Harpursville never trailed in a showdown between the state’s top two Class C girls basketball teams Saturday, earning a return trip to the final four with a 53-46 victory over Little Falls in a New York State Public High School Athletic Association quarterfinal at Onondaga Community College.
Senior guard Miranda Drummond scored 28 points and junior Shelby Medovich added 15 to help add a regional title to top-ranked Harpursville’s ever-growing trophy case.
The Hornets are headed to Troy for the final four for the third time in the last four seasons. They lost in the championship games in 2011 and 2013.
“We’re just looking forward to going back to states. We’ve worked so hard to get where we are now,” Drummond said. “This year we want to win a state championship. We’re not going back to lose. This is our No. 1 goal.”
Harpursville (23-0) will play sixth-ranked Hoosic Valley of Section 2 in a semifinal at 2:15 p.m. Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College. Hoosic Valley was a 39-27 winner over Northern Adirondack in their quarterfinal Saturday.
Hannah Becker scored 13 points for second-ranked Little Falls, which lost for the first time in 23 games. Kelli Shepardson and Gen Schoff scored 12 each for the Section 3 champs.
The Hornets scored the game’s first eight points and built their lead to 20 in the third quarter before withstanding a minor Mounties surge late. Little Falls got as close as six with 20 seconds to play.
“We just knew this was going to be a good game. Both teams undefeated,” said the St. Bonaventure-bound Drummond, who came in averaging 26.2 points this season. “We studied them hard and went over to our coach’s house and we watched them play in their sectional championship. We just knew they were going to be good and had to come out and challenge them.”
Drummond scored 20 points in the first half to help Harpursville to a 34-19 halftime lead, but the rest of the team also made its presence felt on the offensive end.
“We struggled scoring the ball in (the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena) in the Section 4 final (against Lansing),” Harpursville coach Kurt Ehrensbeck said. “These guys mixed it up a lot and we had some trouble with some of their stuff. We figured it out and some of those guys stepped in and made some shots, but Miranda was fantastic today.”
Drummond and Medovich combined for 11 of Harpursville’s 13 points in the third quarter, including two layups from Medovich set up by impressive passes from Drummond from the perimeter.
Little Falls had an 11-2 run late in the third quarter thanks to some turnovers from its pressure defense. The Mounties clawed within 49-41 with 4:35 to go but were limited to just one field goal — a 3-pointer from Amy Hart that cut the lead to 51-44 with 1:27 left — the rest of the night.
Drummond and Medovich each made one of two foul shots in the final 28 seconds to keep the lead comfortable.
“We’re not super deep, so I decided to take a timeout and give them a little breather and let them refocus,” Ehrensbeck said. “After one of the plays we had they were kind of chirping a little bit when we turned the ball over, so I wanted to calm them down a little bit. We talk all the time about the difference between playing not to lose and playing to win. I think after that timeout they played to win and not just to blow the lead.”