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Rob Potter | Democrat

Tuxedo’s Mary O’Toole puts up a shot between Tri-Valley defenders Jakki Pugh (30) and Kaitlyn Torres (14) during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Section IX Class C championship game at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh.

Tuxedo tops Tri-Valley Lady Bears in Section IX Class C title tilt

By Rob Potter
NEWBURGH — March 9, 2010 — On their way to winning the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IX girls’ basketball title, the Tri-Valley Lady Bears defeated the Tuxedo Lady Tornadoes twice.
But the Lady Bears’ bid for a third victory over Tuxedo during the 2009-2010 hoops season came up short in Saturday afternoon’s Section IX Class C championship game at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh.
After holding a 13-12 lead at halftime, second-seeded Tuxedo outscored No. 1 seed T-V 14 to 7 in the third quarter to take a 27-19 advantage into the final eight minutes of play. The Lady Tornadoes added to their lead in the fourth period to record a 45-31 victory.
Tuxedo, which is the defending Section IX Class C champion, will face Section I Class C champion North Salem at 4 p.m. today at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie in an opening-round game of the state tournament.
Junior guard Katie-Leigh Sovak helped Tuxedo (14-6) extend its lead in the third quarter. She made a pair of free throws in the first minute and swished a pair of 3-point shots later in the period. The second of those long-range jumpers gave the Lady Tornadoes an 11-point advantage at 27-16 with 1:21 to go.
T-V (16-4) pulled to within six points at 32-26 when junior guard Jakki Pugh made a 3-pointer at the 4:01 mark of the fourth period. But the Lady Bears were forced to commit fouls to preserve time on the scoreboard clock and regain possession of the basketball in the remaining minutes.
Sovak was often the Lady Tornado player who was fouled. She made the most of it, however, by converting 11-of-14 free throws in the quarter.
Sovak finished with a game-high 21 points to pace the Tuxedo offense.
Mary O’Toole netted nine points for the Lady Tornadoes and teammate Mary Comerford recorded seven points.
“They were having trouble with our 2-3 zone [defense],” Tuxedo Coach Dave Powers said. “They couldn’t get the ball inside, they had to settle for jump shots.
“I thought we played defense very well today,” he continued. “Defense is our staple, it sets up our offense.”
Pugh, who made a trio of 3-point shots, led T-V with 11 points.
Senior point guard Skylar Musa scored eight points for the Lady Bears, while teammates Amanda Martin and Kelly McNamara added four points apiece.
“We were never able to match their intensity the entire game,” T-V Coach Andy Taggart said. “We came back and played well in the second quarter, so we were only down by one at halftime.
“Then in the fourth quarter, they were ahead 32-26 and Kelly McNamara scored a basket inside the lane which would have made it 32-28,” he added. “But the officials waved off the basket. Then Tuxedo made a few baskets to extend the lead.”
Taggart noted that the Lady Bears were focused on this game since practices began back in November.
“The goal this season was to get to this game and win it,” he said.
When asked if the Lady Bears will miss the seven seniors who will graduate in June, Taggart answered, “Absolutely.
“They are a great group of players and they have been very good leaders for our team,” he said. “This Tri-Valley team is a special group of players. They have had a great season.”
The seven Lady Bears who will graduate in three months are Allyson Bowers, Heather Knox, Amanda Martin, Kelly McNamara, Skylar Musa, Kathryn Schneyer and Kaitlyn Torres.

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