High school basketball: Hammond girls sprint into finals chasing repeat state title

Mar. 17—TROY — Hammond girls basketball coach Alyssa Crosby believed that her team had the opportunity for a fast start in Saturday's state Class D semifinal game against Section 4 Champion Cherry Valley-Springfield at Hudson Valley Community College.

The Red Devils (21-3) concurred and wasted no time taking control of the game and muting the effects of the Patriots' formidable overall size.

Ava Howie converted a layup off the opening tip from Landree Kenyon, the Red Devils tallied a flurry of points off their fullcourt press and raced out to a 20-point first quarter lead en route to posting a 62-37 victory. Hammond advanced into Sunday's state championship game against Section 2 champion Northville, which downed Section 6 champion Elba 42-34.

The Red Devils will be looking for a second straight title and the fourth state girls basketball championship in school history. Northville (21-3) prevailed behind a 14-point jump-shooting barrage by Hailey Monroe in the fourth quarter.

Howie scored 13 points in the first quarter against Cherry Valley-Springfield (20-4) and went on to tally a game-high 32 points on 12-for-18 shooting with three 3-pointers and six rebounds. Kenyon scored nine points in the first quarter and posted a 22-point, 10-rebound double-double with four steals and six blocks.

"We really felt that we could use our quickness against them and we were able to get out and run. I think the big plus for us was playing in such a strong league. Every game was tough and we were ready," Crosby said.

"We went back to our 2-3 zone tonight but we will have to make some adjustments against Northville's outside shooting. It was nice that we got to watch them play for a while tonight."

Another plus for the Devils was sophomore guard Mia Tulley's ability to fuel the uptempo pace, which allowed the Devils to exploit their superior strength and athletic ability and the ability to get to the rim in transition and in their halfcourt sets.

"Mia has become a quiet leader, she just goes after everything. Early in the season she got in foul trouble a lot but now she sets an example for all of the girls, she never stops," Crosby said.

"And she is playing on a sore ankle but you would never know it."

Tulley grabbed six rebounds and scored two points along with Makia Green, Issy Woodcock who received her team's state semifinals sportsmanship award, and Raylee Downs. Addy Graveline grabbed seven rebounds with four steals.

"We played great today and they just couldn't stop us. Mia Tully really sparked us again." Woodcock said.

"Now we have one more game. We are ready."

Morgan Huff buried three 3-pointers, leading the Patriots with 11 points and Daphnee West tallied eight points with 13 rebounds. Brin Whitman went 4-for-4 from the foul line scoring six points and McKenzie McGovern and Mia Dubbens each finished with five points. The Patriots scored 19 points in the fourth quarter.