By Rob Potter
TROY With 3:32 remaining in the first quarter of Saturday’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Class D state semifinal basketball game at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, the Livingston Manor Lady Wildcats found themselves trailing the Argyle Lady Scots, 9-0.
Just over a minute later Argyle’s Jacquelyn Miller made a 3-pointer to give her team a 12-0 advantage.
Thanks to that quick start, Argyle (22-3), which earned its trip to the Final Four by winning the Section II and Region II Class D titles, went on to record a 53-26 victory over the Lady Wildcats.
Manor (12-9), which qualified for the Final Four by winning the Section IX and Region I Class D championships, had some open looks at the basket in the first quarter but could not get the ball to fall through the net.
“I think we were nervous at the start of the game,” Manor Coach Kevin Clifford said. “We had trouble getting into our offense.”
Clifford credited the Lady Scots for playing a very good game.
“Their size advantage and defense were too much for us to overcome,” he said, referring to Argyle’s front line of 5-9 inch Hannah Kennedy, 5-11 Ashley Ellis and 5-11 Shelby Graham. “They were getting a lot of rebounds, which gave them second shots. On defense, they guarded us very well all over the floor.”
Argyle held a 36-29 rebounding advantage over Manor. Eleven of the Lady Scots’ rebounds were offensive rebounds, which helped them score 30 points in the paint.
In addition, Argyle made 20 steals.
The Lady Wildcats committed 30 turnovers in the contest, many forced by the Lady Scots’ smothering defense.
Senior guard Maggi Calo led Manor with seven points. Teammates Davis and Imani Miranda each added six points.
Calo had a team-high three steals and Samantha Scott grabbed 10 rebounds for the Lady Wildcats.
Like Clifford, Calo noted that Argyle’s size advantage was a key factor in the game’s outcome. “It is very difficult for me at 5-3 to go inside and get rebounds against those tall Argyle girls,” Calo said.
Calo also admitted that she and her teammates had some jitters in the early moments of the game.
“We were pretty nervous in the first quarter,” she said. “It was the first time any of us had been here.”
Although the Lady Wildcats were hoping to add a state title to their sectional and regional championships, Calo felt that the team had a very good year.
“It was a great season,” she commented. “I am so happy for and proud of my teammates. We made it to the State Final Four for the first time ever.”
Saturday’s game marked the final basketball game for three Manor seniors Calo, Davis and Monay Allen.
“They are all three-year varsity players and we are really going to miss them,” Clifford said. “They worked hard all season and did a great job of leading this team.”
Shelby Graham led a balanced scoring attack for the Lady Scots. She scored a game-high 13 points.
Also keying the Argyle offense were Miller, who netted 10 points, Megan McWhorter (nine points), Ashley Ellis (eight points) and Hannah Kennedy (eight points).
“We knew we had a size advantage on them,” Argyle Coach Terry Chamberlain, who is in his ninth season of guiding the team. “That was part of our game plan, to outrebound them and get some good shots inside. We were able to score in the lane and also make some outside shots.”
Chamberlain also credited his team’s defensive performance, which limited Manor to just one point in the third quarter.
“We used some full-court press and half-court man-to-man defense,” he said. “We added some little wrinkles to our defense.”
Note: Calo and Devon Dutcher both received awards after the game. Calo was named to the All-Tournament team, while Dutcher was presented with a Sportsmanship Award.