Six players scored in the fourth quarter to help Vestal slip past visiting Union-Endicott, 60-56, and earn a spot in the Section 4 Class A girls basketball final.
Union-Endicott held a seven-point lead — the largest of the game — in the final minute of the third quarter. It didn’t last long, however, as Vestal’s Courtney Franz netted a 3-point goal to draw the hosts within 41-37.
The Golden Bears took a five point lead in the fourth, but the U-E pushed back as Victoria Mattarell hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to cut the gap to 57-56 with about 45 seconds remaining. The Tigers fouled Julianna Mushalla, who hit one of two shots. Vestal stopped U-E the following play, and Johanna Gaffney hit two free throws for Vestal’s final points.
Franz and Shelly Anderson scored five apiece in the last quarter for Vestal, which converted eight of nine free throws in the quarter.
“U-E shot really well,” said Bears coach Joe Reynolds. “We started playing full court man-to-man defense at the end of third quarter through the fourth to force turnovers, and that’s how we stayed ahead.”
Vestal’s Alani Gallagher had 18 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots, and Franz finished with 11 points. Nicole Kaczmarczyk led U-E with 16 points.
Vestal (9-9) will face Maine-Endwell in the championship game, 6 p.m. March 6 at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena. It is the third consecutive year the teams have faced off in the final, and they split their regular-season games.
Norwich 55, Seton CC 51: At Norwich, sophomore guard Makenzie Maynard scored 13 of her game-high 18 points in the second half including 10 in the pivotal third quarter as Norwich advanced to sectional final for the fourth time in six years.
The Purple Tornado (16-4) lost to Seton Catholic Central by 22 points during the regular season, but avenged one of its four losses this season. After trailing 27-22 at halftime, the Tornado outscored the visitors 17-9 in the third quarter to take the lead.
Maynard and Shelby Benjamin (10 points) each made free throws in the final 11 seconds to preserve the victory. Norwich advances to meet Susquehanna Valley in the final next Saturday.
SV 66, Waverly 40: At Susquehanna Valley, 15 first-half points from Shayna Lee included three 3-point conversions and helped stake the Sabers to a 23-point advantage at halftime. Paige Finch added all of her six-point take in the first 16 minutes.
Erin Nolan collected 13 rebounds for SV (15-5).
B-G 43, Unatego 31: At Bainbridge-Guilford, the top-seeded Bobcats trailed eighth-seeded Unatego by 11, in large part due to 4-for-26 shooting from the field.
To open the third quarter, Morgan Bullis made a steal off the press and scored, and Rebecca Reyes sent in a 3-pointer to set in motion an 18-5 quarter for B-G (17-2). Bullis closed with 13 rebounds.
Newfield 44, Moravia 40: At Newfield, Jazmin Malone connected on a 12-foot shot from the baseline with about 80 seconds remaining in overtime, putting the Trojans ahead by 42-40.
A 3-point goal from Mariyah Byrd with a minute to play in regulation gave Newfield a five-point lead. But Moravia’s Hannah Bennink answered with a 3-pointer and, following a Trojans turnover, Zoe Barrington scored the tying bucket on a put-back with six seconds to play.
Sierra Henry had 15 points and eight rebounds for the winners, and Byrd added seven assists and five points to her 13 points.
Lansing 35, Candor 34: At Lansing, Kayla Mattoon hit a 3-point goal for a 32-30 Bobcats lead with 1:30 remaining. The final minute came down to free throws for both teams, and Lansing held on for the quarterfinal victory.
“We were 7-for-10 from the free throw line, that’s the important part,” said Lansing coach Stu Dean. Candor hit 19 of 40 foul shots in the game.
Leading 34-33 with less than a minute left, Lansing’s Nicki Mix was fouled and hit one of two shots to go up 35-33. Candor came within a point on a free throw from Jen Rodriguez, but Maura McCartney grabbed the rebound on the second shot and ran out the clock to hold on for the Bobcats.
Lansing (14-5) faces Watkins Glen in the semifinals.
So. Cayuga 52, Roxbury 41: At Southern Cayuga, a critical sequence late in the third quarter turned things the hosts’ way.
In the final 17 seconds, Alex Hetherington converted one of her three 3-point goals on the night, and teammate Jayde Lyon made a steal and layup for a 38-32 Chiefs lead.
Emily Kopp had 10 steals and five assists for the winners, and Adrianne Torea scored 13 points to go with seven rebounds and six steals.
Kevin Miller’s ambitious undertaking on Day 1 of state swimming championships at Ithaca College left him as No. 2 qualifier in two individual events and No. 5 with Ithaca High teammates in two relays.
Miller, a junior, swam second in the 200-yard freestyle preliminary, his 1-minute, 40.97-second clocking .33 back of Garden City’s Connor Brown. Miller’s 4:29.80 trailed Brown by just under a second in the 500 freestyle, and he swam legs of the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Lansing’s Joe Koch, also a junior, registered Section 4’s only other top-10 qualifying time with a seventh-best 4:37.23 in the 500 freestyle.
The top 24 individuals and relay teams will return for Saturday’s finals.