TROY — Despite the win, it seemed the Albany Lady Falcons could not shake the relentless efforts of the Shaker star Madison Rowland, who led all scorers with 25 points in Wednesday night's Section II Class AA semifinal battle. In her final high school competition, Rowland and the Blue Bison fell just short in a 47-41 loss to the top-seeded Albany squad at Hudson Valley Community College.
Albany headed into the fourth with a 35-28 advantage, but Rowland narrowed in on that lead by sealing the first nine points of the quarter for her team. It appeared as the though the Shaker team would pull away as she tied the score at 37 with just over five minutes remaining.
Instead, it became a battle of the boards and the Falcons' were persistent enough on the offensive end to give them the edge they needed to earn the win. Not only did they wear down the Shaker team, forcing them to use their timeouts to get their legs back, but they also scored 10 of the final 14 points on second-chance opportunities. Led by senior guard Emia Willingham-Hurst, who garnered 21 points and 12 rebounds, Albany successfully out-rebounded Shaker 48-33.
The Falcons (19-1) now head to the championship game Monday evening at the Times Union Center against Bethlehem (20-0). Bethlehem heads into the face-off as the second ranked team in the state after having knocked off the 2012 champion Colonie evening's first semifinal match.