GLENS FALLS — Something has to give when the Glens Falls and Tamarac girls basketball teams meet Saturday for the Class B sectional championship.
The top-seeded and defending champion Indians are 20-2 and on a 12-game winning streak. Tamarac, 21-1 and the No. 2 seed, have won 20 in a row.
The state-ranked opponents collide in the finals of the Section II Girls Basketball Tournament, set for 12:45 p.m. at Hudson Valley Community College. The winner plays Section X champion Canton in a regional semifinal on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Potsdam State.
“It’s all going to come down to who defends and who comes up with loose balls,” said Glens Falls coach Mark Girard, whose team is ranked fourth in the state. “That’s what happens in these kind of games — it’s not always the best team that wins, it’s the team that wants it the most.”
“This is a high-caliber, very good team — the best team we’ve played in two years,” said Tamarac coach Curt Bailey, whose team is ranked ninth in the state. “We’ll have to play our A-plus game to win this one.”
One difference between the teams is the level of competition. Glens Falls won the Foothills Council title over Class A Amsterdam and played a challenging non-league schedule, losing twice to Class AA Colonie. Tamarac won the Wasaren League, which includes several Class C schools.
The Bengals are a young but skilled squad led by sophomores Emily Erickson (17 points per game) and Renna Poulin (12.3 ppg), and junior point guard Kayla Doody. Senior Hannah Kreiger is their top defender.
Tamarac, which last won Class B in 2014, lost its second game of the season to Hoosick Falls, 68-58, but has won 20 straight since. Bailey said the Bengals are shooting 45 percent from 2-point range and nearly 30 percent on 3-pointers this season.
“I think they’re very aggressive, they have four players that can score, so they’re pretty balanced,” Girard said. “They’re averaging around 60 points per game (62.4 ppg), that’s a lot for girls basketball. We’d like to keep them under 40 points — that’s always our goal. We just make it difficult for people to score — we have all year, so I don’t imagine that to be any different.”
Glens Falls is led by the Tougas sisters — sophomore Sophie, a versatile 6-foot forward who averages 17.7 ppg, and senior Lucy (10.6 ppg), the Indians’ floor general who can also bang inside. Role players include tough Taylor Scarincio inside, sharpshooter Caitlin Hogan and defensive stalwart Emilie Moses.
“They have good players and good role players, they’re athletic, long and good shooters,” said Bailey, a former women’s head coach at the College of Saint Rose. “You have to pick your poison with this team.”
“We’ve won 12 in a row and I can honestly say I don’t know if we’ve played our best game yet,” Girard said. “I’m always going to say that there’s so much room for improvement to play that perfect game, but I still think we’re capable of doing it — and if we do, look out.”