Lady Hilltoppers to face Maple Hill in quarterfinals

FORT PLAIN – Having faced each other twice in the regular season in Western Athletic Conference North Division play, the Fort Plain and Galway girls basketball teams met for a third time Tuesday in the first round of the Section II Class C tournament.

As they did in the previous two meetings, the seventh-seeded Lady Hilltoppers emerged victorious, posting a 45-36 win over the 10th-seeded Golden Eagles at Harry Hoag Elementary School.

“Whenever you play a team three times, it’s very difficult,” Fort Plain coach Phil Karker said.

That was a sentiment shared by Galway coach Deb Wilday.

“I would have really liked to have seen someone else,” she said. “This didn’t feel like a sectional game because we know each other so well.”

During the regular season, Fort Plain posted a 49-44 win over Galway at home Dec. 13, and a 68-34 win at Galway on Jan. 22.

Tuesday’s contest saw the Lady Hilltoppers jump out to an 8-0 lead in the early going, as Bri Florian scored four points in the opening quarter for Fort Plain.

Erica Chase put Galway on the board for the first time with 2:15 left in the first quarter with a pair of free throw. Chase added two more free throws just over a minute last to make it 8-4 after one quarter of play.

Chase nearly matched her team’s first-quarter output with her first shot of the second quarter, connecting on a 3-pointer 26 seconds in to make it 8-7.

It was the first field goal of the game for the Golden Eagles, who took the lead for the first time on their next possession on a basket by Felicia Snyder.

There were nine lead changes or ties in the second quarter, as Abby Boyer scored six points in the frame to give Fort Plain an 18-16 lead at the half. Chase scored six points for Galway in the second quarter to finish the first half with 10 points.

“Deb [Wilday] did a great job getting her kids motivated to play, and playing hard,” Karker said.

In the third quarter, the game remained close with neither team leading by more than four points in the quarter.

Chase scored nine points in the quarter, but picked up her fourth foul for Galway.

Boyer scored all 10 of Fort Plain’s points in the frame.

“I realized that this could be my last game, so I told myself to pick it up because I didn’t want the season to end,” Boyer said.

Galway took a 29-28 lead into the final quarter, but the Golden Eagles’ hopes of a win took a hit just 53 seconds into the fourth when Chase picked up he fifth and final foul.

“When you lose a player like Erica [Chase], you lose a lot,” Karker said. “We benefitted, but it was kind of bittersweet because she’s a great player.”

Fort Plain capitalized, outscoring Galway 17-7 in the final quarter to earn the victory.

“It helped us that she [Chase] fouled out so early,” Kilmartin said.

Kilmartin played a key role in the fourth-quarter surge for the Lady Hilltoppers, scoring 11 points in the quarter, including a 8-for-10 effort from the free throw line.

Kilmartin and Boyer each finished with 19 points for Fort Plain, while Bri Florian added seven points.

“It’s definitely bittersweet,” Boyer said of playing her final game in Fort Plain. “It won’t be my last game though.”

Chase finished with 19 points to lead Galway, while Snyder added seven points.

Fort Plain (14-5) will travel to Maple Hill on Friday to face the second-seeded Wildcats in the quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. Maple Hill topped 15th-seeded Duanesburg, 61-28, in the first round Tuesday.

“Maple Hill is a great team,” Karker said. “We have to execute well and shoot well. We’re going to have to be at our best to compete with them.”

Galway finished its season with an 11-8 overall record.

“I thought both teams executed well,” Wilday said. “We left it all on the court. I’m proud of how we played.”

Fort Plain 45, Galway 36

Galway4 12 13 7 – 36

Fort Plain8 10 10 17 – 45

Galway

Snyder 2-2-7, Ritter 1-0-2, Chase 4-9-19, Pink 1-0-2, Naughton 1-2-4, Kenyon 1-0-2. Totals 10-13-16.

Fort Plain

Shirley 1-0-2, Florian 3-1-7, Kilmartin 4-10-19, Boyer 7-2-19. Totals 15-13-45.

3-point goals: Galway 3 (Chase 2, Snyder); Fort Plain 2 (Kilmartin, Boyer).