CNS girls basketball wins first state Class AA championship

It began with Cara Gannett hitting a basket and Stewart converting to expand the Northstars' edge to 31-21 by halftime. With that momentum, CNS then got the first nine points of the third period - a 3-pointer from Mattice, then three consecutive baskets from Timpano.

As if that wasn't enough, Stewart began to have her way inside, using a series of nifty post moves, plus her proven power, to get 19 second-half points as CNS led by as much as 25 in the fourth quarter before easing up. For the game, the Northstars shot 61 percent from the field.

With 1:54 left and the championship settled, head coach Eric Smith brought out all the starters - Stewart, Mattice, Bowles, Timpano and Brittany Paul - to a standing ovation from the CNS fans that had traveled to Troy.

Moments later, senior Danielle Jimenez provided an exclamation point with a 3-pointer that drew more loud cheers, and as the buzzer sounded the team piled on each other in jubliation, then quickly got up to receive their medals and the state championship plaque - the first for any Section III team since South Jefferson (Class B) in 2006.

And still the story isn't over. CNS (22-2) is going to Albany's Times Union Center to play in the State Federation Championships. The Northstars meet Murry Bergrtraum, the New York City Public School Athletic League champions, next Saturday at 2 p.m., with the winner to advance to Sunday's noon final against Nazareth, the Catholic High School Athletic Association representative.

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