TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and the Averill Park girls basketball team winning a section title.
The Warriors claimed their ninth straight Sec. II, Class A championship with a 62-49 win over two-seeded Catholic Central in the finals Friday night at Hudson Valley Community College.
Averill Park displayed a balanced offensive attack as four different players scored in double figures; leading the way was standout junior forward Taylor Holohan, who posted a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
The Warriors wasted little time getting her the ball on the block. Just 2:05 into the first quarter, Holohan scored with her off-hand in the lane to put A-P ahead 7-2.
Moments later, sophomore Kayleigh Ahern knocked down a baseline jumper, forcing a timeout from Catholic Central’s Audra Di Bacco, as the Warriors raced out to a seven-point lead in the first 3:12 of the opening frame.
The Crusaders got a spark, though, out of the break with a corner three-pointer from freshman guard Gabriella Di Bacco, bringing her team back within two possessions.
Averill Park countered with a steady diet of Holohan. The very next trip down the floor, she collected her own miss, and stuck the put-back for two more points. Two possessions later, she buried a three-pointer from the left wing, and the Warriors had their largest lead of the game at 14-5.
The Crusaders cut that margin down to six points by the end of the quarter, trailing 16-10. And they hang around in the second quarter. With 51 seconds remaining before halftime, eighth grade guard El’Dior Dobere poured in a trey ball, reducing the deficit to five.
But A-P put four more unanswered points up on the board before the conclusion of the second quarter, and carried a 30-21 advantage into the locker room.
And that lead only grew in the second half. The Warriors outscored Catholic Central 15-10 in the third stanza, commanding a double-digit lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Crusaders managed to outscore A-P 18-17 in that final frame, but it was not enough, as the Warriors celebrated a ninth straight Class A crown with the 62-49 victory.
Averill Park head coach Sean Organ said after the game that the luster of winning a section title year after year never fades.
“It never gets old for us as a coaching staff,” said Organ. “Each year there are new faces added to the roster, and to see them go through this – some of our players for the first time – you know, we’re happy for them. It never gets old. They work really, really hard. They make a lot of sacrifices just to get to this game. To see (them) get to the top of the mountain…it’s a great feeling for them.”
Holohan earned tournament MVP for the second straight season. After winning a section title ever year she’s been on varsity, she credits this one to a strong connection with her teammates for granted.
“This team I’ve played with (since) my fourth-grade CYO year,” said Holohan. “So, it’s kind of very homey for me that I get to play with these girls in this setting; it’s really nice.”
Three other Warriors joined Holohan in double figures, including sophomore Arianna Verardi, Ahern and junior Tatiana Tune, who scored 14 points, 10 and 10, respectively.
Averill Park advances to regionals next Saturday, March 11 at HVCC, and will await the winner of a sub-regional matchup between Sec. X’s Franklin Academy, and a team from Sec. III that’s yet to be announced.
Catholic Central finishes as the runner-up in Class A after an impressive, 19-3 season.