Mar 16, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
On its way to winning a Section III Class C championship, the Bishop Grimes girls basketball team reveled in playing relentless defense, plus hitting the key shots at key times that would demoralize an opponent.
And those were the very things that brought an end to the Cobras’ state championship quest.
Playing Section IV champion Greene in last Saturday’s Classs C regional final at SUNY-Cortland, Grimes got shut down at just the wrong point in time, allowing the Trojans to surge in front and prevail by a score of 41-31.
In many ways, the game resembled the sectional Class C final on March 7, where the Cobras’ depth and strong inside play allowed it to overcome cold perimeter shooting and fight past Little Falls.
Greene, 22-1 going into the game, concentrated its defense on making sure that Grimes’ outside shooters, especially Brooke Bonacci and Amelia Heiselman, did not get open looks.
Sure enough, the Cobras made just one 3-pointer all afternoon, but that did not keep the team from staying close all the way to the end.
In fact, Grimes led 12-11 after one period, and continued to trade baskets with the Trojans in the second quarter as the teams appeared headed for a 19-19 halftime tie.
But just before the buzzer, Greene’s Barb Borst sank a 3-pointer from the right corner, a tough shot that had a long-term effect. Not only did the Trojans lead 22-19 at the break, but it gave Grimes a rare halftime deficit to consider.
That momentum carried over into the third quarter. In all, Greene used a 10-0 run to build a 29-19 edge, but the Cobras refused to go away.
Led by forward Amanda Marcely, who finished with 15 points, Grimes pulled back to 26-21 late in the third period. When Greene again tried to pull away, the Cobras rallied once more, within four, 33-29, before the Trojans made five of six free throws to seal the win.
More than anyone else, Borst hurt the Cobras, finishing with 20 points as Greene advanced to face Nazareth (Section V) in this weekend’s state semifinals at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.
Grimes wasn’t alone in its struggles. All five Section III champions took defeats in regional finals, meaning that none would be present in the state final four.
But the Cobras have a great chance to be champions again in 2009-10. Bonacci and Tenley Pitonzo were the team’s lone seniors. Marcely, Heiselman, Cady Kalemba, Emma Kelley, Cassidy Weeks, Ali Kelley and Erannan Shattuck led a large returning cast that will make Grimes a prohibitive preseason favorite.