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.