Not long ago, it was customary to see the Voorheesville girls basketball team reach the Section II semifinals.
But after several years of early playoff exits, getting to the semifinals is a big deal to the Blackbirds.
One of our goals is we wanted to get back to playing good Sectional basketball, said first-year coach Bob Baron. "The learning curve is steep, but they're handling it very well."
The sixth-seeded Blackbirds (10-12) punched their ticket to the class CC semifinals with Saturday's 51-33 quarterfinal victory over No. 3 Berne-Knox-Westerlo at Watervliet High School. Voorheesville will play No. 2 Watervliet Wednesday at Hudson Falls High School, with the winner advancing to Friday's final at Hudson Valley Community College.
"We both play similar styles," Baron said of Watervliet, which edged Voorheesville by three points in each of their two regular season games. "They play a full-court press like Berne, so playing Berne (in the quarterfinals) helped us. We just have to finish our shots, which we didn't do in our two regular season games."
Saturday's quarterfinal game was littered with turnovers and missed shots, as Voorheesville and BKW (15-8) waged a defensive battle. There were several sequences in the first half where the ball was turned over again and again before either team got a shot off.
"I knew they were a pressing team, and I know we're an up-tempo team that also presses. So, I expected that," said Baron.
The Blackbirds got into an offensive rhythm when it counted the most, though. After three tough quarters, they outscored the Bulldogs 17-7 in the final eight minutes to pull away for the 18-point win.
"We run a lot of kids, which helped us," said Baron. "When we hit the fourth quarter, we still had fresh legs, which helped us a lot."
Brittany Vogel had 12 points, Heather Bates contributed nine points and Sarah Goss and Kate Pendergast each added eight points for Voorheesville. Amber Pitcher, Anna Kulser and Katrina Yakel all scored eight points for BKW.
The Blackbirds opened the playoffs with a 58-21 victory over Galway last Wednesday. Voorheesville jumped out to a 30-12 halftime lead and never looked back in earning its first-round win.
Casey Beccera netted 14 points, while Bates and Elizabeth Madden each added nine points for the Blackbirds. Kaley Schelling had eight of Galway's 21 points.""