Hartford Girls Play For Class D Title Today
The Hartford girls basketball team has been the dominant team in Class D all season long. That trend has continued during the playoffs as the Tanagers have rolled past their opponents in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds.
This afternoon Hartford will try to take one step closer to a state championship run when they play for the sectional title. The #1 seed Tanagers will meet #3 Saratoga Catholic today at 4:15 p.m. at Hudson Valley Community College.
Jason Johnson's 18-4 team is led by the lethal inside-outside combo of post player Karlee Nims and point guard Gabby McFarren. Both players eclipsed the 1,000 career point mark this season. Nims was unstoppable in the semifinals against Northville, scoring 16 points in a row in the first quarter. McFarren is a crafty guard who can get to the basket and has unlimited range from behind the arc.
Forward Alawnah Dunda was the leading scorer against Germantown in the first round but irritated an ankle injury in the semis. If healthy she provides another option in the paint. Izzy French and Cassie Wade round out the starting five and play key roles for the Tanagers.
Cailin Severance and Mckenzie Johnson are the first two off the bench for Hartford and can both knock down treys.
Saratoga Catholic is paced by Alison Motler who is coming off a 23 point effort against North Warren in the semifinals. Katie Cronin is the top 3-point threat for the Saints. Ashley Upson can also knock down the treys and had 17 against North Warren. Danielle Gill is also a scoring threat.
Hartford will be the favorite to bring home the crown but the Saints should not be overlooked. They play in the rugged Wasaren League and go against the Greenwich's, Mechanicville's and Tamarac's every night. They like to use a run and gun style of play which came sometimes pose a threat on the bigger HVCC court.
Hartford supporters will be holding a send off for their team this afternoon. The bus is scheduled to depart at 1:30 so fans are asked to be at the school bus circle at around 1:00. Yesterday the Tanagers paraded through the school's hallway to be saluted by the entire student body.
It is the first appearance by Hartford in the title game since 2018.
Fair Haven Eliminated by MSJ
The Fair Haven boys basketball team always had the words "Barre" on the back of their warmup shirts. Reaching the state Final Four at "The Aud" is always the goal. This year the #4 Slater's came up a little short as they were eliminated by local rival #5 MSJ 36-31 in the Vermont Division II quarterfinals Friday night.
The teams split a pair of regular season meetings and this one was a close defensive battle.
MSJ led just 5-3 at the end of the first quarter. Owen Traynor opened with a 3-pointer for the Mounties and Sawyer Ramey answered for the Slaters. From that point on scoring was about as easy getting root canal surgery.
Fair Haven led 17-16 at the half and still led 27-25 heading to the final stanza.
Then came the defining moment of the contest. The Slaters didn't score for nearly six minutes in the fourth quarter. The MSJ defense was in lockdown mode wth Andre Prunty providing the pressure on Ramey, one of, if not the best guard in the state.
The Mounties opened the quarter on a 7-0 run to lead 32-27. Fair Haven finally scored on a Phil Bean foul shot to make it 32-28.
An acrobatic shot by Ramey to fuel and three-point play brought the Slaters within 32-31but MSH made their foul shots down the stretch to hang on for the trip to the finale in Barre.
Prunty paced MSJ with 11 points. Traynor added 10.
Ramey finished with 17 for Fair Haven. Noah Beayon chipped in six.
Fair Haven ends their season 17-5.
MSJ is also 17-5 and will meet #1 seed North Country in the semifinals.
Prunty is just 11 points away from the 1,000 point mark.
For more scores go to the Border Country Sports Scorestream Scoreboard: https://www.bordercountrysports.com/scores
With the Border Country Sports Blog, I'm Keith Harrington.