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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 17, 2011

On to the final four
Lady Birds beat Yellowjackets, extend season with another win

By Jordan J. Michael

TROY –– The Voorheesville girls’ basketball team earned a spot in the Class C state semi-finals with another win last Saturday, but this one didn’t come with any extra style points.

The Lady Birds and Madrid-Waddington of Section X played a dreadful first half in the regional finals at Hudson Valley Community College. Both teams combined to shoot 28 percent from the field, and the Yellowjackets turned the ball over 22 times.

Voorheesville had 14 steals and took an 18-to-13 lead into halftime. Saturday’s game was an exact opposite of the Birds’ last victory, a fast-paced nail-biter against Cambridge.

“We played at their speed,” said sophomore Anna Feller after Saturday’s game. She led Voorheesville with 12 points. “We tried to pick up the pace, but it’s hard to do what we want when everything is so slow.”

Blackbird Head Coach Bob Baron thought that his team took “too many” jump shots in the first half. Voorheesville launched 13 three-pointers, making one, and made two of 21 in the entire game.

“We didn’t have focus in the first half,” Baron said, mentioning that six of his players took a college entrance exam before the game. “I told them to remove the distractions and go back to their game.”

Junior Melissa Bogart said that her team “just needed to start running.” That’s what Voorheesville did in the third quarter, going up by eight points after Bogart sank a three-pointer.

Junior Sarah Madden, who scored 11 points, put the Blackbirds ahead by 10 points, 25 to 15, while Madrid-Waddington continued to struggle on offense. Voorheesville started to run even more, ending the third quarter with a 33-to-17 lead.

The Birds played tough one-on-one defense, leaving the Yellowjackets frustrated. A come back seemed out of the question in the fourth quarter, but the mood changed when Voorheesville’s Jane Pritchard went down with an ankle injury.

Pritchard, a senior, wanted to go back into the game, but Baron had other ideas. “I thought she would be OK,” said Baron. “She stepped up to go in and I said, ‘How about next week?’”

After Pritchard limped off the court, Yellowjacket Bridgett Beldock hit two consecutive three-pointers to get Madrid-Waddington within eight points at 33 to 25. However, Voorheesville held strong, winning, 45 to 31.

“We’re happy to go to states,” Bogart said. “I think we’ll have a good chance.”

The Blackbirds’ reward for winning its region is a date with Gananda this Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College at 2:15 p.m. for the state semi-finals. Gananda, from Section V, is ranked number-one in Class C at 23-0.

Voorheesville won state titles in 1998 and 2002, and has won 10 sectional championships since 1995. The team once won eight sectional titles in a row from 1995 to 2002. Baron started coaching in 2007 after the Blackbirds had gone through a few rough seasons.

Feller and Bogart both agreed that the competition at states would be much greater than what Madrid-Waddington brought to the court last Saturday.

“We have to practice hard and mentally prepare,” said Feller, who went to states with Voorheesville’s volleyball team last fall. “We really need to know what we’re doing on offense. Go with full effort because every play counts.”

“It’ll be a lot harder to win,” Bogart said. “But, we can do it.”

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