SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Section II girls basketball finals drought is over for the Hartford Tanagers.
The Tanagers rode a frantic 10-4 run over the final two minutes of Wednesday night’s Class D semifinal to pull out a 51-45 victory over Fort Edward at Saratoga Springs High School.
The win sends third-seeded Hartford (14-8) into the Section II finals for the first time since 2007. The Tanagers will face top-seeded Argyle for the title on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Hudson Valley Community College.
“I feel like we escaped more than we won,” Hartford coach Wendy Harrington said. “This was not really the game plan we had in mind, but it worked and we had some good fortune as well.”
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The Tanagers also hit some big shots down the stretch in what had been a tight, back-and-forth contest.
Fort Edward (13-9), the seventh seed, had tied the score 41-41 on Mady Thomas’ 3-pointer with three minutes left in regulation. Hartford took the lead for good on a Cami Rogers free throw with 1:49 to play, then got a putback from Abby Monroe for a 44-41 edge.
After Thomas drained a layup with 41 seconds left to pull the Flying Forts within one, Cailyn Harrington responded by pulling up and knocking down a huge 3-pointer for a 47-43 lead, and Hartford sealed the win at the foul line.
Harrington finished with 11 points and Monroe added 10 for Hartford. Thomas scored a game-high 23 points for the Forts.
“We had a lot of turnovers and shots that we missed, but give Fort Edward credit — they ‘D’ you up at every moment,” Wendy Harrington said.
The Tanagers also used their height advantage to best effect, dominating on the boards with 6-footers Monroe, Alondra Nims and Karlee Nims.
“We didn’t box out and we went 10 for 20 from the foul line,” said Forts coach Jason Thomas, whose team has no seniors. “We had 17 turnovers in the first half against a team that didn’t press us once. So we hurt ourselves. Our nerves got the best of us, but that happens with a young team.”
Fort Edward had reached the semis by upsetting second-seeded Heatly last week.
“We didn’t play with the same energy and passion we did at Heatly,” Jason Thomas said. “And we gave up some shots late that came back to bite us. This is not what we hoped for, but we’ll rebound. This will give the girls something to work on in the offseason.”