FORT PLAIN - The Herkimer Lady Magicians withstood a 47-point attack from Fort Plain's Haley Kilmartin and Abby Boyer to win their second game of the Section II v. Section III Challenge, 67-57, in Fort Plain on Saturday.
The Lady Hilltoppers had defeated Waterville, 45-35, on Friday before falling in the second game of the round-robin tournament. Herkimer had posted a 59-31 win over Berne-Knox-Westerlo in their first game Friday.
The Lady Hilltoppers (1-2) got off to a slow start Saturday but stormed back multiple times, riding the shooting of Kilmartin.
Fort Plain’s Bri Florian drives to the basket past Herkimer’s Lindsey Parese during the first quarter of the Section II v. Section III Challenge Championship game. (The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich)
With Fort Plain leading 6-5 early in the first quarter, after a free throw by Bri Florian, Herkimer went on a 10-0 run to take a nine-point lead. The Lady Magicians outscored Fort Plain 17-7 in the quarter, as coach Paul Valasek repeatedly preached the same message to his players: Know where Kilmartin is on the floor.
That proved to be easier said than done, as the 2012-13 WAC North co-MVP exploded in the middle quarters. The Lady Hilltoppers began the second quarter on a 9-2 run thanks to four points from Boyer and a big three-pointer by freshman Cheyenne Munson.
Herkimer stood strong and went on an 8-2 run of their own soon after. Seniors Maxine Grogan and McKenzie Pine each scored four points in the quarter for Herkimer, but Kilmartin quickly cut into Fort Plain's nine-point deficit with just a few minutes remaining in the quarter. Kilmartin scored the final seven points of the half, burying two three-pointers and a free throw to trim Herkimer's halftime lead to 29-27.
Kilmartin was at it again in the third, but not before Herkimer took a commanding 18-point lead. Chelsea Jory scored six straight points and Grogan scored eight as part of an 18-2 run to begin the half. Grogan and Jory are two of four seniors in Herkimer's starting lineup. Fort Plain's entire roster features only two seniors.
"They're a good team - very experienced," said Fort Plain coach Phil Karker. "They're a little quicker than we are, more athletic I would say as a whole, but the experience factor is a big thing."
Fort Plain answered the run in a big way as Kilmartin ignited a 14-0 Fort Plain run with her fourth basket from beyond the arc. Florian and Boyer each chipped in two points during the run, but Kilmartin scored the final seven before Allison Travis made a layup to stop the bleeding for Herkimer. Kilmartin tallied 12 points in the quarter and Fort Plain trailed by six entering the final frame.
With more attention than ever being paid to Kilmartin, Boyer scored 12 of Fort Plain's 14 fourth-quarter points. The Lady Magicians were too much to handle, however, as senior Hannah Delude made timely plays to keep the Lady Hilltoppers at bay.
Delude converted a layup following a steal to put Herkimer up 56-47, then hit two from outside as part of a 10-2 Herkimer run that sealed Fort Plain's fate.
"Our game plan was really to see if we could get them in some foul trouble, which we did in the first half, and really try to get out on the shooters which we didn't at the end there with the Delude kid," Karker said. "She's a good, experienced player. She hit those two big threes at the end and that really put it over the top."
Kilmartin finished with 24 points, including five three-pointers, while Boyer's strong fourth quarter upped her point total to 23. For the Lady Magicians, Grogan had 18 points and Delude finished with 17. Jory chipped in 10.
Fort Plain will travel to Canajoharie on Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. game.
Herkimer 67, Fort Plain 57
Herkimer 17 12 20 18 - 67
Fort Plain 7 20 16 14 - 57
Delude 7-0-17, Pine 5-1-11, Grogan 5-8-18, Parks 2-0-4, Jory 5-0-10, Chilluffo 1-0-2, Travis 1-0-2, Parese 1-1-3. Totals 27-10-67.
Kilmartin 6-7-24, Boyer 6-11-23, Florian 2-1-5, Munson 1-0-3, Trembley 1-0-2. Totals 16-19-57.
Three-point-goals: Herkimer 3 (Delude 3); Fort Plain 6 (Kilmartin 5, Munson)