continued Another big moment came late in the third quarter. C-NS led, 40-34, when F-M reeled off seven straight points to take a 41-40 lead. Haas called a time-out, and immediately after Williams converted an inside lay-up and Brian DeMonte sank a 3-pointer right before the period ended.
That set the stage for C-NS's decisive 11-0 run early in the fourth quarter, and the spark was Evans, who to that point had suffered through inconsistency, something that Haas attributed to early nerves.
"Connor was forcing things early," said Haas. "He plays a lot better when he's relaxed."
Evans was very relaxed when he struck for back-to-back 3-pointers that erased the Hornets' 46-45 lead, and Williams followed with consecutive inside baskets, the latter of them a three-point play, and just like that C-NS was up 56-46, never to trail again.
F-M didn't go away, battling to the final seconds, but it never got closer than a five-point margin again as Evans and Troy McIntyre sank the free throws in the final minute that sealed the Northstars' win.
In the Dome next Saturday night, C-NS will face no. 2 seed Utica Proctor for the sectional title. The Northstars did beat the Raiders 53-48 at the Peppino's Invitational on Dec. 6, but that was nearly three months ago, and Evans missed that game with a concussion.
Far more important is just how much Proctor has improved since that early-season clash, capped by its impressive 67-57 conquest of defending champion Henninger in the other AA semifinal.
Proctor fans surely remember how, in 2010, C-NS stunned them 61-60 for the sectional title at Utica Auditorium on Anthony DelCoro's banked-in 3-pointer at the buzzer. Four years later, these two sides again meet with a championship on the line.