POTSDAM — One fourth-quarter rally succeeded while another fell short as the Madrid-Waddington Central and St. Lawrence Central basketball teams split the Section 10 Class C boys and girls championships Friday night at SUNY Potsdam’s Jerry Welsh Gymnasium.
In the boys final, M-W overcame a seven-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to claim a 51-41 decision over SLC for a second straight sectional title.
The girls title game saw the Larries work their way to a 12-point lead in the final frame before holding on for a 53-48 win that kept the Yellowjackets from defending their crown.
Both Class C champions will now get set to host NYSPHSAA tournament openers against their Section 7 counterpart back at SUNY Potsdam on Wednesday, March 11, with the girls game starting at 6 p.m. followed by the boys at 7:45 p.m.
The teams produced seven lead changes through the first three quarters and the second-seeded Larries went ahead 39-32 when Steven Horner converted on their opening possession, but senior center Trent Lashua stepped up to score eight of his team-high 14 points over a four-minute span midway through the fourth to spark a decisive 15-0 run.
It ended with Kyle Stoner burying his second 3-pointer of the night with 58 seconds remaining to boost the Yellowjackets to a 47-39 lead.
Senior Brennan Harmer, who was shadowed defensively from start to finish, sealed the win with four straight free throws in the closing seconds to cap an eight-point night. Sophomore Drew Harmer helped to pick up some of the offensive slack with a key 11-point night, while Stoner finished with 10 points.
“We definitely had to battle back tonight,” coach Aaron Jones said. “Brennan Harmer has been our top scorer all year, and St. Lawrence came up with a defense to take him out of the game. Trent (Lashua) and Drew (Harmer) really stepped up for us and Brennan didn’t get frustrated by what they were doing against him and hit big free throws for us at the end.”
“I saw St. Lawrence play a couple of times this year and I knew this would be a tough game,” he added. “They made us work for this win.”
The Larries (12-10) were led offensively by senior Caeden Taylor with 14 points, including a trio of treys.
Horner and fellow senior Cash Feeley worked the paint for nine points each.
Madrid-Waddington (18-4) ran out to a quick 7-2 lead and survived a number of missed shots by SLC (11-11) to go into the second quarter ahead 10-6.
The Yellowjackets matched their biggest lead of the game when senior Alexis Sullivan scored to open the second but freshman JV call-up Rylee Daoust came off the bench and promptly drained a 3-pointer from the right corner.
Junior Mackenzie Moreau then tied the game at 12-12 with a 3-pointer just over a minute later then converted from short range with 4:45 left in the half to give the Larries a lead that they would not surrender.
A second 3 by Daoust with 3:47 left in the third quarter gave SLC its biggest lead at 37-23, but a late M-W run cut the deficit to 38-28 to start the fourth.
The teams traded baskets to open the final quarter before Marissa McLean put the Larries up 44-32 with 6:28 remaining.
Freshman Grace Plumley helped the Yellowjackets get back on track with two straight field goals that keyed a 10-point run that ended with Sullivan connecting from in close with 2:29 left to make it 44-42.
Sullivan, who scored six straight points in the fourth, tied the game at 46-46 with a pair of free throws with 1:12 remaining. But on the next SLC possession, Moreau was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer and with 56 seconds left, sank all three of her attempts to make it 49-46.
Laney Tiernan cut the deficit back to one with a pair of free throws on the next M-W possession, but Moreau would cap a career night with four more foul shots in the closing seconds to seal the title.
“I just took a deep breath, looked up at the time and said to myself, ‘I need to make these.’ We’ve been working hard for this for a long time,” Moreau said after SLC won the sectional title for the first time since 2015.
McLean, a senior who now stands nine points away from joining classmate Maggi Yandoh in the 1,000-point club at SLC, was the next leading scorer for the Larries with 13 points followed by Daoust with nine.
“We got off to a slow start this season but the girls have really picked things up over the second half,” Yellowjackets coach Chad Gauthier said. “We were ready for this game.”
Junior Emma Plumley emerged as leading scorer for M-W with 19 points followed by Sullivan with 14.