Lady Braves one win from Class B title
TROY — As the lowest remaining seed left in either the Section II girls or boys tournaments, the Fonda-Fultonville girls basketball team is looking to pull off one more upset today.
The 13th-seeded Lady Braves will face second-seeded Mechanicville for the Section II Class B title at Hudson Valley Community College at 11 a.m.
Fonda-Fultonville’s magical postseason run has included wins over the No. 1, No. 4 and No. 5 seeds.
“They saw a 13 seed and said, ‘That’s not us,'” Fonda-Fultonville coach Flip Boshart said after Tuesday’s win over top-seeded Tamarac. “We had a couple losses that I didn’t think we should have early, but we’ve really bounced back and we’re playing our best basketball right now.”
The 52-41 win over the Bengals at Averill Park High School was the third straight win over a higher-seeded team for FFCS, which topped fourth-seeded Voorheesville, 58-42, in the first round and fifth-seeded Schalmont, 55-39, in the quarterfinals. The Lady Braves opened the postseason with a 53-19 play-in victory over 20th-seeded Corinth.
On Tuesday, the Lady Braves used smothering man-to-man defense and a 3-point barrage on offense to post the upset.
Fonda-Fultonville connected on 10 3-pointers in the win, including seven from junior guard Abby Lombardoni, who finished with a game-high 28 points. It was the third straight 20-plus point game for Lombardoni who had 28 points against Voorheesville and 27 against Schalmont.
The Lady Braves had just seven field goals from inside the arc Tuesday. Defensively, FFCS limited the Bengals to just 13 field goals.
Fonda-Fultonville field a young squad and just three seniors — Alyssa Duval, Jillian Wilder and Kaleigh Smith — played for the Lady Braves on Tuesday. Freshmen Carly Atty, Lyndsay Lombardoni, Kyla Smith and Marilyn Whitcavitch all played key parts for FFCS against Tamarac.
“We’re young, but I think that’s what gets people the most,” Abby Lombardoni said after Tuesday’s win. “We surprise them when we come out and show them what we can do.”
Atty finished with 11 points for the Lady Braves.
Fonda-Fultonville (18-6 overall) will now play Mechanicville (16-7 overall) today in a bid for its first sectional title.
“It means a lot. These girls are hard workers and really love to play the game. I can’t say enough about them and their parents for believing in what we are doing. Three years ago I took over as the varsity coach and I saw the potential in this program,” Boshart said. “At the time, we were very young, but I knew what my goals were and where I wanted this group to be. They have put the time and work in and are seeing the rewards now.
“The program has a very good history and has had some very good coaches and players throughout the years. It is an honor for me to be coaching at Fonda, a school that I know a lot about and am comfortable with. I know the school and community are rooting for us and the turnout for our sectional games has been amazing. Our fans fuel us during games. The girls love the support and want to show everyone in the gym that they belong, not just to compete, but to win.”
Both teams enter the game riding hot streaks, with FFCS winning its last five games, while Mechanicville has posted wins in six of its last seven contests.
“Defense and handling pressure. This has been the theme throughout sectionals,” Boshart said. “Both of us want to press, both of us look to have multiple scorers, we both have solid players inside and out. It will be the team that comes up with the timely stop that is able to win.”
On its way to the title game, Mechanicville has posted wins over 18th-seeded Glens Falls (64-34), seventh-seeded Ichabod Crane (57-37) and third-seeded Mekeel Christian Academy (62-38) on its way to the title game.
“Mechanicville is a very talented team. They are well coached and brought back a team that went to the semifinals last year. They have multiple scoring options, shooters, and skilled players inside. They use their bench effectively and are some of the best athletes in Section 2,” Boshart said. “Charli Goverski and Taylor Grayson are very good shooters and Amy DiSiena is a nice all around player. Jada Brown does a nice job getting to the basket and they can all play defense. We had a chance to see them last year in sectionals and I have seen them a few times this season. They are more mature than they were last year.”
Last year, Fonda-Fultonville dropped a 63-39 decision to Mechanicville in the first round of last year’s Class B tourney.
“That still weighs on my mind,” he said. “Even as a [low] seed, you want to go in and compete.”
Fonda-Fultonville will look to turn in another strong performance today, this time at Hudson Valley Community College, a venue known for its tough shooting conditions.
“HVCC is a very tough place to play. The space around the court is extensive and the fans are moved off the court a little bit. I played there when I was in high school and it was an exciting time, so I know a little about the pressures of playing there, but our group will go in knowing they are prepared and that they are capable,” Boshart said. “I have had many talks with other coaches, discussing HVCC and some of its differences. We had the opportunity to play at HCCC and FMCC this year and while they are slightly different than HVCC, we have a good idea of what to expect. I know that our girls will be ready, they are excited.
The winner of today’s game will face Section VII champion Northeastern Clinton in a subregional game Wednesday at Plattsburgh State at 6 p.m.