LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. — The Little Falls Mounties let one double-digit lead get away in the first half Monday. They would not surrender a second.
The Mounties opened the third quarter with a 21-4 run at home and welcomed the Cooperstown Hawkeyes to Division II of the Center State Conference with a 70-55 victory in a rematch of Section III’s Class C-1 finalists from last season.
“We’ve been looking forward to this game since before the season even started,” said Gen Schoff, a two-time all-state selection, who led Little Falls with a career-high 31 points and 12 rebounds. “We knew we needed to perform at our best and I think we did that.”
Little Falls had led by as many as eight points in the first quarter and 11 in the second before Cooperstown made a 16-3 run and took the lead late in the first half. The Mounties took the lead back in the final minute of the half when Kelli Shepardson put back a rebound for a basket then Schoff did the same; Schoff added a free throw to complete a three-point play and put Little Falls up 33-32. Schoff had rebounded Shepardson’s miss from the line as she, too, had a chance for a three-point play.
When play resumed, Little Falls scored the first eight points of the second half. A short jumper by Hawkeye Liz Millea was followed by eight more Little Falls points. Two free throws by Shepardson capped the Mounties run and gave them their largest lead at 54-36 with one minute remaining in the third quarter.
“We weren’t driving to the basket enough (during the second quarter),” Schoff said. “We started out doing that and we kind of drifted away from it. We got back to doing it in the second half.”
Millea had the final basket of the third quarter and Cooperstown scored the first seven points of the fourth to get back within nine points. The Hawkeyes would get no closer.
The Mounties, who dress only seven varsity players, battled foul trouble throughout the game and had two players foul out in the fourth quarter.
“It was a little nerve-wracking getting into as much foul trouble as we did,” Little Falls coach Pam Munger said, “to get to the end of the game and look at the bench and both of theses players have fouled out and you still have kids on the floor with four fouls, too.”
Shepardson scored 20 points and added seven rebounds and three assists for Little Falls. Hannah Becker had nine points, seven steals and two blocked shots and Cheyenne Rivenburg grabbed eight rebounds.
Millea led Cooperstown with 28 points, two more than she scored in the former Redskins’ 50-45 win at SRC Arena in the Feb. 23 sectional title game. She hit a free throw for the first point of the game Monday but the Hawkeyes went almost three minutes without a field goal before reserve Lucy Ford checked into the game and scored the the team’s next points.
Page 2 of 2 - Ford and Maggie Hall each scored eight points for Cooperstown.
Little Falls led 16-8 late in the first quarter and 24-13 before the Hawkeyes made their run in the second quarter.
The junior varsity Mounties were also victorious Monday when they scored the final six points of the game and won 47-42.
Little Falls is on the road for its next game Wednesday against Frankfort-Schuyler. Cooperstown plays at West Canada Valley Thursday.
LITTLE FALLS 70, COOPERSTOWN 55
COOPERSTOWN (1-2, 0-1 CSC-II) — Christina Noto 1 2-2 4; Liz Millea 10 8-14 28; S.J. Morosko 0 0-2 0; Mallory Arthurs 0 1-2 1; Jenn Flynn 2 0-0 4; Maggie Hall 3 1-2 8; Lucy Ford 3 2-5 8; Ciarra McGoldrick 1 0-0 2. Totals: 20 14-27 55.
LITTLE FALLS (2-0, 1-0 CSC-II) — Kelli Shepardson 6 7-10 20; Hannah Becker 3 2-4 9; Gen Schoff 11 9-12 31; Lauren Bennett 1 0-0 2; Cheyenne Rivenburg 0 0-0 0; Sarah Bruins 1 0-0 2; Amy Hart 3 0-0 6. Totals: 25 18-26 70.
Cooperstown 13 19 6 17 — 55
Little Falls 19 14 21 16 — 70
Three-pointers — Cooperstown 1 (Hall 1); Little Falls (Becker 1, Shepardson 1). JV — Little Falls 47, Cooperstown 42.