The names and faces were the same but a loss in Friday’s opening round brought out a different Little Falls team at the St. Johnsville Youth Center’s Peggy Blais Memorial Tournament.
Little Falls, fielding a lineup with all five starters returning, battled back through the losers bracket over the weekend, winning five games by an average of 39 points, and defeated Herkimer 75-44 in the championship game Sunday evening.
Herkimer had been undefeated entering the championship game of the nine-team, double-elimination tournament for returning varsity players. Little Falls won four games in a span of seven hours and eliminated three other teams Sunday, including Poland, the other semifinalist from the winners bracket and a 56-41 victor Friday against the eventual champions.
Gen Schoff, the tournament’s most valuable player, scored 13 of her 17 points in the first half of the championship game as Little Falls raced out to a 36-17 lead. A 14-0 run early in the second half stretched the margin to 30 points as Little Falls completed its grueling championship run.
The Mounties had defeated Galway 67-35 in the third of Sunday’s seven games then came back and beat St. Johnsville (68-22), Poland (76-41) and Herkimer in succession. The compressed schedule accommodated a change that allowed the tournament to be completed in one weekend.
The tournament got off to a rocky start for Little Falls which led Poland by two points at halftime of Friday’s nightcap but saw Shiane Irwin scored 10 of her team-high 18 points in the second half as Poland snatched the five-point victory. Schoff led all scorers with 19 points in that game but her team was forced to repeatedly ward-off elimination over the next two days.
Little Falls had just one game Saturday and rolled to a 78-17 win against Adirondack. Sarah Bruins scored 17 points to lead four Mounties in double figures. Amy Hart added 15 points; Kelli Shepardson had 14 and Schoff scored 13.
Facing elimination throughout the day Sunday, the Mounties got 19 points from Schoff and 16 from Shepardson against Galway and 19 from each against St. Johnsville. Rylie Smith, a tournament all-star, rolled an ankle against Little Falls but still scored 11 of St. Johnsville’s 22 points.
Herkimer had already earned its place in the championship game with a 44-26 win against Poland — Hannah DeLude scored 16 points and Chelsea Jory had 12 for Herkimer while Kara Morrison led Poland with 12 — and left Little Falls and Poland to meet again in the second semifinal. Schoff and all-stars Shepardson and Hart, three of the four holdovers from a starting linup in the state Final Four last year, combined to score 65 points — 14 more than the Mounties’ team total from Friday — as Little Falls took a 10-point lead at halftime and stretched it from there. Schoff scored 15 of her 26 points in the first half; Shepardson had 14 of her 18 in the second; and Hart hit four three-pointers and scored 21 points. Morrison once again scored 12 points for Poland; she was also chosen as a tournament all-star.
Page 2 of 2 - Poland’s path to the winners bracket semifinal included 50-41 win against St. Johnsville Saturday. Morrison led Poland with 15 points while Smith poured in a tournament-best 37, all but one field goal in the first half and one in the second for St. Johnsville.
Herkimer was a 48-38 winner against Fort Plain in Saturday’s opener as Maxine Grogan scored 22 points and Jory added 14; Ashley Boyer led Fort Plain with 16 points and Haley Kilmartin had 13. Herkimer also drew the first game Sunday and advanced to its semifinal by beating Galway 44-36 behind 14 points each from Grogan and Jory. DeLude, Herkimer’s tournament all-star, scored eight points against Galway and eight against Fort Plain. She matched Jory with 10 points as Herkimer’s top scorers in the title game.
Shepardson led all scorers with 23 points in the championship game. Becker scored 13 and Hart had 12 for Litle Falls.
Smith scored 29 points Friday and led St. Johnsville to a 49-44 win over Dolgeville in the tournament’s opening game; Jackie Bange scored 20 points to lead Dolgeville. Smith also scored 31 points in a 37-25 win against Adirondack Saturday and 22 in St. Johnsville’s rematch with Dolgeville Sunday.
Fort Plain was eliminated Saturday with losses in its first two games. The Hilltoppers got 19 points from Boyer and 13 from Kilmartin when they were beaten 48-40 by Canajoharie. Canajoharie was eliminated in its next game by Dolgeville; Emilie Lewandowski scored 23 points for the Blue Devils in their 53-49 win.
Compiled From Times Staff Reports