Marauders Win First Title Since 2006

Posted on Feb 28 2016 - 8:15pm by Nick Sardina
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SYRACUSE – After squandering a four-point lead in the final 20 seconds of their Section III Class D final, New York Mills Mike Keating still had ultimate trust that his team would play its best in overtime.

The Marauders refused to hang their heads and proved Keating right, outscoring Copenhagen 14-5 in the four-minute overtime period for a 54-45 victory Saturday at SRC Arena for its first title since 2006. The Marauders advance to play Heuvelton in a regional final next Saturday at Whitesboro High School.

“They decided to take over in overtime,” said Keating, now in his third season. “We told them before overtime that we have eight seniors and you guys have to play hard or it’s over. I also told them that you’re going to win the game. I have unbelievable confidence in our kids. … It’s an unbelievable feeling to win.”

NY Mills celebrate their overtime win against Copenhagen in the Sec. 3 Class D finals at SRC Arena in Syracuse on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 .(Photo by JOHN HAEGER)

NY Mills celebrate their overtime win against Copenhagen in the Sec. 3 Class D finals at SRC Arena in Syracuse on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016. (Photo by JOHN HAEGER)


Tournament Most Valuable Player, Cassidy Albright, despite sitting over eight minutes in the second half after picking up her fourth foul, led the Marauders with eight of her game-high 23 points in overtime. The senior star had little doubt the Marauders would play well in overtime.

“Our year-long goal has been to play through it,” Albright said. “I’m so proud of my team. It’s awesome and amazing to win in my last year.”

Fellow seniors Megan Crist and Caitlyn Mackay also came up big for NY Mills. Crist, who joined Albright on the All-Tournament team, scored 13 points, while Mackay added 11. Copenhagen’s Maci Spaulding scored 22 points and forced overtime by hitting two 3-pointers in the final 19.7 of regulation.

“We never gave up,” said Crist. “We play the entire game. This is the strongest team and has the most heart. That’s why we won the game. It’s the first sectional championship in any sport for me and it’s amazing.”

Caitlyn Mackay makes a reverse layin during Sunday's Class D final at SRC Arena. Photo by John Haeger

Caitlyn Mackay makes a reverse layin during Sunday’s Class D final at SRC Arena. (Photo by John Haeger)


The Marauders (17-7) punished Copenhagen inside all game, which led to a huge disparity at the free throw line.

“That was our game plan,” Mackay said. “We were going to try to get it inside and draw fouls.”

While it’s one thing to draw fouls, it’s another to convert. Mills ability to make their free throws was a deciding factor in the game. The Marauders outscored Copenhagen 21-4 from the line and while Copenhagen converted just 4 of 13, Mills made 70 percent for the game, including 8 of 12 in overtime.

“It was a good day to make our free throws,” Mackay said. “Without them the game could have been a completely different story.”

The Marauders built an early 12-1 lead and led by nine after the first quarter as Copenhagen turned the ball over eight times in the opening eight minutes. Copenhagen (17-7) pulled to within five points midway through the second quarter, but Mackay scored three points and Shana Lavier converted from in close to help give the Marauders a 22-13 lead at the break.

Spaulding quickly pulled the Golden Knights to within seven, then Albright picked up her fourth foul with 7:08 remaining in the third.

“That was torture, Albright said of sitting out until 6:30 remained in the fourth. “That was hard, but I knew my teammates would pick it up.”

Copenhagen continued its charge with Albright on the bench. Kylie Guyette hit a three-pointer and Katie Best’s second of two layins tied the game at 22.

Mackay and Crist helped bridge the gap to Albright’s return and hit key shots to help the Marauders grab a 29-25 lead after the third.



Abbey Fitzgerald drives to the hoop during Sunday’s Class D final.  (Photo by John Haeger)


After Copenhagen’s Kylie Guyette tied the game at 29 with 5:02 remaining in the fourth, Albright and Crist combined for nine points to help the Marauders extend to a 38-34 lead.

In the final minute, the Marauders milked the clock, but didn’t convert on the offensive end, and then Spaulding hit a pull-up 3-pointer to make it 38-37 with 19.7 remaining. The Golden Knights fouled Albright with 12.8 remaining and the senior calmly hit both foul shots, but Spaulding, a junior, took an inbounds pass on right baseline and swished the tying three-pointer with nine seconds remaining.

As unlikely as it seemed a few seconds prior, Copenhagen then had a chance to win after Albright was called for a carry with five seconds remaining. However, the Marauders defense stepped up and trapped Spaulding in the corner and forced a turnover with 1.2 remaining and after Albright’s desperation 3-pointer banked long, the title would be won in overtime.

In overtime, the Marauders seized control early as the seniors took over. Albright scored on a layin and Mackay’s lefty post bucket gave Mills the lead for good with just under three minutes remaining. Crist then added a conventional three-point play to give the Marauders a five-point lead at 47-42 and the Marauders, behind six free throws from Albright and one from Mackay, slowly put the game away.

“Megan and Cassidy lost to Oriskany in the final when they were freshman,” Keating said. “So some of these kids have been working for this for a couple of years, so I needed to work extra hard to help them do it.”

While her career isn’t over and there are bigger goals to accomplish, the win was especially satisfying for Albright.

“It’s just awesome,” Albright said. “It’s really a special feeling.”

New York Mills 54, Copenhagen 45
Copenhagen (17-7):
Maci Spaulding 8-2 22; Laura Graves 0-1 1; Kylie Guyette 5-0 11; Katie Best 4-1 9; Lexie Greene 1-0 2. Totals: 18-4-45. 3-Pointers: 5 (Spaulding 4, Guyette).
NY Mills (17-7): Cassidy Albright 7-9 23; Megan Crist 4-4 13; Caitlyn Mackay 3-5 11; Makenzie Stevens 1-2 4; Shana Lavier 1-0 2; Abbey Copperwheat 0-1 1. Totals: 16-21 54. 3-Pointers: 1 (Crist).

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The Marauders pose with the Section III Champions banner. (Photo by John Haeger)