WATERVLIET - The third-seeded Johnstown Lady Bills used a 13-2 first quarter run to gain a decided advantage over seventh-seeded Hoosick Falls and fended off a late rally by the Lady Panthers to pick up a 53-45 victory Saturday at Watervliet High School.
Johnstown's 14th victory of the season propelled them into the Class B sectional tournament semifinals where they will showdown against the bracket's number two seed - the Watervliet Lady Cannoneers. Watervliet took care of business on their home court following Johnstown's win by defeating Ichabod Crane 61-48.
The Lady Bills' offense was clicking in the first quarter of Saturday's game. With Hoosick Falls leading 7-4 early, Megan Anagnostopulos snuck under the hoop from the left corner for a layup that led to six straight points for Johnstown. Kelly Pine, the Lady Panthers' leading scorer, made a layup to cut Johnstown's lead to 10-9, but Kelsi Barnholt answered with her first of two threes for the Lady Bills. Annie Stock and Hope Cerasuolo both converted layups soon after to cap the 13-2 scoring burst. O'Rourke added a jumper and Cerasuolo buried a three and two free throws to cap off a 24-point quarter for Johnstown.
Johnstown’s Brianne O’Rourke (42) puts up a shot over Hoosick Falls’ Hannah Lilac (3) during Saturday’s Section II Class B quarterfinal game at Watervliet High School. (The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich)
"I don't think we missed a free throw or a field goal," Johnstown head coach Tim Derwin said. "It was just a blistering pace and we just knew that we had to settle in and that wasn't going to carry us."
Derwin's assumption was correct. Following their stellar first quarter, which saw Cerasuolo tally 11 points, Johnstown's offense slowed down tremendously. They knocked down four two-point jumpers in the second but only logged 10 total points in the frame.
Rachel Pine began to percolate in the second for Hoosick Falls after scoring four points in the first quarter. Pine hit from long range to kick off the Lady Panthers' scoring and finished with eight in the second.
Class A Quarterfinals
Troy 67, Amsterdam 43
Glens Falls 52, Holy Names 45
Averill Park 73, South Glens Falls 25
Queensbury 59, Scotia-Glenville 44
Class B Quarterfinals
Schalmont 51, Fonda-Fultonville 45
Johnstown 53, Hoosick Falls 45
Tamarac 72, Mechanicville 22
Watervliet 61, Ichabod Crane 48
Hoosick Falls trailed 34-26 at halftime but the deficit was in no way related to turnovers and sloppy play. The Lady Panthers held onto the basketball with remarkable success Saturday, giving it away just four times in the first half and twice in the final two quarters combined.
Johnstown struggled in the third quarter and didn't make their first field goal until there was 2:31 remaining. The bucket, a layup by Anagnostopulos, came following a quick 8-0 run by Hoosick Falls that cut Johnstown's lead to two.
Cerasuolo didn't score in the middle two quarters but made her presence known in the final stanza. She and Barnholt scored back-to-back baskets, the latter of which was from downtown off of a set play, to push Johnstown's lead back to double-digits with 6:13 remaining. Over the next few minutes Hoosick Falls scored seven straight points, five of which came at the free throw line, to close the gap. Derwin called a timeout with Johnstown up 46-43 to calm down his team.
"They made their run, now we've got to come back and make ours," Derwin said. "They're pressing, everybody's going to want to come to the basketball, they're in the penalty, and you're shooting, so just try to settle it down."
Out of the timeout, Cerasuolo took the ball hard to the hole and scooped it up and in to push Johnstown's lead to five. Hoosick Falls hit eight times from the line in the fourth but couldn't get it going from the field as the Lady Bills hit free throws in the final minute to sew up a trip to the semifinals.
Cerasuolo led Johnstown with 17 points while Anagnostopulos and Stock each had 10. Stock was also ferocious on the glass. The junior pulled down 15 rebounds to notch a double-double and take countless possessions out of the hands of Hoosick Falls.
"She was a huge factor defensively," Derwin said, "I asked everybody that played tonight to be a player - don't look for somebody else to do it. Annie did, both with rebounding and offensively she looked to score too."
Johnstown turned the ball over more than twice as frequently as the Lady Panthers but out-rebounded them 42-27.
Johnstown's semifinal matchup against Watervliet will come Wednesday at Troy High School. The winner of that game will play for the Class B title next weekend at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.
Johnstown 53, Hoosick Falls 45
Johnstown24 10 6 13 - 53
Hoosick Falls15 11 9 10 - 45
Cerasuolo 5-6-17, Anagnostopulos 3-4-10, Stock 2-6-10, Barnholt 2-0-6, McCoy 2-0-4, O'Rourke 2-0-4, Nellis 1-0-2, Totals 17-16-53.
R. Pine 5-4-17, Williams 3-6-12, Schneider 2-2-7, Flynn 2-2-6, K. Pine 1-1-3. Totals 13-15-45.
3-point goals: Johnstown 3 (Barnholt 2, Cerasuolo); Hoosick Falls 2 (Schneider, R. Pine)