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Hammond, M-W Ready For Section 7 champions

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Section 10’s Class D Basketball Champions, the Hammond Girls and the Madrid-Waddington Boys, representing two programs which have enjoyed great success in state tournament action will be host regional games against Section 7 Champions tonight at SUNY Potsdam.

The 20-2 Lady Red Devils are looking to follow in the footsteps of a series of Shawn Dack-coached teams which have qualified for the New York State Final Four.Most notably the back-to-back state championships won in 2007-2008.

Madrid-Waddington (16-7) is looking to retrace the team-of-destiny steps of last year’s Yellowjacket squad which reached the NYS Championship game before losing to Sackets Harbor in an All Northern New York duel.

Hammond will face 19-1 Elizabethtown-Lewis, a 49-34 winner over Moriah in the Section 7 finals, at 6 p.m. tonight. M-W will follow with a match against Moriah (8-11) which upset previously undefeated Schroon Lake 48-45 in Saturday night’s Section 7 finals.

Tonight’s winners advance to regional finals action on Saturday against Section 2 champions on the road.

Three Section 10 champions in the Massena (A) and Salmon River (B) Girls and OFA Boys (B) all drew byes to regional finals at SUNY Potsdam on Saturday. The Class C Champion Canton Girls (overall Section 10 champions) will play at a Section 2 on Tuesday and Massena (A) and St. Lawrence (C) Boys will play at Section 2 sites on Wednesday.

Hammond vs Elizabethtown-Lewis: The Red Devils and the Lions are ranked fifth and sixth in this week’s state poll and both teams are unbeaten against Class D opponents. The Red Devils are led by one of the most complete players in the state in Alyssa Crosby who will play all five positions, from the post to the point, defending on the defensive tactics and game situation. Crosby, a two-time NAC Co-MVP and 2013 Jan Reetz Award winner, averages 19 points, 13 rebounds and four steals per game. She scored 28 points in the 43-40 Class D title win over Heuvelton and 24 in the 39-35 Class D2 finals over Chateaugay.

“It’s difficult to prepare for someone of her caliber,” said E-L Coach Don Ratliff to the Plattsburgh Press Republican. “I do have a game plan and so we’ll see if we can run it.”

The plan will most likely include the fullcourt man-to-man pressure and a cast of nine players who have regularly contributed especially on the boards.

Coach Dack is looking for his team to play a “complete game” to counter the extra defensive attention placed on Crosby. Gabby Marshall (7.1) has made 43 3s on the year, point guard Courtney Bova averages 7.9 points per game and Mikayla Horton averages 6.1 points per game. Brianne Langtry provides reliable play guard and forward and Cassi Whalen, Emily Bush and Hailey Ogden are solid rebounders. Tayler Bowman and Macy Wilson have also seen regular action in the rotation. Lily Whalen (14.6) and Shonna Brooks (12.4) are the offensive leaders for the Lions who feature four four-year starters. Waiting in the wings is the state’s top-ranked team 21-0 Fort Edward.

M-W Vs Moriah: The no. 23 state-ranked Yellowjackets became the postseason story in Section 10 winning the Class D crown from the sixth seed and beating three NAC Division champions (Chateaugay 68-52, Edwards-Knox 51-49 and St. Regis Falls 57-41) along the way.

The Jackets did it with their defense which dominated the second half of the Class D title game. Defense which creates the open floor opportunities which are ideal for senior point guard Colin O’Bryan (13.8 points per game) who provides classic floor leadership with triple double capabilities.

Richard Wright (11.3 ppg) and Maurice Rease (8.6 ppg) have struck for 30 and 24 three-pointers while Greg Thompson (9.5 pp) has paced the inside offensive production. Terry Crump, Jacob Barney and Zach Brock have also been consistent playmakers on both sides of the ball.

Moriah reversed an overtime loss to Schroon Lake in the regular season and a series of its losses came against larger schools. Leading the Vikings is freshman center Adam Jaquish (12.9 ppg) who registered a near triple double of 15 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks in a sectional semi-final win.

Waiting in the wings to host tonight’s winner in Saturday’s regional finals is undefeated and number one state-ranked Section 2 Champion Argyle.

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