SYRACUSE If someone were to ask what a high school girls basketball postseason game should look like, show them the film of Sundays Section 3 Class D semifinal between Copenhagen and New York Mills.
The game was competitive throughout, fast-paced, physical, intense, emotional, and came down to a last-second shot to either win or lose.
Unfortunately for the third-seeded Golden Knights, their final shot to win came up short.
Carly Dziekan and Domenique Talerico scored 13 and 10 points, respectively, as the second-seeded Marauders pulled out a 43-42 victory at Onondaga Community College.
New York Mills will play the undefeated, top-seeded, defending champion Oriskany, which advanced with a 52-21 victory over No. 4 Sackets Harbor in the preceding game.
My girls didnt get down, didnt get defeated, and came back in the fourth quarter and put themselves in position to actually win it, Copenhagen coach Natalie Scott said.
Copenhagen, which ended its season with a 15-4 record, trailed by as much as nine in the second half, but got to within a point with 3.8 seconds left.
After a timeout, Logan Wheeler took the three-quarter-court inbound pass, dribbled to her right and got a decent, albeit contested, look at the basket from a few feet inside the 3-point arc.
The shot fell just short of the rim.
We just had to get the ball in and try to shoot or get fouled, we knew we had to score somehow, Wheeler said.
Wheeler lifted the Golden Knights on offense late, scoring seven of her game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter. She drained two pivotal 3-point field goals in the fourth, the second of which cut Copenhagens deficit to 42-40 with one minute, 40 seconds left.
With 6.4 seconds left, Brooke Spaulding grabbed the biggest rebound of her life off a missed New York Mills free throw to set up the final play.
We knew it was going to be intense at this point in the tournament, Dziekan said. Its not going to be an easy game, and we were expecting a game like that. We just kept our heads.
The Golden Knights used their signature five-for-five substitution method to set a fast and physical pace in the first half, which they ended with a 22-20 lead.
But New York Mills (17-3) gained control early in the third quarter, using its size advantage to deny Copenhagen any easy buckets at the rim, and getting better guard play to complement the 5-foot-11 Talerico in the post.
We just came together as a team at halftime and said, Well, our bigs are getting beat up so everybody needs to take a part and just shoot, and go to the basket and draw the fouls, Talerico said. We had to just go at them.
Copenhagen then clawed back slowly throughout the fourth. Scott said the team set short-term, possession-by-possession goals to cut the deficit.
We had to work twice as hard as we were already to get back out of the hole we dug, Wheeler said.
We had to stop them from scoring, so we had to get some steals and try to not foul them because theyre good foul shooters, Copenhagen senior Cassidy ODonnell said. Then, eventually work our way back with more points on the board.
ORISKANY 52, SACKETS HARBOR 21
Senior Christina Graziadei scored a game-high 20 points and Madison Zizzi added 17 to lead the top-seeded Redskins (19-0) past the undermanned Patriots in a Class D semifinal.
Oriskany got off to a slow start offensively, creating an early window of opportunity that Sackets Harbor was unable to take advantage of.
Graziadei banked in a 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer to put Oriskany up 12-5, and the game was never close from that point on.
(Theyre) just a very good team, said Sackets Harbor coach Gregg Townsend, whose team finished 11-6. Very good press, they run the floor well and get out on the break. They do everything well.
Sackets Harbors leading scorer, senior Joan Cuddeback, tried to return from an ankle injury that kept her out of the teams quarterfinal win.
She came off the bench midway through the first quarter, tweaked the ankle and got it re-taped on the bench shortly after. She played sparingly after that and was held to two points.