Assistant Sports Editor
SCHAGHTICOKE, N.Y. -- Frankie Pearson ripped down a defensive rebound, spun toward the right sideline and spied an outlet down the court.
What she saw was Rachel Pine behind the Duanesburg defense, wide open on what amounted to the basketball equivalent of a Go-route. Pearson's heave hit her in stride, inside Hoosick Falls' own foul line, where Pine turned for a layup that turned into a three-point play.
"Good thing I have an older brother who's a quarterback, right?" said Pine, referring to her brother Billy, the signal-caller for the Panthers' 2012 state championship team. "I was gone, I went deep."
With 1 minute 33 seconds left in Friday night's Class C girls basketball sectional quarterfinal, the layup gave the fourth-seeded Panthers an 11-point lead -- crucial insurance -- as they went on to a 61-52 victory against the No. 5 Eagles.
The result sends Hoosick Falls (14-6) to a third showdown against top-seeded, defending state champion Hoosic Valley in the semifinals on Tuesday in Cohoes. The pair also met at the same stage last season, after the 13th-seeded Panthers scored high-profile upsets.
And while they led for most of the game, it took a late third-quarter charge for the Panthers to get past Duanesburg (14-6).
"We never give up, we're a spunky team," said Pine, a sophomore, who scored a game-high 19 points.
Down 38-34 halfway through the quarter, the Panthers headed into the final stanza on a 12-0 run, the final nine points of which came in the last 90 seconds. Re-applying their full-court press, Pine scored back-to-back layups off steals with less than a minute to go that gave Hoosick a 43-38 lead.
"At the end of the third quarter there they had two of their key players on the bench and I knew that was the time to go right at them," said Hoosick coach Eamonn DeGraaf.
Then, after a Duanesburg turnover with 16.9 seconds left in the quarter, Pine found Pearson (17 points) on the right side for a buzzer-beating 3-pointer -- her second of the game -- to push the lead to eight.
"Clutch, she was clutch. I always look for her -- she was spot on today," Pine said.
Hoosick Falls eighth-grader Kelly Pine notched her first playoff double-double against the Eagles' tall front line, finishing with 12 points and 13 rebounds in only her second postseason game.
"She seemed to be in the right place at the right time a few times on the offensive end a couple times," DeGraaf said. "She did a nice job boxing out, keeping her girl away from the rim where she could get the rebound or allow somebody else to come in and get it.
"She's playing great for an eighth-grader, I couldn't ask for any more out of her."
The Panthers held the Eagles' leading trio of Stephanie Rice (19 points), Madeline Kenyon (17 points) and Rachel Gamache to near their season average, forcing the rest of the lineup to beat them.
"[Rice, Kenyon and Gamache] came into the game averaging 42 points a game between the three of them," DeGraaf said. "The whole rest of the team only averaged seven points ... so whoever was guarding the other two sagged off [their mark]."
"We didn't necessarily stop them but we contained them," DeGraaf said.