CANAJOHARIE -It wasn't pretty but the Canajoharie girls basketball team earned a trip to the Section II Class C first round.
The 14th-seeded Lady Cougars turned the ball over 25 times and committed 20 fouls Friday night in their play-in game against No. 19 Whitehall, but pulled off a 43-31 victory.
"That was a huge win for us," Canajoharie coach Joe Fowler said. "They were very nervous coming in and they played nervous the whole game because it is sectionals. Now that it is under their belt, hopefully, they will play more the way the can Tuesday night and look better. You can lose and still look good."
Canajoharie’s Jenelle Dillenbeck (24) is guarded by Whitehall’s Ariel Ayers (5) during a Section II Class C Tournament play-in game Friday at Canajoharie High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Canajoharie jumped out to a fast start, putting the Lady Railroaders down 7-0 until Rebecca Lavin put Whitehall's first points in the book with 2:32 left in the opening period.
Abbey Dearwester added a pair of baskets late in the period to stake Canajoharie to an 11-5 first-quarter lead.
The Lady Cougars opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run with six different players scoring to help extend their lead to 24-10 at the break.
Section II Class B Play-ins
Fonda-Fultonville 61, Cairo-Durham 26
Schuylerville 48, Emma Willard 25
Ichabod Crane 40, Bishop Gibbons 29
Catskill 56 Coxsackie-Athens 41
Corinth 42, Albany Leadership 39
Section II Class C Play-ins
Canajoharie 43, Whitehall 31
Voorheesville 52, Mayfield 40
Galway 40, Saratoga Catholic 30
Albany Academy 38, Schoharie 21
Stillwater 39, Middleburgh 27
Section III Class C-2 Quarterfinals
Weedsport 58, Dolgeville 26
Onondaga 51, LaFayette 48
Fabius-Pompey 49, Morrisville-Eaton 25
West Canada Valley 45, Waterville 41
Whitehall outscored the Lady Cougars in the third period, which was marked by a combined 14 fouls and 10 turnovers.
Canajoharie built its lead to 15 with 4:07 left in the period before the Lady Railroaders put up a 7-0 run to trim the lead to eight, with just more than 30 seconds left in the third period.
Dearwester converted on 1-of-2 free throws and Jordyn Logan beat the buzzer with her 3-pointer to give the Lady Cougars a 35-23 lead heading into the final period.
Both teams battled through multiple turnovers in the final eight minutes, with both teams hitting for eight points to close out the game at 43-31 in favor of Canajoharie.
Brittany Putorti led Whitehall with 14 points, while Rachel Lavin added six.
Canajoharie was paced by Kara Schwab's nine-point, six-rebound, four-steal performance. Ariannah Logan finished with five points, four rebounds, four steals and four assists. Dearwester added nine points and Alexis Kane added eight points and five rebounds.
"It was a hard win and it did need to be this hard," Fowler said. "We made it very difficult. I think it is a learning curve for them because they are so young. We have only two seniors and they contribute a lot but our sophomores really need to step it up."
The Lady Cougars will travel to play third-seeded Berne-Knox-Westerlo in Berne on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Canajoharie 43, Whitehall 31
Whitehall5 5 13 8 - 31
Canajoharie11 13 11 8 - 43
Ayers 1-0-2, Baldwin 1-1-3, Christian 0-3-3, Davis 1-0-3, R. Lavin 2-2-6, Putorti 5-4-14. Totals: 10-10-31.
Bowerman 1-0-2, Dearwester 3-3-9, Dillenbeck 2-1-5, Kane 3-1-8, A. Logan 2-1-5, J. Logan 1-0-3, Pitonza 1-0-2, Schwab 4-0-9. Totals: 17-6-43.
3-point goals: Whitehall 1 (Davis); Canajoharie 3 (Kane, J. Logan, Schwab).