Syracuse, N.Y. - The Cooperstown Hawkeyes girls basketball team completed its magical run through the Section III Class C Tournament, finishing the job with a 54-45 win against familiar foe, Little Falls, to capture the section title at the Carrier Dome, Thursday.
The four-seed in the tournament, Cooperstown dispatched top-seeded Weedsport in the semifinals last week, before taking down the two-seeded Mounties in the championship game.
The run certainly wasn't easy, especially with a late comeback from Little Falls to tie the game midway through the fourth quarter, but the Hawkeyes were able to get key baskets down the stretch to win the program's first section title since 2016.
"It feels so good, I'm so excited," said senior Kate Trosset, who lead the Hawkeyes with 15 points in the game. "My team played so hard, it was a crazy game back and forth, but I'm so happy we did it."
For Trosset, who wasn't on the team back in 2016 and was named tournament MVP, it was a moment she'll never forget.
"I've been waiting for this I feel like my whole life," she added. "We started off the season with a few losses, but I think we all just wanted it. It's the best team I've ever been on. I feel like I trust every single one of them with the ball, every time they have it."
Piper Seamon also came up big for the Hawkeyes, finishing with 14 points in the win. She earned all-tournament team honors, and is also experiencing winning a section title for the first time.
"It's so amazing, I still don't think I've connected yet that we've won," the junior said. "The amount of faith we have in each other, I'm just so glad it was this team that I did it with."
It's a return to the top for head coach Mike Niles, who had a run of three championships in four years end in 2016. He said he was proud of this group for rallying past all of the adversity they faced this year, especially with the slow 4-4 start to the season.
"It's awesome, these kids are so positive and they get along so well with each other," Niles said. "Little gibes, in the past, that might have sent us down some kind of whirlwind are accepted. It's critical but it's positive and it's helpful, and it's a lot of fun."
The 19-5 Cooperstown state-ranked No. 14 girls will take on the Section IV champion, Unatego or Watkins Glen, in the Class C region final on Sunday, March 10, in Binghamton for a spot in the New York State semifinals.
For the Mounties, it's a tough end to an otherwise great season. For the second year in a row, their run ends in the title game at the Carrier Dome.
Olivia Langdon scored a team-high 12 points, and earned all-tournament honors along with Olivia Lindsay, who had 11.
They finish the season at 20-3, ranked No. 8 in the state.
In the Class D final earlier in the evening, the two-seed Madison Blue Devils fell to the one-seed Copenhagen Golden Knights 39-29.
Senior Kayla Usborne lead the Devils with nine points on the night. They end their year at 25-2.