Good Morning! With the Border Country Sports Blog, I'm Keith Harrington.
Tanagers Advance to State Final Four
"One team. One dream" in the motto. The Hartford girls basketball has been on the verge of earning a shot at a state title a few times over the history of the program. Saturday they were able to make history and finish the job! Hartford overcame a 23 hour delay due to snow and a determined Section VII champion who was playing close to home to take another step closer to making their dream a reality.
The Tanagers trailed early, but once they grabbed the lead they never gave it back as Hartford edged Boquet Valley 57-51 in the New York State Class D Regional Final at Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh on Sunday.
Hartford advances to play Copenhagen in the state semifinals Friday night at 8 p.m. at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy. It will be the first time a Tanager’s basketball team has reached the Final Four.
“It’s crazy to think that this is the first time our school has ever gotten this far,” Nims said. “To be going to states is absolutely insane.”
Hartford seemed nervous in the opening minutes. Boquet Valley led by their star player Abby Schwoebel raced out to a 7-2 lead and extended it to 12-5. The Tanagers closed the stanza on a 10-0 run to lead 15-12 after a quarter.
Hartford took command in the second. The Tanagers dominated the next eight minutes, extending the lead to 33-18 at halftime with an 18-6 stretch. Hartford still led 49-35 heading to the fourth. Then Boquet Valley sprung to life.
The Griffins opened the final frame with a 12-2 run to slice the deficit to 51-47. Schwoebel, who had been locked down by Hartford’s Izzy French for most of the contest, had a four-point play and followed it with a 3-pointer as she scored 11 points in the quarter. Boquet Valley pulled within four on two other occasions at 53-49 and 55-51, but couldn’t get any closer.
“They started to get layups and we kind of put our heads down, but we gathered ourselves and we finished it out,” McFarren said.
Nims converted a pair of free throws with 3.9 seconds remaining to wrap it up for the Tanagers.
“Our second half, we fell apart,” Hartford coach Jason Johnson added. “And luckily we were able to be far enough ahead so we could pull it off.”
The Griffins had no answer for Nims. The senior center finished with a game-high 29 points for Hartford. McFarren added 15 and Alawnah Dunda nine.
Schwoebel paced Boquet Valley with 21 points. Emma Lobdell contributed 18.
“I have a great group of girls. They really deserve it,” Johnson praised. “They put in the work. I can’t ask for anything more.”
Hartford is now 20-4 on the season.
With the Border Country Sports Blog, I'm Keith Harrington.