HOOSICK, N.Y. -- When the going got tough at the beginning of the second half of the Hoosier Holiday Tournament, the Hoosick Falls Central School girls basketball team knew who to turn to.
Frankie Pearson and Rachel Pine combined to score 17 of the Panthers' 19 third quarter points en route to a 49-37 tournament championship victory over Catskill on Sunday night.
"We knew that if we stayed in the press and were patient, they would start making mistakes," said Hoosick Falls coach Eamonn DeGraaf, whose team has won its past five in a row after losing two straight to start the year. "We took advantage of those mistakes. It was a great overall effort."
Down a point three minutes into the second half, Pearson hit back-to-back shots to give Hoosick Falls (5-2) the lead. After Catskill's Kelly Meyer hit a shot to make it 27-26, Pine splashed her only three of the night from the wing to lengthen the Panther lead to four.
On the next trip, Pine corraled a loose ball and drove to the hoop to make it 32-26, forcing Catskill (4-5) coach Chris Quinn to take a timeout. Pine, who earned all-tournament team honors, scored all 11 of her points in the third quarter.
"Rachel did a good job of pushing the tempo, making good shots and getting to the foul line," DeGraaf said.
Pearson led all scorers with 22 points and nine rebounds, her third straight game scoring at least 20 points and the fourth game this season. The senior forward was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
"Frankie draws a lot of attention," DeGraaf said. "She's strong inside and powers through a lot of people to get to the hoop."
Up 11 heading into the fourth, Hoosick's defense met the challenge, holding Catskill scoreless until Meyer, the Cats' leading scorer with 10, hit a free-throw with 2:06 left. But by that point, the Panthers were cruising and up 20.
Hoosick Falls started the night fast, beginning the game on an 11-0 run, forcing Catskill to make mistakes with their zone press. The press was successful throughout the game as the Panthers had 16 steals.
"We're still learning our system," said Quinn in his first season leading the Cats. "They're starting to get it but when we don't it doesn't go too well."
But Catskill, who came back to force overtime after being down 19 in last year's championship game, scored the first nine of the second quarter to tie the game and were only down two, 21-19, at the break.
"We went seven minutes between the first and second quarters without scoring," DeGraaf said. "It seemed like it took forever to get a basket."