Lady Hilltoppers advance to quarterfinals
FORT PLAIN – The Fort Plain Lady Hilltoppers needed only one quarter to build a commanding lead on the Lake George Warriors in Tuesday’s Section II Class C first-round game.
As usual, Abby Boyer was in the middle of it.
Boyer scored 10 of her game-high 22 points in the second quarter as No. 8 Fort Plain outscored No. 9 Lake George by nine points in the period as Fort Plain held off the Warriors for a 55-38 win at Harry Hoag Elementary School.
“It really helped us energy wise,” Boyer said. “We knew we could do it. We were all really nervous. We didn’t know what to expect because they were a lot bigger than us. But we just played our game and did good.”
It was Boyer’s play inside that turned what was a close game after the first period into a 17-point victory.
The Lady Hilltoppers had a one-point lead, 16-15 early in the quarter after a jump shot by Lake George’s Reba Tracy, who finished with 14 points for the Warriors (13-6 overall). That was when Boyer started her six-point run by hitting a layup, a jumper, and then a steal and layup, giving Fort Plain a 22-15 lead.
“Abby was Abby and she played her game,” Fort Plain coach Phil Karker said. “We worked a lot on posting up this week. We did a lot of those drills for those post players. We practiced defense but we worked on offense on as well. She’s undersized compared to those kids, but she works hard.”
Lake George’s Mackenzie Bennett stopped the run with a basket, but Boyer hit another layup under the basket, starting a 6-0 run that built a 28-17 lead with 1:06 to go in the half.
Tracy hit 1 of 2 foul shots and then Boyer knocked down both, sending the Lady Hilltoppers (16-2 overall) into the locker room with a 30-18 halftime lead.
“We felt pretty good,” Boyer said. “We’ve been practicing every day. We were a little nervous because we didn’t know what to expect.”
They also didn’t expect to go cold in the fourth quarter.
After Boyer scored on a spin move in the paint giving the Lady Hilltoppers a 47-27 lead with 6:21 to go in the game, Fort Plain’s offense went silent for the next four minutes, giving Lake George an opportunity to get back in the game.
Lake George didn’t take it, only scoring eight points before Florian broke the run by hitting a free throw, extending Fort Plain’s lead back to 13 points. Mackenzie Bennett scored the last basket of the run with 3:55 remaining in the game and Lake George didn’t post another score until she hit a hook shot as she ran under the basket with 2:04 to go in the game.
“We got it to 12 and then we wanted to get it down to eight – that was our goal – but we didn’t quite get there,” Lake George coach Rob Tefft said. “We have to execute more on offense. That’s been our trouble all year. We’re just not scoring.”
The Lady Hilltoppers’ win Tuesday night avenges a first-round, 45-29, loss two years ago. Early in the season Fort Plain wanted to play their first sectional game on their home court.
That part of the mission is accomplished.
“It’s great,” said Haley Kilmartin, who scored the first five points of the game for Fort Plain. “We really wanted one because last year we didn’t and the year before we didn’t. We had to go to Lake George two years ago and it just wasn’t good.”
Now the Lady Hilltoppers will face the top team in the bracket, the top-seeded Hoosic Valley (16-3 overall) on the Lady Indians’ home court at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Hoosic Valley routed No. 17 Stillwater, 58-27, on Tuesday. No. 5 Duanesburg and No. 4 Hoosick Falls will play immediately before.
“The goal wasn’t to play Hoosic Valley in the second round, but when you get the eighth or ninth seed, that’s what you run up against,” Karker said. “We’re going to go out and play hard, and compete and see what happens.”
Fort Plain 55, Lake George 38
Lake George 13 5 9 11 – 38
Fort Plain16 14 13 12 – 55
Bennett 4-1-9, Prosser 5-1-11, Tracy 6-2-14, Baertschi 2-0-4. Totals 17-4-38.
Kilmartin 2-2-7, Barhydt 4-2-11, Van Loan 3-0-6, Boyer 9-4-22, Florian 4-1-9. Totals 22-9-55.
3-point goals: Fort Plain 2 (Kilmartin, Barhydt).