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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 8, 2012

No repeat for Voorheesville Blackbirds as Hoosic Valley wins, 36-28

TROY –– A loss is always painful, especially when the losing team truly believed that it could win.

Voorheesville had a plan to contain Hoosic Valley’s offense in the Class C finals, and the plan was effective, but the Blackbirds couldn’t muster enough of its own offense to defend its championship.

“I’m really going to miss playing basketball with this team,” said a very sad Emily Blow after the 36-to-28 loss. “It’s so tough to lose a game like this because we were so prepared to win.”

It was a defensive game from the beginning at Hudson Valley Community College last Friday. Voorheesville and Hoosic Valley came out tight and nervous. The game was scoreless for about the first six minutes.

The Blackbirds remained scoreless for the entire first quarter, turning the ball over 11 times. The Indians scored only six points.

“It was an awful start,” said Voorheesville Head Coach Bob Baron. “We’ve never had a zero before.”

Despite the embarrassing first quarter, Voorheesville straightened out rather quickly, made some shots, and was tied with Hoosic Valley at halftime, 13 to 13.

“They (Hoosic Valley) wanted it just as much as we did, but not anymore than we did,” said Voorheesville’s Anna Feller.

The defense on both sides was just too good. Voorheesville couldn’t find room to open up its inside game and Hoosic Valley couldn’t make a three-pointer to save its life, only making four of 27. Each team knew the other’s strength and made sure to quash it.

Baron told The Enterprise that the shooting percentage –– 22 percent for the Indians and 29 percent for the Birds –– was so low because the effort was so high. “Everyone’s playing hard because they’re playing for everything,” Baron said. “The defensive ability increases in those situations.”

End game

Feller scored on a nice post move off an assist from Jillian Clark to give Voorheesville a 16-to-13 lead early in the third quarter. The Blackbirds went cold after that, and Sarah Madden, the Birds’ leading scorer, had to sit on the bench after receiving her fourth foul.

Senior Jennifer Cillis said that Voorheesville had thought about the joys of repeating, but still took the season one game at a time. Cillis wasn’t able to play during 2011’s run to the state semifinals because of a knee injury.

“We hoped to prove something again, but, you know, it just didn’t work out,” Cillis said. “We still put all of our effort into this; as much as you could ask for.”

Not having Madden in the game was a huge disadvantage for Voorheesville. Hoosic Valley was able to find more shots because Madden’s height wasn’t a distraction.

Cassidy Chapko was able to find more room, finishing with 14 points, six rebounds, and five steals for the Indians.

“As a coach, maybe I could have done something more,” Baron said. “We had a good game plan, and, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t change anything.”

Hoosic Valley was able to make more shots down the stretch. That is all.

“We didn’t follow up made shots with more made shots,” said Baron. “You only get points for putting the ball in the basket. That’s the way it goes, and it’s a shame.”

Voorheesville’s defense was very, very strong, “but our shooting, oh, our shooting,” said Blow, who missed all seven of her shots. “We weren’t loose enough. This was going to be our toughest test in the whole run…”

The Blackbirds had a tough sectional road, playing three teams that won their respective conferences –– Duanesburg (Western Athletic Conference), Maple Hill (Patroon Conference), and Hoosic Valley (Wasaren League).

“We played better ball as we went along,” Baron said. “I watched them mature as a team and grow together. We came up one game short, but we’ll be competitive every night.”

Voorheesville played many good teams and faced many challenges. The nine players have been playing with each other since fourth grade, said Cillis.

“I’m a year younger than the seniors, but I’ve grown up with them,” said Feller, who was named a Class C All Star with Cillis. “We have to re-knit the team now.”

Certainly, the loss to Hoosic Valley will be in the back of the Blackbirds’ minds come next season. Still, Voorheesville has won 10 sectional titles in the last 17 years.

“I’m so proud of my teammates,” Cillis said on Friday night. “This season took the cake over all the rest.”

By Jordan J. Michael

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