In the semifinal round of Class C state girls basketball playoffs, it’ll be Been There vs. Done That.
Top-ranked Harpursville, a final four participant for the third time in four seasons but yet to celebrate upon conclusion, will oppose a third-ranked Hoosic Valley squad two seasons removed from a state championship.
The Hornets and Indians are scheduled to align for tip-off at 2:15 Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy. The winner will return for the title game at 1:45 Sunday afternoon.
Of primary concern to Harpursville defenders will be contesting the long-range shot.
Hoosic Valley — located in the Rensselaer County town of Schaghticoke — has offered up 350 3-point field goal attempts this season. Largely responsible have been 5-foot-7 senior Laura McGreevey and 5-9 junior Alyssa Paul, a combined 68-for-287.
And so …
“We’re emphasizing getting out on people, defending our man and trusting ourselves individually to contain,” Harpursville coach Kurt Ehrensbeck said. “There are times that our help-side is maybe too helpful. Every team now, if you leave somebody, you better be doubling the ball or else the person you just left is going to end up with a layup.”
In other words: Defend aggressively, yet wisely.
A look at the respective teams’ statistics reveals a couple definitive contrasts. Hoosic Valley, eight times a Section 2 champion since 2006, averages 44.1 points per game. Its top scorer is Lauren Madigan at 11.5.
Harpursville counters with a 59.1-per-game norm headed by Miranda Drummond’s 26.3-per-game average. Next-best is Shelby Medovich at 11.5.
“That’s a really established program. They play really tough man-to-man,” Ehrensbeck said. “It’s a defense-first team. There have been teams that haven’t scored 20 against them. I think they play defense by committee, and they rebound well.”
Five Harpursville opponents have exceeded a 40-point total, four of them in the Hornets’ past five games. Last Saturday’s 53-46 victory against previously unbeaten Little Falls represents the Hornets’ tightest escape of the season.
This Harpursville squad features a nucleus of players that were a part of a 54-44 loss to Bishop Kearney in last season’s finale on the same HVCC surface.
“We have four kids that have significant time on that floor,” Ehrensbeck said. “I can honestly say that they have learned to just relax and play. They don’t get uptight. We’re very relaxed going into games.
“We have something we say every game: Respect everyone and fear no one. I really believe they have the utmost respect for everyone we’re playing because they know everybody s good, but we’re certainly not going in there afraid.”