Huge rally boosts MCS girls to tourney win

By John Bernhardt
The 2011 Margaretville Booster Club Girls’ Varsity Basketball Tournament had everything a basketball fan could want and more. The tournament was packed with excitement, each game decided in the final seconds of play.

Close and competitive with sudden momentum shifts, the basketball action was emotion-packed and the host team emerged as the champion with a thrilling comeback, 42-40 victory over Gilboa on Saturday.

It would have taken an active imagination to predict that Margaretville would be crowned the tournament champion three minutes into the second quarter of the title game. The Blue Devils were buried under a tsunami of Wildcat offense, trailing Gilboa by 17 points, 21-4. Brooke Koerner had already scored 13 Gilboa points and nothing seemed to be working for the home team.
An Amy Filupeit scoop drive seemed to awaken the Margaretville squad. The two teams traded baskets towards the end of the half. Gilboa still led, 25-13, but the Blue Devils were up and running again.

Margaretville turned the game on its head in the third frame. With Amy Filupeit scoring six points and leading the way, the Blue Devils outscored Gilboa, 17-5. Margaretville was within striking distance down by only five, 35-30.

Three consecutive field goals to start the final quarter gave the Blue Devils their first lead of the game. Kelsey Buerge’s shot from the wing bounced high off the rim and through the nets to start the surge. Annette Hogan stole a Gilboa pass then found Amy Filupeit open for a layup. Filupeit picked off another errant Wildcat pass then feed her sister Erin for the leading score.

Gilboa would tie the score two times in the closing minutes, the first time 36-36 on a Koerner foul shot and the second time, 40-40 with only 30.4 seconds to play. Trailing 40-36, the Wildcats Sara Coons nailed a long shot just in front of the three-point arc then went coast-to-coast with a lay-up to tie the score.

The game-winning shot was the final part of a three part series. Erin Filupeit rebounded a missed shot and shuffled a pass to her sister Amy near the foul line. Amy spotted tournament MVP Tess Svoboda all alone under the basket, feeding the junior with the pass for the winning score. Both of the Filupeit sisters were tournament all-stars for Margaretville.

Stamford vs. Margaretville
The four-point Margaretville advantage over Stamford at the end of overtime was the biggest difference between the two teams the entire night. With the score even at 26-26 after regulation time, Stamford’s Kim Freer hit one of two foul shots to break the tie for Stamford. Freer’s foul shot would be Stamford’s final point of the night.

Annette Hogan knocked down a pair of foul shots and Margaretville was in front, 28-27. Erin Filupeit added a foul shot before RaeAnn Bond stole a pass and found sophomore Annette Hogan under the basket for a decisive score with only 24 seconds to play. Moments later the Blue Devils were headed to the championship round.

Baskets were few and far between at the start. In fact, Stamford’s Cassie Erhart’s three-point goal was the only score for either team in the first period. Amy Filupeit got the Blue Devils going by scoring three field goals in the second quarter as Margaretville outscored their guest, 11-9, and only trailed by one point at the start of the second half.

Margaretville finally clawed its way on top when Erin Filupeit put back a missed shot to score the first basket of the second half.

Stamford’s Nikki Alberti and Naleah Meirer answered as the Indians retook the lead, 16-13. ReaAnn Bond and Meghan McKennon sandwiched baskets around a Stamford foul shot knotting the score at 17-17 heading into the final eight minutes of play.

The score remained maddeningly close throughout the fourth period. When Annette Hogan drove the baseline then pulled up to hit a soft six-foot shot giving Margaretville a 26-23 lead with under three minutes to play things looked promising for Margaretville. But Hogan’s basket would be the Blue Devils last score in regulation time.

Nikki McGrath hit one of two foul shots to shave a point from the Blue Devils’ lead. Naleah Mierer’s two foul shots with just over one minute remaining tied the score at 26-26 setting up the wild overtime finish.

Andes vs. Gilboa
For 30 minutes in the tournament’s opening round match, the Andes Mountaineers played brilliantly. A Desirae Coss three-point goal, the final field goal of the first period, pushed Andes in front of Gilboa, 11-8, and the Mountaineers stayed in front almost until the final two foul shots of the game.

The game took on a familiar pattern; Andes would build a five-point or greater lead and Gilboa would battle back. Coss scored the first basket of the second quarter pushing the Andes lead to 13-8 before Gilboa rallied. The Wildcats evened the score at 15-15 when Brooke Koerner teamed with Naomi Gockel on a give-and-go score. Ashley Terry found Jade Litaker on the baseline for a basket giving Andes the lead just before halftime.

Two Coss field goals to start the second half pushed the Andes lead to 21-15. Sara Coons buried a three-point goal spearheading another Gilboa rally late in the quarter. Coons swished two foul shots to tie the game just before the end of the third quarter.

A Shelby Oliver foul shot to start the final eight minutes gave Gilboa a temporary lead. But, Coss snuck into the lane hitting a field goal, Ashley Terry downed a rolling one hander in the lane, and Kelsey Little banked in a shot and Andes was back on top by five.

Coons used her left hand for a score, but Andes was surging. Coss flooded the lane, hitting a short jumper then put back a missed Mountaineers’ field goal and with only four minutes remaining and Andes had the biggest lead of the game at 32-25.

Gilboa wasn’t finished. Koerner sandwiched four of five foul shots around a Jade Litaker free throw, and the Wildcats trailed 33-29. Coons missed an outside shot, but followed it up with an offensive rebound and was fouled. The Gilboa guard hit one of two shots but a lane violation gave her another try, and the Mountaineer lead was shaved to 33-31.

Perhaps, a turning point moment was a Gilboa defensive stop by center Gina Caputo. With Gilboa clamping on a full-court press, Coss broke free and drove the lane. Caputo stood her ground and with arms outstretched made a Statue of Liberty block, the ball somehow ending in her outstretched hands. Recognizing the change of possession, a heads up Coons broke beyond the last Andes defender for a long Caputo outlet pass and layup, knotting the score at 33-33. Seconds later it was Ashley Terry bearing down on Capote. This time, Terry was fouled and the Andes senior forward calmly buried both shots giving the Mountaineers their final lead.

From there the outcome rested on two bounces. With time running out, Shelby Oliver lifted a closely guarded shot from the right wing for Gilboa. The ball hit the front of the rim, bounced high in the air over the basket and with only 18.4 seconds to play dropped through the net. 35-35.
Andes failed to score on the next possession with Gilboa securing the defensive rebound. Coons was fouled in the backcourt with only 4.2 seconds to play. She made both shots completing the improbable Gilboa comeback.

Amazingly, Andes took the ball coast-to-coast, with Ashley Terry driving the lane and getting off a running eight-foot shot beating the final horn. Terry’s bounced off the front of the rim, bounced off the back of the rim, then fell off to end the game.

Coss was locked in offensively, netting a game-high 17 points for Andes. Ashley Terry added nine and Jade Litaker seven for the Mountaineers. Koerner finished with 15 for Gilboa.
The consolation game was cancelled because of illness that hit the Stamford squad).