Nicole Adach and Michelle Aviza had been part of Mohonasen girls basketball teams that lost more games than they won.
So, for the two seniors to end their varsity careers with a Section II, Class A title was a just reward for having endured some tough times.
I feel so good, it's unbeliev-able, said Adach following last Saturday's 44-39 victory over Averill Park in the Sectional final at Hudson Valley Community College. "I'm almost at a loss for words."
"It's special for all the kids, but for them " they were the ones who were beat so bad in previous years," said Mohonasen coach Paul Brosious.
Adach and Aviza each played prominent roles in Mohonasen's first Sectional title since 2002. Adach scored 17 points and pulled down 11 rebounds against Averill Park to earn the tournament's most valuable player award, while Aviza added five points, two steals and two assists.
However, it was sophomore point guard Lea McLain that turned out to be the heroine for the top-seeded Mighty Warriors (21-2). McLain forced several Averill Park turnovers, pulled down nine rebounds and made all four of her foul shots in the final minute to seal Mohonasen's victory.
"That's not the first time she's done that," Brosious said of McLain. "She hit a monster free throw the first time we played Averill Park (a 49-48 victory Jan. 9) with less than one second left."
"She's just such a big part of this team. Without her, we wouldn't be here," said Adach.
Mohonasen built a 10-3 lead in the first quarter, but second-seeded Averill Park (15-8) wasn't about to be blown out of the building. Instead, the Warriors went on a 20-5 run " capped by a 12-0 spurt in the second quarter " to grab a 23-15 lead. Only an Adach three-pointer in the closing seconds stopped the bleeding for Mohonasen.