FORT PLAIN, N.Y. — The Fort Plain Hilltoppers answered each Herkimer run until the last one and the Magicians earned a 67-57 victory Saturday in the final game of the Section II/Section III Challenge.
Down 10 points after the opening period, Fort Plain rallied and had a chance to tie the score at the foul line before halftime. Herkimer opened an 18-point lead with a big run at the start of the second half but the Hilltoppers (1-2) got back within four before the end of the third quarter. The game stayed close in the fourth quarter until Hannah DeLude sparked a decisive run by the Magicians (2-1).
“When we played at our pace we were able to do good things,” Herkimer coach Paul Valasek said. “We pushed the ball and got some easy looks.”
Four straight free throws by Abby Boyer had Fort Plain within five points at 56-51 with 3:12 left to play. DeLude’s three-pointer from just to the right of the top of the key started a 10-2 run that all but assured the visitors of victory.
Another DeLude three-pointer made the score 62-53. DeLude then stole the inbounding pass and passed to a teammate for the basket that put the margin back in double digits.
One free throw by Max Grogan and two by Lindsey Parese put Herkimer up by 13 points in the final minute.
DeLude scored 10 of her 17 points in the fourth quarter.
Herkimer had led 29-20 with one minute left in the first half before Haley Kilmartin hit back-to-back three-pointers. The Hilltoppers forced a turnover and Kilmartin was fouled on another three-point try with six-10ths of a second on the clock. Kilmartin missed all three shots and Herkimer took a two-point lead to the locker room at halftime.
Fort Plain went without a field goal for 5 1/2 minutes at the start of the second half while Herkimer made an 18-2 run. Another Kilmartin three-pointer ended the run and started a 14-0 streak for Fort Plain.
“Fort Plain kept hitting big shots,” Valasek said.
Kilmartin scored a game-high 24 points while Boyer had 23. After missing her first foul shot, Boyer hit 11 in a row.
Maxine Grogan led Herkimer with 18 points and added five rebounds and five assists. DeLude had five assists and three steals and McKenzie Pine chipped in with 11 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. Chelsea Jory scored 10 points.
Both teams play Wednesday, Fort Plain at Canajoharie and Herkimer at home against Dolgeville.
HERKIMER 67, FORT PLAIN 57
HERKIMER (2-1) — Hannah DeLude 7 0-2 17; Maxine Grogan 5 8-11 18; Brianna Parks 2 0-0 4; McKenzie Pine 5 1-3 11; Taylor Chilluffo 1 0-0 2; Lindsey Pareses 1 1-2 3; Abbie Frappier 0 0-0 0; Nicole Zaleski 0 0-0 0; Chelsea Jory 5 0-0 10; Allison Travis 1 0-1 2. Totals: 27 10-19 67.
FORT PLAIN (1-2) — Cheyenne Munson 1 0-0 3; Kendra Trembley 1 0-0 2; Soren Shirley 0 0-0 0; Bri Florian 2 1-5 5; Haley Kilmartin 6 7-13 24; Abby Boyer 6 11-12 23. Totals: 16 19-30 57.
Page 2 of 2 - Herkimer 17 12 20 18 — 67
Fort Plain 7 20 16 14 — 57
Three-pointers — Herkimer 3 (DeLude 3); Fort Plain 6 (Kilmartin 5, Munson 1).