A decade-long quest to reclaim a Section III championship banner finally ended for the Bishop Grimes girls basketball team.
Picking just the right time to spring one of its best efforts of the season, the Cobras excelled in most phases of the game, beating Mohawk 59-43 Wednesday night at Rome Free Academy for the Class C-2 title, Grimes' first sectional crown since 1998.
Mohawk had gone 21-1 to reach this point and were no. 10 in the state Class C rankings. In sophomore guard Christy Traglia, who had 25 points in the team's semifinal win over Beaver River, the Mohicans had a genuine offensive threat the Cobras could worry about.
Yet the game would turn on Mohawk's strategy to take away Grimes' inside game, specifically making sure that Cobra forwards Amanda Marcely and Tenley Pitonzo didn't get any basket they wanted.
That did not work, as Marcely still had 13 points and eight rebounds, while Pitonzo added six points. But the worse part for Mohawk is that all the attention given to Marcely and Pitonzo left Grimes' guards wide-open to take outside shots -- and they feasted.
From the first quarter onward, the Cobras started burying 3-pointers, racing to a 16-6 lead early, then continually answering all of the Mohicans' charges by hitting more shots from beyond the arc.
By the time it got tallied up at the end, Grimes had converted on 12 3-pointers, breaking the school record of 11 the team had set earlier in the season.
Brooke Bonacci proved the greatest beneficiary of all those looks, the senior guard making six of those 13 treys to account for all of her 18 points, a new career mark. Meanwhile, freshman point guard Amelia Heiselman had five 3-pointers, accounting for most of her 17 points, to go with six assists and four steals.
Amid this barrage, Grimes didn't forget about the defensive part, either. With its full-court pressure and a deep rotation, the Cobras did a big number on Traglia, holding her to five points. Of the Mohawk players, only Brittney Harvey, with 14 points, broke into double figures.
Having ended its 11-year title drought, Grimes now sought the overall Class C championship, as it goes to Utica Memorial Auditorium Saturday to face Little Falls, who won the C-1 title by avenging last year's loss to Cooperstown in a 46-34 decision.