WATERTOWN — All of last season’s Frontier League girls basketball playoff champions put winning another crown on repeat.
Indian River, General Brown, Thousand Islands and Copenhagen all collected repeat playoff titles Saturday at the league championships Saturday at Jefferson Community College.
Indian River, General Brown and Copenhagen all swept regular-season and playoff honors, while Thousand Islands beat regular-season champion Sandy Creek in the “C” Division final.
COPENHAGEN 50, ALEXANDRIA 41
Aubree Smykla scored 27 points as the top-seeded Golden Knights pulled away from the No. 3 Purple Ghosts to add another “D” Division playoff title.
Alyssa Fitzpatrick added six points and 11 rebounds for defending state Class D champion Copenhagen (16-4).
Bridget Watson powered Alexandria (10-8) with 25 points and Sincerity Diange chipped in seven points. The Ghosts had won six of their last seven games going into the final.
The Golden Knights overcame foul trouble and a slow shooting start to avenge their regular-season finale loss to the Purple Ghosts. Copenhagen played most of the first half without defensive stalwart guard Samantha Stokely, who picked up three quick fouls.
Golden Knights coach Natalie Scott said Stokely is a pivotal player in many ways.
“We miss her quickness and speed both ways when she’s not out on the court,” Scott said.
However, Copenhagen received contributions from bench players who normally don’t collect that much playing time. The Knights’ veteran players were impressed with the help they received from the supporting cast.
Claire Jones led the way off the bench with six points.
“The bench was huge for us,” Smykla said. “They come to every practice and dedicate as much time as we do and it shows with their effort.”
Copenhagen’s defensive strategy was to keep the ball out of Watson’s hands by disrupting Alexandria’s entry passes to the post. The Golden Knights’ trademark quick hands and defensive pressure made life tough for the Purple Ghosts’ guards.
“Copenhagen put a lot of pressure on our guards and made it uncomfortable for us to just get it into the half-court set,” first-year Alexandria coach Tom Murphy said.
Both teams started off slow offensively, and Alexandria led 11-10 after the first quarter. However, Smykla showed veteran leadership and scored 10 points in the second quarter by driving to the basket and hitting key shots.
“That girl (Smykla) has got determination,” Scott said. “She gives 100 percent every second she’s on that court and she does not want us to lose.”
Alexandria didn’t go away and got to within four points with 1:30 left in regulation after consecutive putbacks by Watson. However, Copenhagen hit foul shots late when Alexandria was forced to foul to extend the game.
The Purple Ghosts have gone through plenty of adversity without having a home gym and a 1-5 start.
“I’ve never been around a group of kids like this in my life,” Murphy said. “They’re positive and they pick each other up.”
Copenhagen has a different roster this season due to the graduation of Chari Carroll and Raegan Dalrymple, but it believes it has the tools to make another deep run in the Class D bracket.
“I think we can do well as long as we keep our heads up,” said junior Madison Cheek, who scored five points.
THOUSAND ISLANDS 51,
SANDY CREEK 39
Delaney Wiley netted 26 points as the No. 2 Vikings beat the top-seeded Comets in the “C” Division title game. Jenna Pavlot provided 17 points for Thousand Islands (10-9), which won the season series, 2-1.
Ceanna Reff logged 23 points and Haidyn Soluri provided six points for Sandy Creek (11-9).
Wiley scored 14 points in the second quarter to help TI overcome a slow start from the field. The senior guard has been on varsity since eighth grade and helped get the Vikings some separation. Pavlot and Wiley are the main scorers, but Thousand Islands received defensive contributions from Sayron Rios, Sarah Mason and Sydney Thompson.
Vikings coach Shannon Amo credits the trio with being a big part of the team’s success.
“They’ve had to get rebounds, set screens and get loose balls,” Amo said. “All those things helped us get to 10 wins.”
Thousand Islands also made sure to lock down Sandy Creek’s standout freshman guard Baylee Williams. The Vikings threw many different looks at Williams, who netted only four second-half points.
“Our defense really came together, as we ran a triangle-and-two to switch it up,” Pavlot said.
The Class C sectional bracket is always loaded, but Wiley and Pavlot believe their team has a shot at advancing in sectionals.
“I think if we play like we did in the final, we can win a few games,” Wiley said.
INDIAN RIVER 53, WATERTOWN 30
Allison LaMora’s 22 points helped the top-seeded Warriors beat the No. 3 Cyclones to sweep the “A” regular-season and playoff titles.
Ravan Marsell chipped in 14 points for Indian River (18-2), which is in the mix for a top seed in the Section 3 Class A tournament.
Jommy Fasehun scored seven points and Willa Overton added six points for Watertown (8-12), which is having one of its best seasons in the past decade.
Indian River’s offensive game plan was to get the ball inside to LaMora. However, the Warriors have offensive versatility as anyone in their lineup can shoulder the scoring load.
“All five of our starters have led us in scoring at least once this season,” Indian River head coach Jim Whitley said. “When you have a team that does that, it’s hard to key on one person.”
Defensively, Indian River used its trademark full-court press to harass Watertown’s guards. The Warriors love the idea of making every shot and pass difficult on the opposition.
“There’s no easy outside shots, there’s no easy layups, there’s no easy rebounds,” Marsell said. “We’re always in people’s faces all the time.”
Indian River faces a tough road in Class A with powers like New Hartford, Jamesville-DeWitt and Central Square. However, the Warriors think they can be a factor in the postseason.
“If we play (well), we have a very high chance of winning a sectional title,” LaMora said.
GENERAL BROWN 65, IHC 32
Kori Nichols posted 23 points as the top-seeded Lions topped the No. 2 Cavaliers in the “B” Division final.
Lily Dupee and Ainsley Fuller each scored eight points for General Brown (18-2), which looked like the team that made it to the state Class B final four last season.
Samantha Booth netted 13 points and Estella Renzi produced eight for Immaculate Heart Central (13-6), which is being coached this season by former Hall of Fame boys coach Mike Delaney.
Nichols started off hot with 10 points in the opening quarter as General Brown used its length and speed to frustrate IHC. The Cavaliers are led by Abby and Emily Bombard, and the Lions focused its energy on stopping them.
“The Bombards are great kids and great players,” said General Brown coach Janelle Ferris, who coached them during her tenure at IHC. “They’re lights-out shooters when they want to be and they’re going to take that program far.”
The Lions also showed crisp ball movement and got minutes from their reserves. General Brown knows it needs contributions from role players down the line.
“We know we’re going to need our depth if our starting five can’t be out there the whole time,” Dupee said.
General Brown has been scoring at a blistering pace with games of 86, 96 and 98 points since Jan. 23. The Lions’ trademark fast pace seems to be paying off more.
“I think our intensity gets us going,” Nichols said. “We’re able to push the ball and get a lot of fast-break opportunities.”
The Section 3 seeding meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday with the class championship games March 5 at the SRC Arena in Syracuse.
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