Sometimes you just run into a better team.
That was the case for the New York Mills girls basketball team during Saturday evening’s Class D Regional Final against Heuvelton.
The Bulldogs dominated from the opening tip en route to a 63-48 victory over the Section 3 champion Marauders at Whitesboro High School. Heuvelton, the No. 1 ranked team in the state, advanced to the Class D Final Four where they’ll face Eldred (Section 9) at 10:45 Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College.
The Bulldogs (26-0) were led by junior forward Paige McCormick, who scored 23 points controlled the glass. Madison McCormick scored 15 points and Nathalie Barr had 10 for Heuvelton. Megan Crist led New York Mills (17-8) with 18 points and fellow senior Cassidy Albright scored 16 in her final high school game.
“They are No. 1 in the state for a reason,” New York Mills head coach Mike Keating said. “They put a lot of pressure on us and they built a huge lead. In the second half, our kids fought back, but it was too much. They deserve it, but our kids kept playing hard and had a great season.”
The Bulldogs pressure on the ball made the Marauders uncomfortable early and forced numerous turnovers and breakout baskets. Heuvelton led by 13 after the first quarter and 25 at halftime.
In the second half, the Marauders displayed the tenacity and heart that won them the Section III crown, despite being the No. 7 seed. Led by Crist, who scored 11 points in the third quarter, the Marauders went on a 13-0 run to end the third quarter to pull within 51-35.
A bucket by Albright early in the fourth pulled the Marauders to within 53-38, but the Bulldogs answered with a 6-0 run on hoops by Alexandra Steele, Paige McCormick and Madison McCormick to reestablish complete control.
“That’s what killed us,” Crist said of getting down early. “If we got off to a better start it would’ve been much closer. We didn’t want to go out with a blowout loss and we made a little bit of a run. It goes to show we don’t give up.”
Crist said she will remember all the little things and time spent with teammates.
“I’ll miss practice the most,” Crist said. “They are a ball. The comraderie, bus rides and everything we went through. We are a family.”
For a teary-eyed Albright, her final season wearing a Marauders jersey was a special one.
“It’s something I’ll remember forever,” Albright said. “Winning sectionals was awesome. I don’t think a lot of people thought that was going to happen. To pass 1,000 points was also awesome and I have to thank my teammates, family and friends for supporting me. I would never be the player I am without them.”
Heuvelton 63, New York Mills 48
Heuvelton 18 22 11 12–63
NY Mills 5 10 20 13–48
Heuvelton (26-0): Paige McCormick 9-5 23; Madison McCormick 7-0 15; Nathalie Barr 4-0 10; Alexandra Steele 4-0 8; Kristi Donnelly 4-0 8; Jaelin Calkins 1-0 2. Totals: 27-5-63. 3-Pointers: 4 (Barr 2, M. McCormick, Donnelly).
NY Mills (17-8): Megan Crist 6-3 18; Cassidy Albright 4-7 16; Abbey Copperwheat 3-2 8; Caitlyn Mackay 2-0 4; Makenzie Stevens 1-0 2. Totals: 16-12 48. 3-Pointers: 4 (Crist 3, Albright).