Stuart Dean went to the Broome County Veteran Memorial Arena in 2012 and ’13 for the girls sectional basketball championships.
He’ll go again today, but this time, unlike the previous two trips, it won’t be as a spectator.
“It’s going to be nice to go down and actually play in the game,” Dean said Wednesday night, following his team’s 46-27 defeat of Elmira Notre Dame in the Section 4 Class C semifinals.
The win earned his top-seeded Bobcats (18-2) a spot in today’s 1 p.m. title game against third seed Harpursville. The Hornets, the top-ranked Class C team in New York state, ousted second-seeded Candor on Wednesday, 59-42, in the other C semi.
“Clearly we’re going to have our hands full,” Dean said of facing Harpursville, “but any time you’re in the game, you’ve got a chance to win it. We’re really looking forward to the chance to play Harpursville, and recognize that it’s going to be a challenge. At the same time, we realize that we have an opportunity to go down there and be successful.”
Dean felt his Bobcats turned a corner following a 41-27 loss at Notre Dame to close the regular season. Since then, Lansing has defeated Waverly in the Interscholastic Athletic Conference Large School final, 55-50, and scored sectional wins over Watkins Glen (58-33) and Notre Dame.
The Monday practice following the loss to Notre Dame represents something of a turning point for the Lansing girls, Dean said. The team has re-committed to each other and to doing what it takes to be successful, he said.
“We’ve accepted our responsibilities in terms of what we have to do,” he said, “and every one of the kids has tried to take it upon themselves to do that. More than anything else, it’s been an attitude adjustment for us.
“I feel like we’ve played three pretty good games, against three pretty good teams (since the loss),” he said. “You never like to lose, but if you can lose and learn something, I think it helps you in the long run.”
The Bobcats are led by junior twins Shea and Maura McCartney, along with senior backcourt mate Audrey Eastman. Shea McCartney leads the Bobcats at around 14 points per game, followed by her sister (11 ppg.) and Eastman (8 ppg.). Shea McCartney scored 21 points, 11 of them in the final quarter, in the semifinal victory over the Crusaders.
Maura McCartney chipped in eight points but did yeoman’s work on defense containing Crusaders scoring leader Sheridan Heine, who scored 12 points but none in the fourth quarter.
“Maura really did a good job,” Dean said. “There were a couple of times where she lost her and gave her a little too much space, but for the most part she did well and as a team, I felt like we did a better job of helping. That really prevented her from going off on us, but she (Heine) hit some big shots, she’s a good player.”
Coach Kurt Ehrensbeck’s Hornets are led by senior Miranda Drummond, a first-team all-state selection last year who’s averaging around 25 points this season. Drummond, who’s headed to St. Bonaventure next year, scored 37 points in the win over Candor and is averaging nearly 38 points in the sectional tournament.
After the Lansing-Harpursville game, the Moravia boys (18-1) will gun for their fourth sectional title in the last five years when they take on Elmira Notre Dame (18-1) in the Class C title game. Second-seed Moravia ousted Newfield, 50-39, in Tuesday’s semifinal while the top-seeded Crusaders got past Watkins Glen, 63-46.
NOTE: Immediately following the Lansing-Harpursville game, the Section 4 Hall of Fame Class of 2014 will be introduced. Among this year’s inductees is 1998 Lansing High graduate Eric Tee, who lettered four times in football and basketball and three times in baseball. He helped the Bobcat football team to four IAC titles, one Section 4 title and three runner-up finishes. In basketball, he finished his career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,239 points and was IAC most valuable player his senior year.
As a centerfielder in baseball, he led Lansing to three IAC divisional crowns, three overall titles and a Section 4 title in 1996. He went 53-for-56 in stolen bases for his career, and his 24 steals in 1997 is still a school record. He played football on scholarship at Colgate, lettering four times as a linebacker and defensive end. He was named the team’s defensive MVP his senior year.