BROADALBIN – The Johnstown Lady Bills were coming and the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots were reeling.
Nicole Traver stepped to the foul line with 20.2 seconds left in the game after the Lady Bills pulled within a point after trailing by 13 points at the start of the fourth quarter.
She took a few extra dribbles, then knocked down both halves of a one-and-one.
“I was just trying to take my time and not be nervous,” Traver said. “The game was kind of on the line at that point.”
That and a little luck helped the Lady Patriots hang on for a 39-37 Foothills Council girls basketball victory, their first league win of the season.
“This is a big win for our program,” Broadalbin-Perth coach Michael Magliocca said. “I can’t even imagine the last time we beat Johnstown, and it’s even bigger because they’re a Class B dropping down and between them and Hudson Falls dropping into our class, these are games we have to get after in the Foothills.”
But even after Traver’s foul shooting gave the Lady Patriots a 39-36 lead, the Lady Bills still had a chance, but luck wasn’t with the Lady Bills as Hope Cerasuolo drove to the basket.
On her way up for a shot, she was fouled by Monica Magliocca.
Cerasuolo’s shot went in the basket, but rolled around inside it for about a second before bouncing back out, denying Cerasuolo the chance for a three-point play. Instead, she hit the back end and closed the gap to two points.
Katie Herba then missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving Johnstown one more chance, but Emma Heroth’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer didn’t connect and the Lady Patriots hung on for the win, ending a very long fourth quarter.
“It felt like forever because we knew they were out to get us and they just seemed to get closer and closer,” said Gifford, who finished with a game-high 14 points. “We wanted to get the win more than anything. It felt like a very long time.”
The win sends Johnstown (3-5 overall, 0-4 Foothills Council) to the bottom of the league on a night where the Lady Bills had trouble mounting an offensive attack. Through the first three quarters, they had managed only 17 points and only made three baskets in the first half.
“We grabbed a steal, went the length of the court to start the second half and then we missed an uncontested layup,” Johnstown coach Tim Derwin said. “That was just the story of the night. It’s missed shots.”
The Lady Patriots (4-4 overall, 1-3 Foothills Council) weren’t much better in the first half, only connecting for four baskets – all in the first quarter – but Gifford made five free throws and Kaitlin Wood made four more to keep the Lady Patriots ahead by seven points at halftime.
“This year, our team shoots very well from the foul line,” Magliocca said. “Of course, Kaitlin Wood’s a great foul shooter, so is Katie Herba, and Rachel Orapello shoots about 87 percent from the foul line.”
Orapello, Herba – who scored 10 points – and Gifford combined for nine points in the third quarter, helping the Lady Patriots open a 13-point lead.
Then, the long fourth quarter began.
“It was nerve wracking,” Gifford said. “We all knew we had to pull it down a lot. Once we all came together, we said if we slowed it down and took our time, we’d get the win.”
Then the quarter got longer when Wood suffered an injury to her shoulder and didn’t return. Magliocca said she had some range of motion in her shoulder, but that it would be checked on today.
“She’s a great basketball player and a great player for our program,” he said. “Hopefully she’s with us for the long haul.”
But without Wood on the floor, the Lady Bills pressed Broadalbin-Perth into mistakes and they climbed back into the game as Lexi Swatt made two quick baskets to pull Johnstown to within nine points.
“I thought our kids worked extremely hard on defense all night,” Derwin said. “We got ourselves in a bind where we had to press. It’s not something we can do and sustain all game and we still almost pushed ourselves over the top. It’s not that they didn’t come to work or come to play; we’ve just got to make shots. I’m not talking about jump shots. I’m talking about around the basket stuff.”
Then with 46.3 seconds left and Johnstown trailing by eight points, she knocked down the first of two 3-pointers. She hit another with 26.4 seconds left to pull Johnstown to within one. Swatt scored a team-high 13 points.
“She’s capable,” Derwin said. “She’s a streaky shooter. She found it and got us back in there, but a made layup or two, it wouldn’t have gone like that.”
Broadalbin-Perth 39, Johnstown 37
Johnstown3 9 5 20 – 37
Broadalbin-Perth10 9 11 9 – 39
O’Rourke 2-0-4, Heroth 1-2-4, Swatt 4-3-13, Cirillo 2-3-7, Cerasuolo 3-3-9. Totals: 12-11-37.
Magliocca 2-0-4, Herba 4-2-10, Dickson 1-0-2, Wood 0-4-4, Gifford, 4-6-14, Orapello 1-1-3, Traver 0-2-2. Totals: 12-15-39.
3-point goals: Johnstown 2 (Swatt).