Cooperstown Girls Make State Final Four

By Sports WKTV

An ugly win is better than a pretty loss, and right now the Cooperstown girls basketball team is sitting prettier than it ever has. The Lady Redskins beat Section IV's Tioga in the NYSPHSAA State Class C regional final 39-37 in overtime Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse, keeping its undefeated season going and earning its first-ever berth to the state final four.

Making its first-ever appearance in the state tournament, period, Cooperstown jumped out to a 7-0 lead. Tioga then found its footing and came back, trailing 11-8 after the 1st quarter and tying the game at 14 in the 2nd. But the Lady Redskins recovered, pulling ahead to lead 21-18 at the half.

In the 3rd quarter, Cooperstown appeared to take control, using a 9-2 run spanning most of the quarter to lead 30-22 going to the 4th.

Then things got interesting.

Tioga took total control in the final quarter, opening with an 11-4 run to cut the lead to 34-33 with 2:52 left. At that point, both offenses shut down completely, but with about 30 seconds remaining and Cooperstown up 35-33, Tioga's Jesse Robinson drove through the paint and got fouled while shooting, giving her two free throws and a chance to tie the game. She did. On Cooperstown's ensuing possessiong, the Lady Redskins put up three shots but missed them all, and the Lady Tigers eventually got the ball back at their own baseline with 3.7 seconds left and a chance for the win. On the inbounds pass, Robinson got a good look from mid-range, but her jumpshot hit off the front of the rim, sending the game to overtime.

In the four-minute extra period, the offenses continued to be no-shows, with each team scoring just two points in the first three minutes. With under a minute left, Cooperstown's Jen Wehner stole a Tioga pass near half-court and took it in for a layup, putting the Lady Redskins up 39-37. On Tioga's ensuing possession, Samantha Fox did a Hakim Warrick-National Championship impression with a huge block on a baseline jumper attempt with 10 seconds left, but the Lady Tigers recovered the ball and called a timeout with 3.8 seconds remaining. The inbounds play eventually found Kara McDuffee for a desperation three-point attempt, but it fell short, giving Cooperstown the victory.

The Lady Redskins, now 25-0 and ranked No. 3 in the state in Class C, will play No. 9-ranked Haldane from Section I in the state semifinals Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College at 12:30.

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