CNS girls drop tight regional final at wire

A 32-minute game was decided in the final 3.9 seconds.

Breanna Stewart missed a 15-foot jump shot, and Marissa Ray blocked Cara Gannett's follow-up at the buzzer to give Shenendehowa a 34-33 victory over Cicero-North Syracuse in Saturday's Class AA girls basketball regional at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.

"The kids did everything they needed to do in the second half. We hit our shots, grabbed rebounds and played good defense," CNS coach Eric Smith said. "We just fell one basket short."

"Both teams played good, solid defense," Shen coach Ken Strube said. "Nobody took a shot that they wanted."

The Northstars (18-3) had a 33-30 lead midway through the fourth quarter when Shen's Andrea Mangione stepped up. The senior came off the bench and scored five unanswered points, including a pair of free throws with 3:04 left to put the Plainsmen (21-2) ahead by one point.

"As a senior, I really didn't want the season to end," said Mangione. "Even if I had been on the bench cheering on my team, I would have felt good. But to be able to contribute feels even better."

The final three minutes were a series of missed shots and turnovers by both teams, as Shen desperately clung to its lead. CNS had a chance to take the lead with 1:21 left when Brittany Paul was fouled driving for a layup, but Paul missed both free throws.

But the more heartbreaking sequence for the Northstars proved to be the final one. Shen missed a shot at the other end, and CNS grabbed the rebound and called a time-out with 13.3 seconds left.

As expected, the Northstars set up a play for Stewart, but the sophomore forward was fouled on the floor with 3.9 seconds left. Since Shen had fouls to give, CNS had to inbound the ball again, this time from underneath the basket.

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