited his team for never giving up on its season.
“Coming back after we lost five games in a row to win nine of our last 11 games, that’s a highlight for me,” Moran said. “This team just never stopped.”
Five seniors will graduate from the Bishop Gibbons roster, including four starters.
“That’s going to be interesting, filling those voids,” Moran said. “But the young ladies coming up, they have a lot of heart, and they fight like the ones that they learned from. I’m excited to teach them.”
While a state title would have made for a great ending to an incredible season, Moran said his players had given their coach plenty to be proud of from their 2018-19 season in which the Golden Knights finished 15-9.
“Seeing them never giving up, as a coach, that’s what I look for,” Moran said. “Their defensive stance, and how they came together, those are the things I’m proud of.”
With a 75-43 victory Friday against Maple Grove, Cambridge advanced to Saturday’s Class C championship game.
Sophie Phillips scored 23 points to lead Cambridge, while Lilly Phillips had 22 points and 11 rebounds. Fiona Mooney added 15 points.
Cambridge led 49-27 at halftime.
Cambridge will play Watkins Glens in Saturday’s 7 p.m. championship game.
FRANKLINVILLE 56, NOTRE DAME-BISHOP GIBBONS 26
Wolfer 2-4-8, Burrell 1-3-5, Haskell 10-8-33, McCoy 2-4-10. Totals: 15-19-56.
NOTRE DAME-BISHOP GIBBONS
Megyeri 0-2-2, A. Kienzle 2-6-10, Jira 0-2-2, Bessinger 0-2-2, Santiago 1-0-3, Jackson 1-0-2, M. Kienzle 1-0-2, Tortello 1-0-3. Totals: 6-12-26.
Franklinville 14 13 15 14 — 56
Bishop Gibbons 4 6 7 9 — 26
CAMBRIDGE 75, MAPLE GROVE 43
Tranum 2-1-5, Hill 3-0-6, Snow 1-2-5, Schuppenhauer 6-1-16, Hemminger 3-0-6, Grissom 1-1-3, Price 1-0-2. Totals: 17-5-43.
L. Phillips 8-4-22, S. Phillips 9-0-23, Epler 2-2-8, Mooney 7-1-15, Nolan 1-0-2, Darling 1-0-2, Gifford 1-1-3. Totals: 29-8-75.
Maple Grove 10 17 7 9 — 43
Cambridge 28 21 17 9 — 75
Hanna Smith is an intern at The Daily Gazette. Smith is a student at Hudson Valley Community College.