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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 1, 2012

Blackbirds back to defend Class C, can they peck the first seed?

VOORHEESVILLE –– The Blackbirds are back.

After winning Class C last season, the Voorheesville girls’ basketball team will try to defend its title this Friday night against Hoosic Valley.

On Tuesday, the Birds beat Maple Hill, 59 to 49, in the semifinals at Stillwater. Last Friday, Voorheesville survived an overtime thriller, 45 to 42, against Duanesburg in the quarterfinals on its home floor.

Voorheesville (16-5) is the number-two seed and Hoosic Valley (20-1) is seeded first. The Birds have a strong inside game with Anna Feller, Jennifer Cillis, and Sarah Madden. The Indians pose a threat from three-point range, leading Section II in makes as a team.

Hoosic Valley drained 11 three-pointers in a 62-to-28 win over Hoosick Falls in the semifinals on Tuesday.

“These two teams ended up where they should have,” said Voorheesville Head Coach Bob Baron. The Blackbirds and Indians met in the Class C finals in 2009, with Hoosic Valley winning by two points.

Walter Dorman coaches the Indians. The teams this year are different, but the coaches are the same as in the 2009 face-off. “You have to beat the team, not the coach,” Baron said.

Baron told The Enterprise that Hoosic Valley runs a one-on-one defense, which Voorheesville typically plays well against. Maple Hill also used a one-on-one defense, but the Birds’ size was too much.

“Our size can give smaller teams some issues,” said Baron. Cillis, Feller, and Madden combined for 47 points against Maple Hill. Baron said that seniors Emily Blow and Jillian Clark know when and where to find teammates under the basket.

“Everyone understands their roles,” said Baron of his players. “They’re good in space and they share the ball. They really enjoy playing.”

Last Friday, Blow made an amazing steal with just seconds remaining in overtime against Duanesburg to seal the win. Stephanie Rice pushed Blow over from behind in frustration after getting the ball stolen, but Blow and Voorheesville were the ones leaving happy.

“It was an insane game,” Blow said last Friday. “We put 100 percent of ourselves into this game.”

Voorheesville has won 10 sectional titles in the past 17 years –– 1995 to 2002, 2004, and 2011. It has six regional titles in the last 16 years –– 1996 to 1998, 2001, 2002, and 2011. Also, the Birds were state champions in 1998 and 2002 under the direction of Jack Adams.

Coach Baron took over the team in 2007-08 after what he says were some “down years.”

However, the statistics show that Voorheesville is used to playing at this time of year.

“We work very hard and have good youth programs,” Baron said. “I think kids see the success of the varsity team and want to be a part of it.”

The Blackbirds look forward to playing in the finals.

“We take it one game at a time, but we also set goals,” said Baron. “We want to repeat.”

By Jordan J. Michael

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