Fourth quarter surge propels Panthers
BENNINGTON — It took a little while for the Hoosick Falls girls basketball team to realize it could hang with the Division I Mount Anthony Patriots.
Once they did, things clicked and the Panthers took over.
Hoosick Falls outscored Mount Anthony 29-16 in the fourth quarter en route to a 64-56 victory at Kates Gym on Monday night.
"After halftime, we realized we can play with MAU," said Hoosick Falls coach Eamonn DeGraaf. "We were down five in what I thought was one of our worst halves of the year, but we felt comfortable. I told them we can't come out and play scared, they're a good team, we'll see teams down the road as good."
Down 40-35 at the end of three quarters, junior Kelly Pine tied the game at 40-40 with a three about 90 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Pine led all scorers with 26 points, including four 3-pointers, three of them in the third quarter.
"On the first one, I was like, 'Ooh, I made it," Pine said. "Then [DeGraaf] told me to keep shooting it."
MAU retook the lead on the next possession, and Hoosick sophomore Eliza Whitman buried a three with 6:05 to go to give the Panthers their first lead at 43-42.
Whitman hit a trio of 3-pointers for nine points.
"Eliza's a good offensive player and coming into the season, we knew she'd be a good outside shooter," DeGraaf said. "The past couple games, she's knocked them down when we needed them the most. She needs to realize she can hit big shots in big moments."
A pair of baskets, one from Megan Flynn and the other from Lizza Ryan, gave Hoosick a 48-44 lead, but Mount Anthony's Kathryn Frasier hit 1-of-2 from the line and after the miss, she got her own rebound and scored on a layup to pull the Patriots back to 48-47.
On the next possession, Madison Little hit a three from the wing and with a fist pump, gave MAU a 50-48 lead with 2:49 to go.
Little led the way for Mount Anthony with 24 points, including four 3-pointers. She was the only player for the Patriots in double figures, as Anna Iannotti was next with eight and Frasier added seven.
"We used to tire teams out, now we're getting tired out," said MAU coach Brian Harrington. "On a game to game basis, we're not conditioned enough to play 32 minutes. We work on it when we can, but the shooting goes when you're tired. We had a couple kids that weren't willing to shoot the ball."
Hoosick tied the game again at 50-50 on a Ryan free throw and off a miss, Flynn hit a layup to make it 52-50. Hoosick was 18-of-31 overall from the line, while Mount Anthony was 6-of-14.
Little hit another three with two minutes to go to give MAU a 53-52 lead, but Whitman came back again with another huge triple to give Hoosick Falls a 55-53 advantage, one they wouldn't relinquish.
At that point, MAU started to foul and Pine made all eight free throws in the fourth quarter. Overall, she was 10-of-12 from the line.
"It was huge for her to get to the line and knock down her foul shots. She didn't do well from there the other night, so this is a huge confidence boost for the rest of the season," DeGraaf said.
"I was confident from the line, [DeGraaf] said to take a deep breath and knock them down," Pine said.
Little hit yet another three with 1:06 to go to get MAU close at 57-56, but Ryan hit 3-of-4 in the final minute from the stripe as well.
"We missed a few free throws and they got rebounds and on a couple they scored," said Harrington. "We can't do that in a close game."
MAU has nearly a week off until traveling to play Rice on Saturday, while Hoosick Falls continues its campaign against Mechanicville on Wednesday.
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