ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — When the bracket dropped for the Sec. II, Class B girls basketball playoffs, a date between Schalmont and Albany Academy for Girls in the semifinals was an enticing potential matchup. That matchup is now a reality after both teams earned convincing victories in the quarterfinals round Wednesday night.
Albany Academy for Girls, sitting at 20-1 on the year, and fourth in the state in Class B, earned the No. 1 overall seed in its’ section, and hosted both quarterfinals tilts in the top half of the bracket. It was fourth-seeded Schalmont, coming off a state title last year, that took the court first against 12th-seeded Fonda-Fultonville.
The Braves advanced to the quarters with an upset over No. 5 Greenville, and they tried to carry that momentum into Wednesday’s matchup with the Sabres. Trailing 2-0 in the first quarter, junior Samara Hunt poured in a three-pointer from the left wing to give her team a 3-2 lead at the 4:18 mark.
But the Sabres responded with an offensive flourish in the final four minutes of the quarter. They dropped in four triples – two of which came from junior Mikaela Frank – and closed the quarter on an 18-4 run to claim a 20-7 advantage.
And the offensive onslaught continued into the second frame. After extending the lead to 27-10, star junior forward Karissa Antoine stuck a long ball of her own, as Schalmont maintained a 20-point edge just over midway through the quarter.
Fonda-Fultonville managed to counter with a 10-0 run in the final 3:22 of the half, cutting the margin to 10 points heading into the locker room at halftime.
But the deficit for the Braves was just too much to overcome in the second half, and Schalmont hung on for a 60-48 victory.
That gave way to the second matchup between Albany Academy and eighth-seeded Schuylerville.
And the Bears came out on the attack, jumping out to a 15-3 lead nearly five-and-a-half minutes into the first quarter after junior Bella Vincent dialed up a corner three.
The Black Horses countered with a 7-1 run, trimming their deficit to six points, but with time winding down in the opening frame, sophomore Eva Gitto scored a lay-up on a baseline drive, extending the Bears’ lead back out to eight points.
They carried that momentum into the second quarter. On their opening possession, senior Saige Randolph collected an offensive rebound; while falling to floor, she managed to get the ball out to Gitto on the wing, who paid off the effort by cashing in from beyond the arc, and Academy was back up double-digits at 21-10.
The Bears grew that lead to 19 by the halftime break, 34-15, and never looked back in the second half, punching their ticket to the semifinal round with a 58-42 victory. Gitto and Randolph led the scoring attack with 16 points a piece.
Albany Academy for Girls and Schalmont will now meet at Averill Park High School Saturday with a trip to the Class B championship game on the line. Opening tip-off is slated for 4:30 p.m.