Mar 11, 2008 Rob Jonas Uncategorized
A big first half and some clutch shots in the fourth quarter helped the Corcoran girls basketball team beat one of the state’s premier programs — and advance to the state Class AA final four.
The Cougars took a 29-18 halftime lead and held on for a 48-42 victory over
Section II champion Shenendehowa in Saturday’s AA regional final at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.
“This is a team that’s (won games) from both directions,” said Corcoran head coach Jim Marsh. “We’ve won games where we’ve been down big in the first half and had to come back. This time, we had a great first half. Everything went our way.”
“We battled back, and then we just didn’t seem to get the breaks at the right time,” said Shen coach Ken Strube.
Corcoran came out firing from behind the 3-point arc. Brittini Ray made her first two three-pointers, and Quarin Bey added another to give the Cougars an 11-5 lead.
Shen’s shooters were not nearly as hot as Corcoran’s shooters in the first quarter. The Plainsmen managed just one field goal as they fell behind 13-6.
Even leading scorer Barb Shea had trouble making shots, missing a breakaway layup after forcing a steal late in the first quarter.
Things went from bad to worse for Shen early in the second quarter when Shea injured her left ankle while trying to save a ball from going out of bounds. Shea went to the bench for less than two minutes, but Corcoran took advantage of her absence to build a 23-10 lead.
Carey Turner briefly got the Plainsmen back in the game with a three-pointer and a long jump shot before Bey stopped Shen’s run with a long three of her own. Corcoran s lead never dipped below double digits again before halftime.
The Cougars finished the first half with a .500 shooting percentage, while the Plainsmen made only 25 percent of its field goals.
“We had some tape on them, and the word on the street was they shot the ball as poorly as we did,” said Strube. “That was definitely not the case.”
Shen turned the momentum in its favor to start the third quarter. Another Turner 3-pointer and a long jump shot from Serita Holland helped the Plainsmen cut Corcoran’s lead to 29-24.
Corcoran answered quickly with help from Nadia Jackson. The sophomore guard
converted two midcourt steals into easy layups to spark a 6-0 Cougar spurt that reestablished Corcoran’s 11-point lead.
Shen wasn’t about to let the game get out of hand, though. Kim Woodward nailed a 3-pointer and a long jump shot in the final minute of the third quarter to cut Corcoran’s lead to 39-33.
The score did not change much in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, as both teams struggled to hit their shots from the field and the free-throw line. With less than three minutes left, Corcoran clung to a 41-35 advantage.
Irene Hudson gave the Cougars a little breathing room by driving for a lay-up to make the score 43-35, but the Plainsmen refused to quit. Shea hit a three-pointer one of only two shots the senior guard hit all day and Turner sank two free throws to pull Shen within three points with 1:43 left.
That was as close as Corcoran allowed Shen to get. Zephrah Pam hit a clutch shot from the low post, and Jackson added a 3-pointer in the final minute to seal the Cougars’ victory.
“They missed a bunch of chippies (in the second half), but they kept penetrating and going to the basket,” said Marsh.
Bey finished with 11 points to lead a balanced Corcoran attack. Jackson and Pam each contributed nine points off the bench, and Hudson added eight points.
“That’s the way we are,” said Marsh. “We don’t have any star players.”
Turner and Woodward each had nine points for Shen, which has won nine
Section II titles since 1988.
Corcoran advances to this weekend’s state final at HVCC. The Cougars meet Long Island champion North Babylon Friday night, with the winner playing either two-time defending state champion Rush-Henrietta or Section IX champion Kingston on Saturday.