However, the Lady Dragons could not find a solution for the attack of top-seeded Averill Park Warriors.
The four-time defending Class A champions used a high-pressure defense and dominated the boards to deal fifth-seeded Gloversville a 73-43 loss to advance the Friday’s Section II Class A championship game at Hudson Valley Community College against No. 2 Amsterdam.
“They are a solid team that plays in a super competitive league,” Gloversville coach Molly D’Arcy said. “We thought we were prepared for them but I guess nothing really prepares you just like the game does. Nobody wants to end their season at this point.”
The Lady Dragons stayed close early in the game, as Harmony Philo put the first two Gloversville baskets in the book but Averill Park often limited the Lady Dragons to one shot at the basket as Kelsey and Mallory Wood took control under the basket to help the Lady Warriors get out to a 16-6 first-quarter advantage.
Gloversville cut the lead to six, 16-10, on a basket and a pair of free throws from Kendra Lavery early in the second quarter before Averill Park went on a 19-0 run to take the score to 35-13 before Alex Benfatti was fouled on a 3-point attempt and converted all three free throws to put the score at 35-16.
The Lady Warriors added a 3-pointer from Emmalee Morgan and a free throw from Mallory Wood to take a 39-16 lead into the locker room at the break.
Averill Park’s defense continued to shut down the Gloversville shooters in the third quarter and outscore the Lady Dragons 21-13 to carry a 60-29 advantage into the final period.
Gloversville closed out the game outscoring the Lady Warriors in the final eight minutes to put the final score at 73-43.
“These girls faced some challenges at the beginning of the year with the loss of Jasmine [Gonzalez] and then four losses right off the bat,” coach D’Arcy said. “They didn’t let that define the rest of the season. This one game can’t put a stink on what we have accomplished.”
Philo hit for 14 of her team-high 18 points in the second half to lead Gloversville, while Benfatti and Lavery and eight points apiece and Kerri Hauser finished with six and Gabby Langley chipped in with three.
Stephanie Jankovic led Averill Park with 29 points, including a 3-pointer with 1:58 left in the game to reach the 1,000-point milestone. Morgan finished with 14 points, while Kelsey Wood pulled down 19 rebounds to go with 12 points.
Gloversville finishes the season with a 17-6 overall record that included a 14-game win streak and winning 17 of their last 19 games.
“We had six seniors and we are certainly going to miss them next year,” coach D’Arcy said. “They have worked hard on their game. It has been a pleasure to coach them the last four years. There are a lot of emotions tonight.”
Gloversville graduates senior starters Kerri Hauser, Alex Benfatti and Gabby Langley along with Gabby Brown, Jasmine Gonzalez, who sat out the season with an injury, and Sheyenne Beach.
Averill Park 73, Gloversville 43
Gloversville 6 10 13 14 — 43
Averill Park 16 23 21 13 — 73
Benfatti 2-4-8, Hauser 3-0-6, Langley 1-1-3, Lavery 1-5-8, Philo 7-2-18. Totals: 14-12-43.
Jankovic 10-5-29, Kelley 2-1-5, Morgan 6-1-14, A. Wood 2-1-5, K. Wood 6-0-12, M. Wood 3-2-8. Totals: 29-10-73.
3-point goals: Gloversville 3 (Harmony Philo 2, Kendra Lavery); Averill Park 5 (Stephanie Jankovic 4, Emmalee Morgan).