COPENHAGEN — After the No. 3-seeded Copenhagen girls basketball team cruised past sixth-seeded Madison, 66-24, in a Section 3 Class D quarterfinal, the No. 5-seeded Copenhagen boys team was upset by No. 13-seeded Brookfield 54-52, in the same round Wednesday night.
The girls will continue their bid for a second consecutive Section 3 title this weekend at Onondaga Community College.
BALANCED GIRLS TEAM ADVANCES
The Copenhagen girls basketball team had a week and a half to iron out any wrinkles in their game that could negatively impact them in the Section 3 Class D tournament. Judging by their quarterfinal win over Madison (14-6), it appears they got most of them.
The Golden Knights played the game their used to playing, disrupt Madison’s ability to pass, get the steal, score in transition.
Copenhagen (18-2) will advance to play No. 2 seed Hamilton in a semifinal at 1:15 p.m. on Sunday at Onondaga Community College.
The Golden Knights gathered 25 steals in the game Wednesday with Brooke Smykla finishing with six and Raegan Dalrymple collecting five. They were able to read the offense which allowed them to poke away a few of Madison’s passes. The defensive approach began with their foot work.
“We’re trying to get ahead of the ball a little bit more, you saw that in our press,” Copenhagen coach Natalie Scott said. “I had went and watched Madison and LaFargeville and noticed that they didn’t move real well with the ball and under pressure, things like that. So, we wanted to make sure that our footwork was there first, before the hands came in. Honestly, just stopping them on the press caused a lot of problems for them.”
Creating the turnovers led to some easy baskets and sound scoring. Part of what Scott wanted to emphasize over this past week and a half was her team’s ability to score in the paint.
“Driving it in, going to the hoop, driving it in stop-and-pop, drive it in and kick it out,” Scott said. “We had a tendency to sit back and just shoot, we needed to do more than that. After that Lyme game you saw we needed to do that because we didn’t have the shots and our offense went stagnant.”
The scoring was balanced, Meaghen Fitzpatrick led with 13 points and Brooke Smykla contributed 11. The Golden Knights finished with five 3-pointers, but still found a way to be aggressive like Scott had hoped they would.
During the time between the Frontier League finals and Wednesday’s sectional game, Copenhagen scrimmage Indian River, a Class A team with talent and size.
Morgan Smith, who finished with six points Wednesday, found the game helpful in getting ready for the playoffs.
“It was definitely harder competition because recently we didn’t really have anything other than Lyme,” Smith said. “It just gives us a different players to face too because we face the same players all the time.”
COPENHAGEN BOYS OUSTED
Keegan Morrow had one shot at a three-pointer to tie the game, and had it gone an inch or two further he would have left Copenhagen’s gym with a much different feeling. Ultimately, though, the shot clanked off the front of the rim, sending No. 13 seed Brookfield into a frenzy after having just knocked off fifth-seeded Copenhagen.
For Brookfield (12-10), it’s the second top five seed they’ve eliminated in the tournament, as to get to the quarterfinal game they had to defeat No. 4 Hamilton.
Brookfield took its final lead over Copenhagen (16-6) in the final 30 seconds. Kodie Abrams, dribbling the ball at the top of the key, commanded Caleb Worden to vacate the paint so he could drive down the lane and finish the layup over Tucker Carroll.
“We had (Carroll) hopping all night and we had the pump fake and it was there,” Abrams, who finished with a team-high 12 points, said.
The Beavers never held a commanding lead but they often kept Copenhagen a few points away from tying the game. Part of limiting the Golden Knights’ offense was stopping the perimeter shots.
Copenhagen made three 3-pointers in the first half and none in the second. They still managed to drift no further than five points off the lead, but not being able to hit a three in the final two quarters kept them from seizing control.
“We wanted to shut down their 3-pointers, from everything we heard and have seen, their 3-pointers are dangerous,” Brookfield coach Kevin Feuss said. “We just made our guys made their cuts where they were supposed to. I didn’t change a thing (at halftime) other than make sure that they got to where they were supposed to be. Same defense, just properly ran.”
Brookfield kept constant pressure on Copenhagen, limiting their open looks. “Every defensive rebound we got they were already in our face trying to swat the ball out,” Copenhagen coach Logan Spaulding said. “I’m not taking anything away from them, I give them all the credit in the world to drive up here and do what they did against us and yea we didn’t shoot well, but it’s basketball and they made one more shot than us.”
Lucas Graves and Cody Powis each finished with 15 points to lead the Golden Knights while Carroll scored 10. Copenhagen needed to work more inside in the second half, which is when Carroll scored all of his points.
“They just had the intensity rolling the whole game, they knew what they wanted and they took it,” Graves said. “We just didn’t play like we wanted to and that hurts at the end.”
Brookfield will advance to play top-seeded DeRuyter on Saturday in a semifinal at OCC.