Plattsburgh The No. 3 AuSable Valley Lady Patriots again found themselves in another tough fight against No. 2 Saranac Feb. 21 in the Class B semifinals at Plattsburgh High School.
Tied in the final 15 seconds with the ball in the hands of junior guard Meghan Strong, the Patriots looked to be on the verge of getting of the potential game-winning shot.
However, after a drive to the basket by Madison McCabe was picked off by Saranac’s Summer Gillespie, it was Saranac holding their breath as Gillespie raced down the court and converted the game-winning layup for a 50-48 victory.
“We have played two very close games against Saranac this year so we knew this was going to be a tight one,” head coach Roger Long said after the game.
The game started out with AuSable (14-5) scoring the first five points of the contest followed by a 12-3 run for Saranac. The Lady Pats then scored the final four points of the first eight minutes to level the score at 12-12.
The Patriots trailed 29-19 at the half but rallied in the third quarter as they had in previous games, quickly cutting the lead to a single basket before ending the third quarter trailing the Chiefs 35-31. A Madison Rondeau three-pointer midway through the fourth quarter gave the Patriots their first lead of the second half, and after the teams exchanged possessions the Patriots held a 48-46 lead but were unable to convert on late free thrown opportunities.
“The biggest thing for us was things were not going our way in the first half and we had a conversation at halftime and said we could either quit or fight hard,” Long said. “We showed a lot of heart fighting back in the third quarter. We hit some key shots down the stretch but we did not shoot the ball great throughout the game. The difference in the game for me was the fact that we were 2-for-15 from the free thrown line tonight.”