JOHNSTOWN - The Fort Plain Lady Hilltoppers trailed the Berne-Knox-Westerlo Lady Bulldogs by six midway through the fourth quarter Friday, but used a late 13-0 run to seal a 47-40 victory and propel them to the WAC Cup final.
The Lady Hilltoppers will take on the Middleburgh Lady Knights for the title. The Lady Knights pummeled the Canajoharie Lady Cougars 55-31 in Friday's second WAC Cup semifinal game at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.
Haley Kilmartin and the Lady Hilltoppers jumped on the Lady Bulldogs early. Kilmartin drained a three and scored eight points in a first quarter that Fort Plain won 11-4. Berne-Knox-Westerlo turned the ball over 10 times in the quarter before going on to tally 19 total turnovers in the half. Many of the turnovers were unforced as travels plagued Berne-Knox-Westerlo.
Fort Plain’s Haley Kilmartin (24) is defended by Berne-Knox-Westerlo’s Shea Murphy during Friday’s WAC Cup semifinal game at Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich)
Despite a 19-11 first half turnover differential, Fort Plain took just a six-point lead into the third quarter after a Jess Rue 3-pointer cut into a nine-point Lady Bulldogs' deficit. The Lady Bulldogs were able to slow Fort Plain's offense in the second half, while finding the scoring knack.
The Lady Bulldogs started the third quarter on a 6-0 run to tie the contest for the first time.
Kendra Trembley and Abby Boyer each hit a three in the quarter for Fort Plain, but Berne-Knox-Westerlo was unconscious from downtown. Kathryn Salo hit from long range to begin a streak of four straight 3-pointers for the Lady Bulldogs.
Rue hit her second of the game and Delaney Martin hit two during the run. Martin's first triple came with 3:27 remaining in the quarter and gave Berne-Knox-Westerlo its first lead of the game at 25-24. An 8-0 scoring burst to end the quarter gave the Lady Bulldogs a 33-29 advantage heading into the fourth.
"We were stagnant [in the third]," Fort Plain head coach Phil Karker said. "I had to yell at them and I've never yelled at them before during a game, but I had to try something to get them at least a little bit fired up."
Kilmartin was neutralized in the third as the Hilltoppers were outscored 20-10, but came to life in the fourth with the game on the line.
Kilmartin drained a three to begin the frame before the Lady Bulldogs scored six of the next eight points. Following a free throw by Berne-Knox-Westerlo's Danielle Keppler that gave the Lady Bulldogs their largest lead of the game at 40-34, Fort Plain poured in 13 straight, including eight free throws by Kilmartin, to jump back in front for good.
"We work very hard on shooting foul shots," said Karker. "We put the kids in pressure situations in practice so that they don't feel it as much when they get to the game, so they're used to a little bit of pressure."
Kilmartin finished with 13 fourth-quarter points and logged a game-high 27 points in total. Boyer had 14 points and tied Berne-Knox-Westerlo's Monique Britton with a game-high eight rebounds.
In the second game, Canajoharie faded quickly as Middleburgh jumped out to a 22-point halftime lead. After outscoring the Lady Cougars 11-4 in the first quarter, Middleburgh essentially put the game away in the second.
After Abby Dearwester converted Canajoharie's first and only field goal of the half with 6:35 remaining in the frame, Middleburgh's Carley Ryan went on a personal 9-1 run. Ryan hit five field goals and three free throws in the quarter for 13 points.
The Lady Knights scored 13 of the period's last 15 points to grab a 33-11 advantage.
Canajoharie's offense ran through Jordyn Logan in the third quarter. Logan began the frame with a three-point play as part of an 8-0 Canajoharie run. Middleburgh got a 3-pointer from Ryan midway through, but were stifled by Canajoharie's full-court press as the Lady Cougars won the quarter 13-7.
The Lady Cougars' offensive struggles returned in the final stanza despite forcing 13 Middleburgh turnovers.
The Lady Knights scored nine straight to begin the quarter to take a 25-point lead and cruised from there on out.
Middleburgh out-rebounded Canajoharie 40-23 in the contest. Ryan finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Taylor Cater also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards for Middleburgh.
Jordyn Logan had a team-high 10 points while four girls tied for the Canajoharie team-lead with four rebounds apiece.
Fort Plain and Middleburgh will clash at FMCC with the WAC Cup on the line Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Canajoharie will take on Berne-Knox-Westerlo in a crossover game at a neutral site Monday. That site is to be announced.
Fort Plain 47, Berne-Knox-Westerlo 40
Fort Plain11 8 10 18 - 47
Berne-Knox-Westerlo4 9 20 7 - 40
Kilmartin 6-12-27, Boyer 6-1-14. Florian 0-3-3, Trembley 1-0-3. Totals 13-16-47.
Salo 4-2-11, Martin 4-0-10, Keppler 2-4-8, Rue 2-0-6, Britton 2-1-5. Totals 14-7-40.
3-point-goals: Fort Plain 5 (Kilmartin 3, Trembley, Boyer); Berne-Knox-Westerlo 5 (Rue 2, Martin 2, Salo)
Middleburgh 55, Canajoharie 31
Middleburgh11 22 7 15 - 55
Canajoharie4 7 13 7 - 31
Ryan 8-3-22, Cater 4-4-12, Roney 4-2-10, Morgan 3-1-7, Leruzic 1-0-2, Palmateer 0-2-2. Totals 20-12-55.
J. Logan 4-2-10, Veeder 2-3-7, A. Logan 1-4-6, Kane 1-1-3, Dearwester 1-0-2, Dillenbeck 0-2-2, Balfe 0-1-1. Totals 9-13-31.
3-point goals: Middleburgh 3 (Ryan 3); Canajoharie - none.