POTSDAM — Junior Landree Kenyon said that her Hammond Girls Basketball team was “very hungry” entering Friday’s New York State Class D Regional Championship game against Poland at SUNY Potsdam.
And the Red Devils (20-1) played that way recording a 63-32 win over the Section 3 Champions to move to the New York State Final Four at Hudson Valley Community College next Saturday at 9 a.m. The Devils will play the winner of a game between Kenesha of Section 5 and Panama of Section 6.
In 2020 Kenyon was a member of a Hammond team which was preparing for a regional final game when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down sports and daily life across the country. In 2021 COVID cancelled all postseason play in the state and last year as the number one seed the Red Devils were upended by Heuvelton in the sectional finals.
“It has been a long time and it feels amazing to win this game and go to the Final Four. I really wanted to win tonight for my sister Avery who didn’t get a chance to play in a Final Four and I wanted to win for my team,” said Kenyon who was a major performer in the win scoring 28 points with 15 rebounds and 3 steals.
“Our team played great today. We hit the boards, played defense and got out and ran. We played hard.” Except for a 4-4 tie on an inside score by Maddison Haver the number one state ranked Red Devils held the lead throughout the game where the Tornadoes struggled against the Red Devils’ press and ability to fastbreak off missed and made baskets.
Zoe Cunningham banked home a 3-pointer to give the Devils an 11-4 lead with 1:24 left in the first quarter and started an 11-0 run to a 19-5 lead early in the second quarter.
“Zoey hit a big shot it got us going,” said Kenyon.
Poland’s multi-purpose standout Logan Cookingham scored six quick points taking rebounds the length of the floor as the Tornadoes cut the difference to 36-24 but suffered a knee injury which ended her evening. She finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Red Devils players and coaches all offered their support to her after the game.
Landree Kenyon tallied six straight points and scored 14 points in the third quarter as the Red Devils rode a flurry of fastbreak points to take a 46-25 lead.
“She (Cookingham) is an outstanding player. We watched a lot of film on her and we focused on our defense on stopping her. It was terrible that she got hurt,” said Hammond Coach Alyssa Crosby.
“Our defense was very good; we hadn’t pressed the whole game all season and it really worked well”
Ava Howie emerged as the Devils primary fastbreak finisher and scored 11 of her 22 points in the fourth quarter. Cunningham finished with seven points and six assists and Sadey Sprabary delivered six points, 10 rebounds and four steals.
Emma Tabor scored six points for Poland (20-2) with five steals and Madison Haver snatched four steals.
“We everything that we had to tonight,” said Coach Crosby.
“We wanted the get the ball and go. And we did.”
All the way to the Final Four.
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