CANTON - Given the history of the two teams in one the best NAC West Division season races ever, very few people in the standing room only crown at SUNY Canton were surprised when Heuvelton and Hermon-DeKalb took their Section 10 Class D Girls Basketball Championship game to overtime.
Top seeded Heuvelton found itself trailing H-D, 30-23 at halftime but used a 14-5 third quarter advantage as a springboard to a 53-48 overtime win.
At halftime, Coach Powers (Rob) kept reminding us to play as a team and work harder defensively. It was a tough battle the whole way and against a very good team. Im just thrilled that we won and moving on. I just want credit the whole team in this win, said Paige McCormick who delivered a game high 21 points for the Bulldogs.
After Heuvelton led 43-39 with just under three minutes on a key basket from Kylie Piercey the Demons cut the defict to 43-42 with three straight free throws from Hunter Hitchman with 2:25 left. Kylie Piercey added a free throw with 42 seconds left for a 44-42 lead. H-Ds Courtney Harrington sent the game into overtime with two free throws with 15 seconds.
In overtime, Heuvellton outscored Hermon-DeKalb 9-4 to claim its first sectional basketball since the 2004-2005 season when Coach Powers served as an assistant to Lynn Blevins on a team which went to the NYS Final Four.
The current Bulldogs stand one game away from the Final Four and will host a quarter-final game at SUNY Potsdam.
During the overtime, Heuveltons Alexis Weidner scored in transition, McCormick connected off a turnover, and Piercey grabbed a big rebound and set up Logan Tallman for a free throw just before McCormick recorded a steal and was fouled and added a free throw to cap a 6-0 run.
When we went into the locker room at halftime, I told the girls that we were getting outplayed. Olivia St. Pierre got into some early foul trouble and we needed to step up the defense a lot and we needed to shut down Hunter (Hitchman) and keep everyone else in check. I thought we accomplished that holding Hunter in the second half to five points, said Powers after his 19-2 team moved in a 5 p.m. game with Class B Champion Canton in the overall Section 10 semi-finals on Tuesday at SUNY Potsdam.
Tonight Kylie Piercey played exceptionally well off the bench for Olivia (St. Pierre) who got into some big first half foul trouble. Weve been gradually upping Kylies minutes after she got sick midway in the season. She gave us some big rebounds and hit foul shot in the fourth was big to go up two, said Powers.
And Paige McCormick was just phenomenal as a freshman tonight leading the scoring. Alexis (Weidner) produced a great floor game and got us some big steals and found some open players. If we played Hermon-DeKalb 50 times it would 25-25 split and every game would be a battle and fun to watch. Hermon-DeKalb is just a great team.
McCormick (5 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 assists) finished with 21 points including five for eight from the foul line and six overtime points. Maddie St. Pierre (7 rebounds) added 10 points including six in the second quarter.
Weidner (9 rebounds, 3 steals, 6 assists) netted eight points while Piercey (3 steals, 4 boards) chipped in five and Tallman (3 steals, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) added four free throws. Olivia St Pierre (4 rebounds) also finished with four points.
Hitchman scored eight of her 15 points in the second quarter to go with five rebounds and three assists for H-D. Courtney Harrington tallied 15 points and grabbed eight boards while Morgan Stott chipped in six points and seven boards.
Bridget Rust and Delaney Kerr each added four points.
Credit Heuvelton they played an exceptional second half and their defense was extremely tough. Tonight, we turned the ball over too much late in the game and we came away with two many scoreless trips. All three of our games were great games. Im just proud of what this team accomplished. Any time, a team is playing this late in February means youve had a successful season, said H-D coach Steve Morrill whose team finished 17-3.