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Lady Patriots receive Final Four send-off

Members of the AuSable Valley girls basketball team pose for pictures as students and community members turned out for a Final Four sendoff March 15.

Members of the AuSable Valley girls basketball team pose for pictures as students and community members turned out for a Final Four sendoff March 15. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

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The Lady Patriots make their way to the bus March 15 during a Final Four sendoff.

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Students cheer on the Lady Patriots as they prepare to leave for Troy.

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AuSable Valley head coach Roger Long and his team pass under the human tunnel that led to the team bus as they prepared to head to Troy.

— The AuSable Valley girls varsity basketball team received a sendoff from classmates and community members early Friday, March 15 as they made their way toward Troy and the NYSPHSAA Class C Final Four.

Students crowded the walkway from the school to the charter bus that was set up to take the girls to the Capital Region, where they will play Section V’s Bishop Kearney Saturday, March 16, at 2:15 p.m.

“We wanted to do something that was right for these kids,” Superintendent Paul Savage said. “They deserve to be honored, and this team is representing us in the final four. I liked the way it was — it was perfect.”

Members of the team walked to the bus as students made a human tunnel for them to go through. Students and fans cheered as the team filed onto the bus and head coach Roger Long addressed the crowd, thanking them for the support. Then it was on to the road as the bus was escorted by members of the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department and local fire departments.

“This has been great for the players,” Savage said. “We want them to enjoy this ride as much as the journey that has taken them to this point. I do not think that the players quite know yet what they have accomplished, but this will be something that they will talk about for years to come.”

This is the first NYSPHSAA Final Four appearance for the Lady Patriots, who will represent Section VII and seek to bring home the first NYSPHSAA girls basketball championship trophy. According to state records, it would be the second state title for the region, the last being won by Mineville in 1930.

Last season, the Saranac girls varsity team advanced to the Class B Final Four, losing in the semifinals to eventual state champs Irvington. Northeastern Clinton also made the girls final four in 2009, also losing to eventual state champion Nanuet. In 2003, the Moriah boys team, where Mineville students now go, made it to the state championship game, falling to S.S. Seward.

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