POTSDAM - Nothing came easy for Hammond on Friday evening at SUNY Potsdam as No. 2 seed and number six ranked Lady Red Devils played No. 5 seed Heuvelton in the Section 10 Class D Girls Basketball Championship game.
The Red Devils needed a little luck and a lot of resiliency down the stretch to overcome the Lady Bulldogs upset bid in a 43-40 win.
This has been an emotional week to say the least for me, said Hammond coach Shawn Dack whose team will face Salmon River in the Tournament of Champions on 5 p.m. at SUNY Potsdam on Tuesday in the Section 10 semi-finals.
Ive had to deal with a very close family member passing away last Saturday and trying to prepare the girls for the games we have had ahead of us. I just want to tell my family how proud I am of them and my thoughts and prayers have always been with them, said Dack.
But I am also very proud of this team. We work hard to be who we are and these girls have shown great resiliency in how they play and overcome obstacles. We have preached that to them a lot this year. And sports is a great promoter of tough situations, circumstances and events. Life will knock you down more times than you know. The question is do you sit there or stand up. Well, We stand up at Hammond, Dack said.
On Friday obstacles including a small fourth quarter deficit and very unfriendly baskets at the Jerry Welsh court.
Those obstacles were overcome by getting big rebounds on the offensive and defensive glass, taking a charge and forcing a turnover in the final minute.
We knew Heuvelton was going to be very tough and they were even tougher than we expected, Dack noted of Heuveltons excellent effort after two setbacks during the season of 55-25 and 52-32.
The contest was close throughout as Heuveltons Hannah Thornhill delivered a three in the second quarter beating a shot clock violation to make it 11-10 Hammond but Alyssa Crosby later closed out the quarter with two free throws for a 16-11 halftime lead.
The lead grew to seven three times in the third quarter but Heuveltons Maddie St. Pierre, Logan Tallman and Paige McCormick scored seven straight to tie the game at 28-28 with 7:30 left in the fourth quarter.
With 5:30 left in fourth, McCormick gave Heuvelton a 32-31 lead. Later in the quarter, Crosby scored on a rebound putback for a 37-34 lead but McCormick answered for Heuvelton.
Alexis Weidner gave Heuvelton a 38-37 lead with 1:10 to play but Crosby, who scored 13 fourth quarter points, made it 39-38. Heuvelton had a chance to tie at the foulline but missed and Gabby Marshall sank two free throws for a 41-38 lead with 26.9 seconds left.
Courtney Bova then drew a charge for Hammond and Crosby and hit another free throw for a 42-38 lead. After a double-dribble at mid-court by Heuvelton, Crosby added a free throw for 43-38 before Weidner hit a outside basket at the buzzer.
Crosby finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds and four steals. Brianne Langtry chipped in four steals and two points. Marshall tallied five points while Bova added four.
McCormick and Logan Tallman (four rebounds) each scored nine points for Heuvelton. Alexis Weidner added seven points, five rebounds and four steals.
Maddie St. Pierre added six points and seven boards.
Heuvelton coach Rob Powers was very pleased with his teams effort.
After two lopsided games with them we played right with them. I really thought we played good defense and rebounded. But Alyssa Crosby took over in fourth. We had a couple of opportunities late but didnt convert and Hammond took advantage, said Powers.
We had a great year, we have four starters back next season and we only lose two players,