The real battle during Saturday’s Section II Class D girls basketball championship game was in the paint, where 5-foot-11 Argyle senior Sam Humiston had to contend with three Hartford players her own size.
Humiston won the battles and helped the Scots win the championship, 49-40 over Hartford.
“We were definitely battling inside, we had to work on positioning and block out,” Argyle coach Terry Chamberlain said. “They have a tremendous amount of height, so you have to work on positioning, timing and anticipation. It’s hard work, it pays off.”
“Humiston had a great game,” Tanagers coach Wendy Harrington said. “Regardless of who we tried to put on her, it was tough — she made beautiful moves and you have to respect her outside game, so you can’t just rely on doubling down in the post.”
Hartford had its trio of 6-footers — senior Alondra Nims, freshman Abby Monroe and eighth-grader Karlee Nims — rotating on Humiston, along with senior swingman Cailyn Harrington. However, the Tanagers were in serious foul trouble by the fourth quarter, as four players had four fouls apiece, and two others had three.
“It changed a little bit of what we’re doing,” Wendy Harrington said of the fouls. “Ali is usually able to guard her most of the time. We tried Karlee on her a bit, but that’s tough for an eighth-grader, she’s not as experienced. Abby has nice length, but she’s not quite as strong as the other kids, and Cailyn was on her a while, I thought she did a good job for a kid who’s quite a bit smaller.
“And then it changes some of your other matchups,” she added, “so you might get a stop on her, but then someone else sneaks in on the back side and grabs a rebound, so you haven’t really helped yourself. There were two or three plays in a row like that in the third (quarter) that really sank us, because we couldn’t dig our way out of that at that point.”
— Pete Tobey
Despite losing in the Class D championship game, the Hartford Tanagers can look back with pride on how they finished the season. They finished 14-9 overall, made the Adirondack League semifinals and were the No. 3 seed in Class D.
“I was so proud of this team, because we had a lot of really bad losses early in the season, we let a lot of close games slip away, and then we were able to get over the hump and get all the way here, so I guess we can’t ask for much more,” senior Cailyn Harrington said.
“I was happy with the kids, they worked hard all season, we made some changes and they adapted to them pretty well,” Hartford coach Wendy Harrington said. “We had some bad losses in the middle of the year, and we kept talking about staying with the process, trust each other and keep working, and we’ll get there. We knew this was our goal all year, and they hung in and we had a solid finish.
“They’re disappointed, but my message to them was remember the journey, remember the way they battled,” she added. “I’m proud of how they hung together as a team. That should set the stage for future teams who have a chance to continue this.”
— Pete Tobey
Beyond their years
Cambridge’s trio of freshmen — twins Lilly and Sophie Phillips and Fiona Mooney — have shown ability and mental toughness beyond their years. That was certainly apparent in Saturday’s Class C sectional championship against Mekeel Christian.
Sophie Phillips scored the go-ahead basket in overtime of the Indians’ 62-59 victory, even after missing a layup that would have won the game in regulation. Lilly Phillips scored 11 points and was also a major factor in the Indians’ offense. And Mooney collected seven rebounds as she helped older sister Helen clean the glass.
“Obviously the group of freshmen are wise beyond their years and their basketball IQ is above and beyond,” Cambridge coach Tony Bochette said.
The Phillips twins also made effective use of screens to score many of their combined 30 points, driving inside for layups.
“They like coming off that ball screen — they did it against Tamarac in both games, they had success with it all year,’ Mekeel coach Kelsey Collins said. “We tried our best to contain (Sophie Phillips), putting Liz (Singleton) on her and denying her the ball at moments during the game. Her and her sister are incredible players and athletes at this age — they’re going to be good for a very long time.”
“One of our big keys in the ballgame was be aggressive to the hoop, finish at the rim,” Bochette said. “We were a little tentative in our semifinal game about taking the ball to the hoop. It was a focus in practice, every day we work on dribble penetration to the hoop, and (Saturday) it just happened to open up for us — they saw the lane and were able to take it and be aggressive enough to score.”
— Pete Tobey