Defense rules, but Panthers fall
HOOSICK, N.Y. >> Offense is fun, but defense wins championships.
Hoosick Falls came in to Friday night's game against Hoosic Valley allowing a mere 37 points per game, while Valley is one of the stingiest defenses in Section II, allowing only 28.4 points per game.
Neither team got to 37 and it was Hoosic Valley who ended up on the right side as Danielle Stannard hit a jumper at the buzzer of a 31-30 victory.
"I told them [in the locker room] this shows we aren't invincible," said Hoosick Falls (12-2) coach Eamonn DeGraaf. "We have to come out and play four quarters, we cant turn it on and off. We need to do it on both ends, tonight we did on defense, but not offense."
With seven seconds left, down a point, Valley coach Larny Chapko worked out a play. As the seconds slowly ticked away, Hoosick Falls pressure had doubled the man at the top of the key, leaving Stannard alone, who shot and swished it just as the horn went.
"We wanted to match up up front with Lizza [Ryan], pressure the ball," DeGraaf said. "She did a good job doing that and they dumped it off, and we didn't get a recovery from the guard and wing and the girl hit a big shot."
Hoosick Falls trailed by 12-10 at the half after a defensive struggle in the opening 16 minutes — including the Panthers holding Hoosic Valley to one point and no field goals in the second quarter — but things started to pick up for the Panthers as Kelly Pine hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter as part of a 14-5 frame to give Hoosick Falls a 24-20 lead heading to the fourth.
After Pine, the game-high scorer with 17 points, hit 1-of-2 from the free throw line to make it 26-24 Falls, Pine was hit with her fourth foul and DeGraaf took her out of the game to avoid her getting the fifth foul.
Pine had averaged more than 13 points a game this season.
"In the last three games,Kelly has stepped up in the second half and that continued tonight but they hit a big shot when it mattered," DeGraaf said. "Kelly's a great player when she's firing on all cylinders."
Anna Wysocki then scored all four of her points in the final three minutes, a pair of free throws to make it 28-24 and a jumper to make it 30-24.
But with a minute left, Stannard, who scored 11 points to lead the Indians, banked in a three-pointer to pull within 30-27. On the next possession, Alicia Clum looked to hit a three, but the referees said she had a foot on the line, so it was 30-29 with time running out.
On the inbounds, Anna Hunter stole the ball and Chapko called timeout to set up the final possession.
Hoosick Falls travels to Cambridge on Tuesday as they continue their Wasaren League schedule.
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